Property laws in Queensland are constantly evolving. And the recent amendments to the Body Corporate and Community Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 (the BCCM Bill) are creating waves that could potentially impact homeowners, developers and property investors.
Here’s what you need to know about the BCCM Act reforms. And how a property lawyer can help with expert guidance and assistance
Table of Contents
- Understanding the BCCM Bill reform
a. Termination of uneconomic community title schemes
b. Protection against sunset clauses
c. New by-laws on communal living
d. Towing rules
e. Changes to insurance requirements
f. Enhancements in governance
- How a property lawyer can help
Understanding the BCCM Bill reforms
On 24 August 2023 the BCCM Bill was introduced to Queensland Parliament. The BCCM Bill proposes amendments to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act). The new bill sets out amendments that originated from the independent review of Queensland’s property laws by the Queensland University of Technology, and the recommendations and insights that came from that review.
So what are these proposed reforms?
Termination of uneconomic community title schemes
The new proposed reforms allow for the termination of community title schemes as long as 75% of lot owners agree and economic unviability is established. The reasoning behind the termination is that the scheme is no longer economically viable, or won’t be economically viable within 5 years, or because repairs or maintenance is needed.
The benefit of this reform is that these properties are ready for renewal or redevelopment.
Protection against sunset clauses
The new amendments also strengthen protections against developers who invoke sunset clauses to cancel land sale contracts before its appropriate.
New by-laws on communal living
The proposed reform changes some of the ability of bodies corporate to make new by-laws. They are permitted to prohibit smoking in common outdoor areas. However, they are not permitted to create an outright ban on pets, though exceptions are allowed.
The new reforms clarify when corporate bodies are permitted to tow vehicles from common property.
Changes to insurance requirements
A body corporate will have the option to seek alternative insurance when it’s not able to comply with the requirement to insure a scheme to the full replacement value. The organisation will have to make an application to the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management if they’d like to try to take advantage of this option.
Enhancements in governance
The BCCM bill modernises the BCCM Act’s operations around by-laws, governance, administrative processes and other related areas.
The bill also clarifies the rules around deposits, including that deposits for off-the-plan sales must be retained in a trust account until settlement or termination.
How a property lawyer can help navigate the BCCM Act reforms
The new reforms might be a big challenge to navigate as they can impact homeowners, developers and property investors. But an experienced property lawyer can help you:
- Interpret the new reforms: A seasoned property lawyer can help you break down the nuances and subtleties of the BCCM Bill reforms and help you to understand how each change might directly – or even indirectly – impact you.
- Assist your decision making: Whether you’re looking to purchase a property, understand your rights in a communal living environment or you’re a body corporate wanting to understand your new by-law requirements, a property lawyer can help with sound legal advice. Better yet, they can help you to make decisions that will see you achieving the best outcomes possible.
- Protect your interests: As a property owner or investor, safeguarding your rights and financial interests is crucial. An expert property lawyer can help you both understand and protect your rights.
- Guidance on scheme termination: The changes around scheme termination are broad. Legal guidance can help you understand those broader implications and how to best handle these situations going forward.
- Up-to-date knowledge: An expert lawyer can help you stay on top of ongoing legal changes and can offer the most up-to-date advice on all your property decisions.
At Victor Legal we can work with you to first understand how these amendments might impact you and your property making decisions, and second, how you can make the best decisions for the best outcomes. Contact us today!