COVID-19 Emergency Arrangements for Bodies Corporate Extended
The Government has announced the COVID-19 emergency arrangements for bodies corporate will be extended to 30 April 2021, or an earlier date as decided by the Government. This is in recognition of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on community titles schemes in Queensland.
This means that the following arrangements will remain and continue until 30 April 2021, or an earlier date:
- a body corporate will be unable to charge penalty interest on overdue levies over this period
- a body corporate may extend due dates for payment of levies
- a body corporate may adjust its sinking fund budget for its current financial year subject to certain conditions
- if all owners provide consent in writing, committees may approve expenditure above the spending limit
- increased borrowing limits apply
- committees may modify the way committee and general meetings are held if they believe a public health directive would be breached,
- committees may decide to allow voters to attend a committee meeting or general meeting remotely,
- committees may arrange for voters to vote electronically for motions and committee elections,
- a body corporate may satisfy its obligation to allow an interested person to inspect body corporate records by providing a copy or electronic access, provided relevant fees are paid
- committees may make decisions about restricting access to common property if reasonably necessary to comply with health directives
The usual obligation of a body corporate to commence debt recovery proceedings against owners who owe a body corporate debt is also suspended until 2 months after 30 April 2021, or an earlier date as decided by the Government. A body corporate may still choose to commence debt recovery proceeding prior to this, should it be considered reasonable.
You can read more about the COVID-19 amendments on the BCCM webpage: COVID-19 in bodies corporate.
COVID-19 Communication for Bodies Corporate – Update 3
Late last week the Government introduced new temporary measures to assist the community titles sector to navigate the complexities of holding meetings, and of managing access to common property and body corporate records in compliance with public health directives. Last week’s changes to body corporate regulations mean that:
From 19 March to 31 December 2020, amendments to meeting procedures are permitted to restrict physical attendance, and to allow for remote attendance and electronic voting, to the extent reasonably necessary to comply with public health directives – while the temporary measures are technically only coming into effect now, the changes to the regulations retrospectively validate and authorise adjustments to meeting procedures which may have been adopted by a body corporate from 19 March 2020 to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.
From 2 October 2020 to 31 December 2020:
- body corporate committees may restrict access to common property in response to public health directives.
- a body corporate may comply with a request from an interested person to inspect body corporate records by providing electronic access to, or copies of, documents if relevant fees are paid.
- the Commissioner may also provide copies of dispute resolution applications and submissions to interested persons instead of allowing inspection, provided usual copy fees are paid.
- the Commissioner may waive payment of fees for inspection or copies of documents if satisfied payment would cause financial hardship.
The new legislation can be found here: Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Community Titles Schemes and Other Matters) Regulation 2020
These changes supplement earlier reforms that were commenced on 25 May 2020 to help community titles schemes deal with financial issues arising from COVID-19. Further information about the May reforms to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 , is also available on our COVID-19 in bodies corporate webpage or our May edition of Common Ground.
Bodies corporate and their committees will maintain their ongoing obligations to act “reasonably”, including when making decisions under these new measures. Open, timely and constructive communication around these issues will continue to be an important ingredient for harmonious community living in the COVID-19 environment and into the future. For further information contact my Information and Community Education Unit on (freecall) 1800 060 119.
This article has been republished with permission from the author and first appeared in the BCCM Common Ground newsletter.
Author: Michelle Scott
Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management
Information Service Freecall 1800 060 119