The Queensland Government has passed amendments to the Body Corporate and Community Management Regulation Modules with the aim to modernise body corporate regulations and improve protection for owners.
The new amendments come into effect on 1 March 2021 and are intended to reduce costs and formally accommodate common modern practices like online voting and electronic attendances at meetings.
In a nutshell, the new regulations will:
- Permit electronic voting and attendance at meetings, including the use of ‘live’ electronic voting and remote personal attendance by teleconference or videoconference;
- permit use of email and other forms of electronic communication for the exchange of information and documents within body corporates;
- clarify and improve the list of documents that original owners (developers) must provide to body corporates to facilitate effective governance of the scheme and;
- encourage early identification and remedy of building defects by requiring body corporates consider motions to prepare a defect assessment report at its second annual general meeting.
Electronic voting and attendance
Sped up by the realities of COVID-19, the new laws will permit electronic voting and attendance at meetings, including the use of “live” electronic voting and remote personal attendance by teleconference or videoconference.
To prevent “proxy farming,” a person will only be able to vote on motions at a general meeting, under the authority of a power of attorney for one lot owner. New “group of same-issue motions” procedures will also apply. More flexible quorum requirements for general meetings will also apply.
The use of email and other forms of electronic communication for the exchange of information and documents within body corporates will also be permitted.
If an owner must give a document or information to the secretary, they will be able to give it to a body corporate manager instead if the manager is authorised by the body corporate to exercise some or all of the powers of the secretary.
The new regulations will clarify and expand the list of documents that original owners (developers) must provide to body corporates to facilitate effective governance of the scheme.
There are several other changes for body corporate committees to be aware of, including:
- Eligibility of any two committee members cannot derive from ownership of the same lot (except in certain circumstances).
- Motions under consideration will have a set time frame of six weeks (which may be extended to 12 weeks if required).
- Committees members will have up to 21 days to respond to votes outside a committee meeting.
- The ability to approve insurance policies for schemes to avoid unnecessary delays and risks.
- Any committee member who owes a body corporate debt, will be ineligible to vote at a committee meeting or by a vote outside a committee meeting.
The new body corporate laws will also encourage early identification and remedy of building defects by requiring body corporates to consider motions to prepare defect assessment reports at second annual general meetings.
To further improve protections for owners, body corporate managers and caretakers will also be required to disclose the amount of monetary benefit they are entitled to receive if a body corporate enters into an insurance policy or other contract, with new schemes to be subject to defect assessment requirements.
Another measure included in the new laws will also aim to prevent inducements or rewards being given to committee members for preferential consideration of contractors.
Additional items have been added to the list of documents developers must hand over to the body corporate at the first annual general meeting, including a copy of the development approval if one was required and the schemes community management statement.
The committee will need to supply 2 insurance quotes if the cost of the insurance policy is above the major spending limit for the scheme.
Information about the body corporate insurance policy provided at the annual general meeting will have to include details of any insurance broker or intermediary involved with the policy.
Body Corporate Roll- Owner responsibility
You will be required to update your details with the body corporate for the body corporate roll within 1 month (previously 2 months) after:
- you become the owner of a lot
- a lease or sublease is entered into for 6 months or more
- you engage a person to rent out your lot
- the engagement of a person renting your lot is terminated
- as a mortgagee, you enter into possession of a lot (i.e. when it is repossessed)
Body corporate responsibility
The body corporate will have to record the information required for the roll within 14 days of receiving the information.
These new regulations are welcome amendments for strata owners who have been seeking more flexible and modern body corporate procedures.
The convenience of electronic body corporate processes is expected to assist in encouraging greater participation in body corporate decision-making.
Above all, the new limitations on committee memberships, voting and use of powers of attorney are designed to ensure fair representation in these decision-making processes, and the new disclosure requirements to assist in ensuring owners have the information they need to make informed decisions.
Read more about the changes to:
- Committee membership —including voting, nominations, and engaging a body corporate manager in place of a committee
- Committee meetings —including motions, committee decisions, voting and attendance (electronic or by an owner or representative)
- General meetings —including quorums, power of attorney, grouping same-issue motions, voting electronically, changes to early annual meetings, and proxies for layered schemes