Upcoming changes to the body corporate and community management act: What you need to know

Changes to the BCCMA

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The landscape of body corporate regulation in Queensland is on the brink of significant transformation as the commencement date for the Body Corporate and Community Management Act (BCCM Act) amendments draws near. With reforms set to take effect from May 1, 2024, residents and stakeholders are advised to prepare for legislation that will reshape the operations of bodies corporate across the region.

This article looks at the noteworthy changes of the Act and how will they impact community living in Queensland.

Termination of uneconomic community titles schemes

One of the most significant reforms is the provision for the termination, under specific circumstances, of uneconomic community titles schemes.

This refers to the process by which a community titles scheme, such as a residential apartment complex or a townhouse development, can be dissolved or ended due to financial difficulties or other specific circumstances.

Traditionally, termination of this nature required a consensus of 100% of owners. However, the upcoming reforms will see that reduced to an agreement of 75% of owners to pursue termination, offering a pathway for communities facing economic challenges to make the necessary decisions more efficiently.

Alternative insurance arrangements

Another crucial change is the empowerment of adjudicators to approve alternative insurance arrangements when compliance with required insurance levels for particular buildings is unattainable.

In traditional scenarios, bodies corporate are required to maintain insurance coverage that complies with specified levels to ensure adequate protection for the property and its residents. However, there may be instances where meeting these required insurance levels becomes unattainable due to various reasons, such as financial constraints, building specifications, or insurance market conditions.

In the upcoming reforms, adjudicators will be empowered to approve alternative insurance arrangements in such cases. This means that if a body corporate cannot comply with the required insurance levels for particular buildings, an adjudicator—a neutral party appointed to resolve disputes or make decisions—can approve alternative insurance solutions that provide adequate protection.

Protection against second-hand smoke

The enhanced protection against second-hand smoke represents a significant advancement in promoting the health and well-being of residents within community living spaces. Under the May 1 reforms, bodies corporate will be delegated the authority to enact by-laws that explicitly prohibit or restrict smoking on common property or outdoor areas.

This recognises the growing awareness of the adverse health effects associated with exposure to second-hand smoke and aims to address the concerns of residents who may be impacted by smoking-related nuisances within communal areas.

Animal keeping regulations

The changes in guidelines regarding pets emphasises that body corporate by-laws cannot restrict the keeping of animals on a lot or common property, including the number, type, or size of animal.

This change recognises the increased quality-of-life pets can bring and acknowledges the right of residents to enjoy the companionship of animals within their homes.

For more information, refer to our reference hub on pets in a body corporate

Enhanced enforcement and governance

The other significant change to the act was the concerted effort to bolster enforcement mechanisms and governance practices.

By-laws serve as the regulatory framework governing various aspects of community living, including property maintenance, noise levels, and behavioural conduct. However, enforcing these by-laws effectively has often been a challenge for body corporates.

The reforms aim to address this issue by introducing measures to strengthen enforcement mechanisms, such as clarifying existing powers to tow vehicles, facilitating quicker resolution of disputes, and imposing stricter penalties for non-compliance.

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