Following the 2022 Queensland Housing Summit addressing the state’s housing needs, the Queensland Government has released proposed changes to body corporate legislation that will make it easier to redevelop ageing and rundown schemes. With over half a million strata lots in Queensland, the impacts of these changes are widespread.
In short, the proposed changes will:
- Make it easier for units to be redeveloped;
- Allow for the termination of a community titles scheme with the support of 75% of lot owners (reduced from the current positions which requires 100% of Lot owners);
- Enable bodies corporate to prohibit smoking in outdoor and communal areas, to better protect residents from second-hand smoke; and
- Prevent bodies corporate from banning pets, except in specific circumstances.
This is the first of two batches of changes proposed, with another set of changes intended to be announced later this year. It may be some time before the proposed changes are enacted as draft laws are yet to be released.
These reforms have been announced following the October 2022 Housing Summit, which was called to respond to Queensland’s housing crisis. About 200 stakeholders gave input throughout the Summit, which resulted in the Government pledging $56 million towards new housing and initiatives.
Changes relating to the cancellation of a community title scheme were among key outcomes from the meeting.
Currently, a community titles scheme may only be terminated if no owner opposes the termination of the scheme, regardless of the age or dilapidation of the scheme, or if the District Court is satisfied it is just and equitable to terminate it.
The proposed new laws lower the threshold for sale to 75% of owners approving it, bringing the threshold in line with NSW which changed its regulations in 2015. This is relevant in situations where the body corporate has agreed it is more financially viable for lot owners to end the title than maintain or renovate the property.
The new process will include safeguards to protect owners in the minority who do not support termination. If the body corporate approves a termination plan, a dissenting owner will be able to make an application to the District Court, which would consider a set of just and equitable factors in deciding whether the termination should proceed.
In all other situations, every owner in the scheme would need to agree to end the community title.
The Government expects that the changes would make it easier to sell and redevelop ageing or rundown properties across the state. At a time of tremendous need for new housing supply and particularly infill density, it is hoped that the changes will allow housing to be delivered in key urban areas with existing infrastructure and access to transport and lifestyle amenities.
The Government has said that consultation on the draft laws would take place throughout 2023. Another package of changes is also due to be announced later in the year and we will release a further alert at that time.
If you would like to discuss how these legislative changes may affect you, phone us on 07 3223 6100.