BCCM act review and the change of government – what now?

As part of its review and overhaul of the state’s property legislation the previous LNP government had appointed a panel of property law experts to conduct a review of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act.

That panel released a discussion paper some weeks ago on a number of issues it considered to be the most important ones to address initially.

Despite protestations from the vocal minority opponents of the management rights industry, the issues paper did not include the management rights provisions of the legislation. So it was safe to assume that there would not be any changes to management rights on the horizon.

That is likely to change with the ALP government although it is difficult to see that body corporate reform or changes to management rights will be high on the agenda of the new government. Despite the intense lobbying that our industry opponents are likely to undertake I expect it will be well into the three-year term of the new government before any new legislative review into management rights might commence.

But what about the issues that were raised in the recent discussion paper? Given the amount of work that has already gone into the paper and the consideration of the issues, I do not think that the review will be abandoned. The paper has raised a number of issues that really do need to be addressed and resolved and it would seem foolish to slow the momentum too much.

Some of the issues and questions that have been raised include:
• Restriction on use. Should a developer (or subsequently a body corporate) be able to limit the type of residential use to which units can be put? The current act precludes by-laws restricting units from being used for long term or short term use but is that appropriate? Are we not better off to allow some buildings to limit use to one or the other?
• Towing of vehicles parked illegally. Bodies corporate find themselves in a rather absurd provision where they can relatively easily tow vehicles of non-occupants parked contrary to the scheme’s by-laws but are virtually powerless to do anything about an owner or tenant who repeatedly and flagrantly parks his or her car in carspaces belonging to other owners or reserved for visitors. Should a committee be able to have the vehicles of offending owners and occupants towed? Should the committee be able to delegate that role to the resident manager?
• Pets. It is amazing how much angst and disputation pets cause in complexes. There have been a multitude of cases before the commissioner’s office regarding pets, the outcome of which is that a complex can simply not ban pets. But what if the overwhelming majority of owners want a pet free building? Shouldn’t they be allowed to preclude pets? But what sort of majority should be required to ban pets? And if they do, what about those owners who already have pets?
• Extinguishing a scheme. Surely sound development policy dictates that one or two owners should not be able to prevent the redevelopment of a dilapidated unit block which is economically unviable to be maintained? At the moment all owners have to sell or agree to some redevelopment proposal – so is some form of compulsory acquisition a solution? But why should a unit owner is such case be forced to sell? And what about the owner of the management rights – what happens to his/her asset if a developer can compulsorily acquire the units?
• Smoking. To what extent should a body corporate be able to prohibit smoking in a complex? Should that just be limited to common property or perhaps just to balconies?
• Should there be some other form of resolution with a higher threshold than a special resolution that could be introduced to cover these types of decisions?

These are just some of the issues that the discussion paper raises. Most of the others also concern practical, day to day governance matters. ARAMA and other industry groups have lodged submissions in response to the discussion paper but I expect that with everything else the new government will have on its plate it will be many months before we see outcomes.

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x