At the SSKB Living in Strata Trade Show last year, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced an impending shake up of property law in Queensland.
The news was received with a great sense of positive anticipation with SSKB acknowledging that what was needed in the market was certainty and simplicity.
With a view to eliminating unnecessary regulation and red tape, Mr Bleijie and the Newman Government partnered with QUT to undertake a broad ranging review of the current law. The review process has so far involved consultation with industry professionals and stakeholders, as well as the broader community.
Queenslanders in the strata industry should be advised to have some patience as it now seems the results of the review are unlikely to materialise until 2015.
What is in review?
The review, conducted through the Commercial and Property Law Research Centre at QUT, has identified a number of complex and contentious topics to address.
Two issues papers released in February of 2014 invited submissions on (a) the seller disclosure regime in Queensland, and (b) the settling and adjustment of contribution schedule lot entitlements under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
Two further issue papers are meant to be released later this year and they will focus on:
What’s the hold up?
As community managers, we are well aware of the lack of consensus in the strata community around lot entitlements. Previous amendments made to the BCCM Act have failed to provide outcomes satisfactory to both sides of the debate. The 2011 and 2013 amendments have been particularly criticised for putting too much power into the hands of a single lot owner.
It doesn’t take much imagination to picture feedback forms, each offering a different solution, piled mountain high in the QUT offices. The consultancy team will need to take great care in navigating the many vested interests, and this is something that is better done without rush.
Is a review urgent?
The current BCCM has been in place since 1997, with some amendments introduced through the years. Although it is world class legislation, there is room for further improvement in order to maintain Queensland’s pre-eminence in the area of community living.
Having guided clients through the criticised and confusing changes to the lot entitlement contribution schedule, we encourage the Queensland government and QUT to take the time required to get it right this time.
Queensland needs to settle on a system that works and stick with it. People do not enjoy having the rules changed on them. Certainty and simplicity are important to the many Queenslanders in strata communities. We appreciate that the government is taking it’s time to make an informed decision.
We will continue to monitor the progress closely.