New Regulations – Advice for Owners
March 3, 2021
The new regulation modules updates commenced 1 March 2021, the key changes to these can be broken down into three categories:
- Committee Matters
- General Meeting Matters, and
- Administrative Matters
This article will provide advice to owners on all three matters.
1. Co-owners of lots can now both be voting committee members for each lot they own, providing flexibility when there is co-ownership of multiple lots.
2. Where there are three lots or more with up to three owners, a minor committee can be formed outside of a general meeting.
3. The maximum number of members to a principal body corporate in a layered scheme can be increased to twelve if the subsidiaries exceed seven.
4. Owners can submit motions at any time for the committee to consider. The committee must consider the motion within 6 weeks, or 12 weeks pending an agreed extension. Where the committee does not consider within this timeframe, it is taken that the motions are not agreed, at which time the owner may apply to the Commissioner. Owners have a limit on the number of motions they can submit within a 12-month rolling period, being 6 different motions.
5. Owners can now appoint a representative to attend a committee meeting on their behalf, being a family member, a power of attorney, or where the owner is a company, a nominee.
6. Committee members (or the lot who represents them) must be financial to vote at a committee meeting. Where the member is not financial, they are referred to as a debtor member. They can still attend the meeting and count towards quorum, however, the vote will not count towards motions submitted.
7. A vote outside a committee meeting [VOC] or flying minute must now be decided within 21 days or the motions will expire. When the vote is cast (within the 21-day period), the member must be financial for the vote to be counted.
8. A committee member must not receive a benefit from a service contractor without general meeting approval.
9. Insurance renewal is no longer restricted to the committee spending limit and can be approved at the committee level, subject to obtaining two quotes.
10. Where a scheme is unable to form a committee, a body corporate manager can be engaged to perform the committee’s duties. Previously, this was determined by a secret ballot which attracted additional cost and complication to this process. Now the body corporate can decide by ordinary resolution (special resolution for small scheme’s regulation module) using an open ballot.
General meeting matters
1. Meetings and ballots (both open and secret) can now be held electronically or in a way the body corporate decides. StrataVote is used for all Archers clients and is a compliant online voting platform, allowing owners to vote electronically and instantaneously.
2. An owner can submit motions at the first annual general meeting for a new development.
3. Motions with alternatives have been replaced by grouped motions of the same issue. Votes are casts on all motions together and the one that receives the most votes in favour becomes the decision of the body corporate. In the event of a tie, the decision is made by chance.
4. A body corporate can now pass a motion to change the quorum for a general meeting from the minimum of 25% of voters to down as low as 10% of minimum voters.
5. An owner can only use one power of attorney [POA] in addition to their own vote. The exception to holding more than one POA is where they own additional lots or other lots are owned by family members.
6. Documents can now be handed to the body corporate manager [BCM] rather than the secretary if the BCM has been appointed to perform secretarial duties.
7. The new legislation is more specific surrounding what documents developers are required to hand over at the first annual general meeting
8. A motion for a defect assessment report will be submitted at the second annual general meeting for new developments to identify any defective building work, identifying any defects, and the work required to remedy these.
9. Lot owners for PBC, for layered schemes, are now able to submit a proxy.
1. Prior to the body corporate entering into a contract (including insurance), the body corporate manager and caretaker contractor for the scheme are required to disclose any associated commission, payment or other benefits, including the amount of the benefit if it is monetary.
2. An owner must update their details for the body corporate roll within one month. The updates that are required to be provided to the body corporate (or body corporate manager where appointed) are changes in ownership, when a lease or sublease is entered into for more than six months, when the lot is rented and if the mortgagee enters into possession of the lot. Once received, the body corporate (or body corporate manager where appointed) has fourteen days to update the roll.
For further details, please visit our website at www.abcm.com.au or the Commissioner’s website, located at: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/body-corporate/legislation-and-bccm/regulation-changes
This article was contributed by Nicky Lonergan, CEO – Archers the Strata Professionals