Strata Legislation Reform - 2018 !

The Option Paper currently in front of the Department of Fair Trading focuses on the important issue of by-law enforcement and the ability for a scheme to prohibit certain conduct. There are currently more than 450,000 lot owners in Queensland that the Strata Community Association Queensland ("SCA") is representing to the Department of Justice pushing for changes in by-laws, scheme termination and modernisation of body corporate procedures.

In regard to pets, the Paper proposes a scheme can be pet free from it's inception or for existing buildings by way of a resolution without dissent (meaning no one can vote against the motion for it not to carry).  If a no pet by-law is adopted in an existing building, there is no retrospective application, meaning pets will be allowed to stay until the end of their approval (eg. moving).

 The same principle applies to smoking.  The proposed amendments also include a change to the power of the Body Corporate to regulate activity for outdoor areas that are part of a lot or common property where the smoke drift could affect lot owners.

Unauthorised parking has been contentious in many schemes and there is no functioning process in place to be able to tow cars.  This is about to change with the Body Corporate's ability to tow without the untimely order needed from the Commissioner's office, provided they follow a process of statutory notices and reasonable timeframes.  The onus of proof that the vehicle has been towed in accordance with the proper procedure is with the Body Corporate.

The most interesting amendment is one that SCA has suggested is that in the future it may be possible to issue fines for breaches of by-laws if owners of a scheme have approved fines for the breach of a particular by-law. 

All of these proposed amendments will, if implemented take time to be enforceable and functioning.  There will be work to do having appropriate signage in place and amending by-laws for bodies corporate. However, it's a step in the right direction as it gives back powers to the Body Corporate to put measures in place for more harmonic community living.