Strata reform low-hanging fruit for Qld economy

The Property Council of Australia has called on the Queensland Government to follow the lead of NSW and Western Australia by reforming body corporate legislation to unlock latent potential in the state’s economy.

With close to a million Queenslanders now living within community title scheme complexes -Property Council Queensland Executive Director, Chris Mountford, says it’s imperative the Government moves to protect the economic future of these assets.

“Our current legislation costs owners and the broader community dearly by preventing the majority from exerting their property rights,” Mr Mountford said.
 
Under Queensland’s Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, the unanimous consent of all the lot holders in a community title scheme is required to terminate a scheme and allow the site to be sold for redevelopment.
 
“The current law means that no matter how dilapidated the building, or how advantageous a developer’s offer, a single opponent within a body corporate can prevent a redevelopment from going ahead.”
 
“The consequence is that many buildings in Queensland are beyond restoration, often becoming safety hazards, but the owners are shackled to these sinking assets because a lone objector is denying them opportunities to redevelop.” 
 
New research from Griffith University, undertaken for the Property Council, demonstrates the scale of the problem and recommends the adoption of a 75% owner consent threshold in Queensland – the same as New South Wales and New Zealand.
 
“A 75% threshold would ensure that a lone obstinate objector won’t be able to trump the will of an overwhelming majority of lot holders,” Mr Mountford said.
“A move to 75% would generate significant investment, creating jobs and catalysing urban renewal.
 
“The current laws not only do a disservice to lot owners, but also to the wider community.
 
“At a time when governments are looking to facilitate urban infill and make better use of existing infrastructure, existing body corporate laws are a huge roadblock to getting more out of underutilised sites.”
 
The Queensland Government has committed to review the recommendations of an ongoing independent review of property law that the Queensland University of Technology have been undertaking since August 2013.
 
“The Griffith University report clearly demonstrates that there is an urgent need for strata reform,” 
 
“In the current economic climate, Queensland cannot afford to let investment be drawn interstate to jurisdictions where reformed strata laws will generate urban renewal.”
 
“If we are going to create new jobs and strong communities in Queensland, strata law reform is very low hanging fruit for the Government to pursue.”