Body Corporate Law Reforms Introduced to Parliament

Joan Pease MP2023-08-28

The Body Corporate and Community Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 (the Bill) has been introduced into the Queensland Parliament today.

Key Points:

  • Proposed law reforms will better protect ‘off the plan’ home buyers from developers invoking sunset clauses in contracts for the sale of land

  • Changes will allow bodies corporate to prohibit smoking in outdoor and communal areas

  • Bodies corporate will be prevented from blanket banning pets

The Queensland Government has taken a significant step towards strengthening protections for Queenslanders buying land ‘off the plan’ and improving liveability for the growing number of people residing in body corporate communities.   There have been reports of developers invoking a ‘sunset clause’ to terminate an ‘off the plan’ contract, allegedly in order to re-list and sell the proposed lot for a much higher price.   This has left home buyers out of pocket and without a home.   The Bill limits when property developers can invoke a ‘sunset clause’ to terminate ‘off the plan’ contracts for land to specific situations.   These situations are: • with the written consent of the buyer; or • under an order of the Supreme Court; or • in another situation prescribed by regulation.   The ‘off the plan’ purchasing reforms will strengthen buyer protections by limiting when sunset clauses can be used to terminate ‘off the plan’ contracts for the sale of land. The Bill will also confirm that sellers, often property developers, cannot gain early access to deposits under ‘off the plan’ contracts.    The changes to body corporate law will: • allow bodies corporate to make by-laws that prohibit smoking (including vapes) on common property or an outdoor area such as a balcony; • make clear that regularly exposing a person in another unit or on common property to second-hand smoke is a nuisance, hazard and unreasonable interference that should not be occurring; • prevent bodies corporate from making by-laws banning pets in community titles schemes; • clarify and enhance the ability for bodies corporate to tow vehicles from common property in a timely manner; • allow for an adjudicator to approve for a body corporate to put in place alternative insurance when it cannot comply with the required level of insurance for particular buildings; • enhance by-law enforcement and access to records in more complex layered arrangements of community titles schemes; • enhance the code of conduct for body corporate managers and caretaking service contractors; and • clarify and streamline body corporate administrative and procedural matters.

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