Restrictive laws which require 100 per cent agreement before strata schemes can be terminated could be amended and new powers could be granted to owners corporations in respect of pets, smoking and vehicle towaways as part of recommended changes upon which the Queensland government is seeking feedback.
In a recent announcement, Queensland Attorney General and Justice Minister Yvette D’Ath has called for public submissions with regard to 29 recommendations made in a report on strata law reform published by Queensland University of Technology.
Under one of the most significant proposals, requirements to gain agreement from 100 per cent of all unit owners before a strata scheme can be wound up and terminated would be scrapped.
Instead, terminations will be able to proceed with agreement from three quarters of the owners provided that a majority of owners agree that an ‘economic reason’ has been disclosed in respect of the termination.
The terminations will have to take place according to a new procedure which will be prescribed under law and will require the preparation of a termination plan, disclosure of specified information and a vote on the proposed termination.
The effect of these changes – which the property industry has long sought – will be to make it easier to unlock critical urban regeneration projects through knock down and rebuild type projects which can occur. With these projects, developers offer to purchase an entire multi-unit block in order to knock down the existing units and rebuild with newer and generally more units and apartments.
Under the current system, such proposals can be defeated by a single owner who decides they do not wish to sell even where other owners wish to take up the developer’s offer.
This, the industry suggests, is inhibiting the regeneration of older and at times poor condition housing stock and is unduly holding back redevelopment projects which could deliver much needed urban infill.
In other changes, meanwhile, owners corporations would be given the power to enforce bylaws which prohibit the keeping of pets in a lot or common property and which prohibit smoking in outdoor areas.
Where appropriate bylaws have been adopted and appropriate signage has been erected, owners corporations would also be given express permission to engage tow truck operators to remove private vehicles parked on common property in cases.
Finally, the paper includes a range of proposals which aim to make it easier for owners corporations to recover unpaid money from unit owners.
In her statement, D’Ath said feedback from stakeholders had indicated that current requirements for the termination of schemes were too onerous.
She said the government was seeking feedback on the recommendations contained in the QUT report.
“QUT have provided recommendations on this issue,” D’Ath said.