We often feel we’re at the pointy end of body corp issues, the time when apartments are put up for sale and the market makes a judgement. There’s no better way of finding out if your body corp fees are too high, your building’s not maintained well enough, the sinking fund’s too low or the AGM and owner relationships are just plain dysfunctional. Buyers can be brutal in their assessment and they’re entitled to be when they’re spending their money. And one issue has been making apartment buyers nervous across Queensland.
We’re delighted to see Fair Trading Minister Peter Lawlor’s move to amend the Act and bring back some predictability to body corp fees. The current Act says lot entitlements must be equal unless you have a good reason and despite knowing the fees when buying in, there’s been a run of apartment owners over recent years going to the Tribunal to ask for a reshuffling of lot entitlements (the numbers used to set your fees). Their own fees have gone down at the expense of their neighbours and in some cases resulted in penthouse owners getting a whopping discount, 1 bedder owners a skyrocketing bill. It made headlines early last year when shots were fired in one Gold Coast building.
The proposed amendments are open for public consultation until September 23rd, and when adopted will lock-in your lot entitlements. Developers will again set interest entitlements according to value of the apartment (as they used to) and we’d expect levies will pretty much follow suit. And importantly the Minister is stopping the ability to move the goalposts later.
Mr Lawlor says, “In the future, the ability to adjust contribution schedule lot entitlements will be limited to all lot owners in a scheme unanimously agreeing to make an adjustment through a resolution without dissent or by unanimous agreement between two or more lot owners to redistribute the lot entitlements for their lots amongst themselves.”
Nice to see some common sense prevailing.
Has your building had its lot entitlements changed? We’d love to hear your experiences.