On 19 May 2020 the Queensland Parliament has introduced the Justice and Other Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Bill 2020 which is intended to amend the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCMA).
The purpose of the bill is to:
“to provide measures to alleviate the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 emergency on bodies corporate for community titles schemes and owners of lots included in the schemes.”
The amendments to the BCCMA include:
- The ability for the body corporate to adjust its sinking fund budget for the financial year so it does not include anticipated costs and the ability to refund any existing levied amounts to owners for the reduced amounts (anticipated spending for the year must still be available);
- The ability for the committee to extend the due date for levies to no later than the financial year of the body corporate;
- Suspension of new penalty interest until 31 December 2020 (but this does not apply to existing penalty interest that has accrued);
- Suspension of the body corporate’s obligation to recover unpaid levies (the body corporate can still recover levies if it chooses to though); and
- The ability of the body corporate to borrow funds of up to $500 per lot in the scheme without a special resolution or resolution without dissent (increased from $250 per lot).
These changes provide flexibility for bodies corporate to delay or suspend the direct costs to owners in their scheme. However, any decisions to make use of these flexibilities ought to be considered alongside each scheme’s specific circumstances as making use of the flexibility without regard for the consequences may cause a bigger cash flow or financial issue down the track.