On 25 May 2020, the Justice and Other Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Act 2020 (Qld) (the JOLAA) was assented to by the Queensland Parliament.

The JOLAA amends a wide range of legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this article will focus only on the amendments to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (Qld) (the BCCMA).

New Body Corporate Provisions

The JOLAA introduces new provisions, being Part 3 of Chapter 7 of the BCCMA, which seek 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 following new provisions of the BCCMA are in force from 25 May 2020, until 31 December 2020:

Sinking Funds Budgets – Section 323D allows a body corporate to adopt or adjust the sinking fund budget for the current financial year, by ordinary resolution, with only regard to the needs of the current financial year, without the requirement budget amounts to meet anticipated major expenditure for future years.

Contributions Levied – Section 323E grants the committee of a body corporate the power to extend the due date for payment of a contribution or installment to any date up to the end of the financial year, for either an individual owner who is suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19, or for all owners of all lots regardless of whether all of the owners are suffering hardship.

Penalties for Late Payments – Section 323F provides that penalties for late payments of contributions levied are placed on hold, and body corporates must not charge penalty interest for late payments between 25 May 2020 and 31 December 2020.

Recovery of Body Corporate Debts – Section 323G provides the body corporate with the discretion to postpone recovery proceedings past the usual two-year deadline. This means that even if a contribution has been outstanding for over two years and a body corporate would ordinarily be required to commence recovery proceedings (for example, pursuant to section 145(2) of the Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulation 2008 (Qld)), a body corporate may make the decision to allow an owner with further time to pay prior to commencing legal proceedings.

Power to Borrow – Section 323H permits a body corporate to borrow more without obtaining a special resolution or resolution without dissent.

When considering exercising these new powers, committees of body corporates will need to consider the individual needs of their body corporate and the circumstances of owners.

If you require assistance in understanding the application of the above mentioned provisions, or if you are a committee and would like advice regarding whether to provide concessions to a lot owner, please do not hesitate to contact Tyler Smith of our office by email at tyler@nautiluslaw.com.au or by telephone (07) 5574 3560. We will be happy to assist you.