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COVID-19 Changes: What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, especially bodies corporate that need to hold meetings. If you are in lockdown or quarantine, and need to maintain social distancing, then that can be a logistical nightmare for body corporate meetings. There are recent changes to help facilitate the operation of bodies corporate.

A committee generally cannot change rights, privileges or obligations of lot owners in relation to common property or body corporate assets. This is because the committee must act in the best interests of all lot owners in managing the body corporate.

However, if a public health direction has been made under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld), then the committee can restrict access to common property and body corporate assets if it’s reasonably necessary to comply with the public health direction. This amendment, at time of writing, expires 31 December 2020 but will likely be extended. Any decision by the committee to restrict access will also expire on 31 December 2020, or earlier if the public health direction stops having effect.

A committee also cannot change the date that levies are due. But with the COVID-19 amendment, the committee may decide to extend the due date, so long as it is no later than the end of the financial year for the body corporate. In doing so, the committee must consider the body corporate’s ability to meet necessary and reasonable spending. In other words, the committee cannot extend the due date if the body corporate cannot reasonable sustain that extension. Up until 31 December 2020, penalty interest cannot be charged on overdue contributions.

Generally, the body corporate must take action within 2 years to recover unpaid levies. Until 31 December 2020, the body corporate now does not have to take action, but the body corporate can still choose to if it wishes. This also does not affect proceedings already started.

If a body corporate has not increased its borrowing limit already, then the body corporate may exceed that borrowing limit, but cannot exceed the number of lots x $500, or $6,000 in the case of a Small Schemes Module complex.

This article is intended as general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For specific legal advice please contact us here.


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