Queensland Parliament has passed long awaited reforms to the Building Units and Group Titles Act (“BUGTA”). Although the BUGTA is now over 40 years old and has been replaced by the more familiar and broadly used Body Corporate and Community Management Act (“BCCMA”), BUGTA still applies to a number of schemes throughout Queensland.

The recent reforms have caused provisions of the BUGTA to be more closely aligned with those in the BCCMA.  Some of the key changes include:

  • Introducing dispute resolution provisions which closely mirror the BCCMA – expanding access to, and the scope of, orders from a referee;
  • New requirements for bodies corporate to act reasonably – an obligation that did not previously exist for body corporate decision making under BUGTA;
  • Further and new requirements on committees and meetings – such as including an obligation for meeting minutes to be circulated to owners;
  • A legislative requirement to recover levies – bodies corporate now have an obligation to commence debt recovery proceedings after 2 years and 2 months; and
  • The provision of new information and education services – allowing bodies corporate and lot owners more access to information around the operation of BUGTA and the services available.

For a body corporate regulated by the BUGTA, the changes are set to make the understanding of a scheme’s obligations and responsibilities much easier.

Perhaps the most important change is the amendments that make it much easier for both bodies corporate and lot owners to access dispute resolution services, and the increased flexibility of referees and how they go about resolving disputes under the Act.

In a win for lot owners, they can now dispute an unreasonable decision made against them, which they previously could not do.

These recent changes to the BUGTA will no doubt make understanding body corporate governance in BUGTA related schemes much easier, as well as increasing fairness and transparency for both bodies corporate and lot owners.