Are you ready for your Body Corporate Levies to change again?
The calculation of who pays what levies in a body corporate has been contentious for some time. The major reason for this is that the Legislation has changed a number of times.
It all started in 2003 when the then Labor Queensland Government introduced changes to the Legislation to make it clear that levies should be equal except where it was just and equitable for them not to be equal. This was interpreted by the Court of Appeal in 2004 to mean that everyone should pay the same amount of levies; unless it can be demonstrated that one unit in a body corporate has the effect of increasing the costs of running the body corporate.
An example of this may be where a penthouse apartment has its own lift and the body corporate is responsible for monitoring the lift.
After the Court of Appeal decision the legal system was flooded with bodies corporate responding to applications. The old Commercial and Consumer Tribunal saw the majority of these cases and for a period towards the end of 2009 it appeared that the body corporate section of the Tribunal did nothing else other than consider applications to make the calculation of levies equal.
Obviously, when some unit owners have their levies reduced some must have theirs increased and this caused some concern and ultimately forced the then Labor Government in 2011 to amend the Legislation again to reverse the previous charges. On 14 September 2012 the new LNP Queensland Government introduced a Bill into Parliament that will effectively require that the calculation of levies be equal once again. That Bill has now been sent to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee which is required to report back to Parliament by 22 November 2012.
Given the level of control that the LNP has over the Queensland Parliament it would seem a foregone conclusion that once the Committee reports back to Parliament the Bill will become law sometime towards the end of this year or early 2013.
At OMB Solicitors we have an expert Body Corporate Team that has been involved with the calculation of levies right from the start.
If you are currently faced with an Application to amend the way your levies are calculated, or your body corporate has previously had the calculation of its levies adjusted, we would be pleased to meet with you to discuss the effect of the proposed Bill and how we may assist you when it becomes Law.