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The History of Body Corporate Series- Part 2

The landscape of Body Corporate has transformed massively over the past 90 years.  From the emergence of community living in 1930- 1906 to 1960-1970 when multi-storey dwellings and cluster housing were given direction through two new laws. Both of these eras were covered last week in The History of Body Corporate Series- Part 1. This week we will review from 1970 to 1990 when unregulated management rights and BUGTA were born.

The 1970s also saw the emergence of management rights, specifically on the Gold Coast. Management rights are arrangements with the body corporate to provide a combination of caretaking and letting agent services with a resident manager living in the building. The intention was to have an onsite manager to organise maintenance and holiday let for investors. This was implemented through service contracts, which has played a part in further legislative changes that occur over the next 50 years.

BUTA and GTA legislative instruments ensured strata titled living could be managed well in Queensland, however, there still were practical obstacles which gave rise to unnecessary hardship for owners. To remove these hardships and provide a modernisation, the BUTA and GTA were combined into one Act, called the Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980 (QLD) [BUGTA].

Key improvements introduced included new types of resolutions, lot entitlements were determined in proportion to the unimproved values of all the lots in the plan, disclosure obligations introduced, better-defined by-laws, and the appointment of a managing agent to guide the committee in achieving outcomes in their voluntary roles. A significant introduction was the dispute resolution process which involved the ability to make an application to a referee for an order on any matter under BUGTA. If dissatisfied with the order, there were provisions for appeal. BUGTA was amended three times to address application issues leading to misuse, a lack of transparency and anomalies in drafting errors.

In 1991 a paper was released setting out a variety of practical issues and sought consultation on the lack of restriction over term of service contracts, proxy votes abuse, lack of provisions for staged developments and onsite managers [with management rights] securing exclusive use of common property.

In 1994 the Government attempted to right side the deficiencies in the Act, and it was substantially rewritten however, it was abandoned with no consensus among stakeholders. Outside of BUGTA, there are some specific pieces of legislation that were introduced during this period for specific schemes, the most noteworthy being, Integrated Resort Development Act 1987 (QLD), Sanctuary Cove Resort Act 1985 (QLD) and Mixed Use Development Act 1993 (QLD).

These were designed to deal with planning and management of large-scale developments for which BUGTA was unable to accommodate.

The next stage of strata history was 1995-2021 which is when we welcome the modernisation of strata regulations. We will cover this era next week in the Strata History series part three.

This article was contributed by Nicky Lonergan, Managing Director – Archers the Strata Professionals.

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