This article and update about actions for your body corporate committee during COVID-19 has been provided by Michelle Scott, Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management and Tammy Lynch, Tower Body Corporate.
- ARTICLE: COVID-19 Communication for Bodies Corporate – Update 3
- ARTICLE: COVID-19 Body Corporate Committee Responsibilities
COVID-19 Communication for Bodies Corporate – Update 3
Late last week the Government introduced new temporary measures to assist the community titles sector to navigate the complexities of holding meetings, and of managing access to common property and body corporate records in compliance with public health directives. Last week’s changes to body corporate regulations mean that:
From 19 March to 31 December 2020, amendments to meeting procedures are permitted to restrict physical attendance, and to allow for remote attendance and electronic voting, to the extent reasonably necessary to comply with public health directives – while the temporary measures are technically only coming into effect now, the changes to the regulations retrospectively validate and authorise adjustments to meeting procedures which may have been adopted by a body corporate from 19 March 2020 to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.
From 2 October 2020 to 31 December 2020:
- body corporate committees may restrict access to common property in response to public health directives.
- a body corporate may comply with a request from an interested person to inspect body corporate records by providing electronic access to, or copies of, documents if relevant fees are paid.
- the Commissioner may also provide copies of dispute resolution applications and submissions to interested persons instead of allowing inspection, provided usual copy fees are paid.
- the Commissioner may waive payment of fees for inspection or copies of documents if satisfied payment would cause financial hardship.
The new legislation can be found here: Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Community Titles Schemes and Other Matters) Regulation 2020
These changes supplement earlier reforms that were commenced on 25 May 2020 to help community titles schemes deal with financial issues arising from COVID-19. Further information about the May reforms to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 , is also available on our COVID-19 in bodies corporate webpage or our May edition of Common Ground.
Bodies corporate and their committees will maintain their ongoing obligations to act “reasonably”, including when making decisions under these new measures. Open, timely and constructive communication around these issues will continue to be an important ingredient for harmonious community living in the COVID-19 environment and into the future. For further information contact my Information and Community Education Unit on (freecall) 1800 060 119.
Information Service Freecall 1800 060 119
Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management
This post appears in Strata News #411.
This article has been republished with permission from the author and first appeared in the BCCM Common Ground newsletter.
COVID-19 Body Corporate Committee Responsibilities
Arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, bodies corporate have a special duty to ensure that:
- owners and residents are informed of government directives which impact upon their premises;
- steps are taken to comply with those directives, for example, where they require some areas/facilities be closed (as in the case of pools, spas, saunas, gyms); and
- all residents, workers and guests are reminded of the importance of practising appropriate hygiene (e.g. handwashing) and social distancing.
Given the importance of responding promptly, Committees will probably need to make decisions on behalf of the body corporate, rather than putting matters to a general vote.
Actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic need to balance the rights of individuals with the needs of other owners and occupiers and the broader community.
In making decisions:
- Committees have a statutory obligation to act ‘reasonably’.
- Legislated decision-making processes will continue to apply eg committees require committee meetings or votes outside a committee meeting (VOCs) to formalise decisions.
- Decisions cannot be made unilaterally by a single person, such as a chairperson or caretaker.
- Decisions taken must be communicated to all owners and residents.
Committees should consider:
- avoiding face-to-face meetings unless they are essential.
- practicing appropriate hygiene and social distancing when meetings are held.
- holding meetings remotely by telephone, video conference via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or like platforms —the legislation does not prevent this practice.
- the need for a quorum at meetings does not require committee members be physically present in the room.
- utilising their capacity to ‘vote outside committee’ meetings.
This post appears in Strata News #346
Have a question about actions for your body corporate committee during COVID-19 or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
- QLD: Body Corporate Spending Limits During COVID-19
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