Did you know that some committee decisions can be opposed?

Did you know that some Committee decisions can be opposed? Meaning that before proceeding with any action (particularly anything controversial), the Committee should wait until the notice of opposition time period has passed.

What is the process I hear you ask? In this article, we explore the current regulations that include this provision and what is proposed for the future if the legislation is to be updated.

At present section 56 of the Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulations Qld 2008 (Standard Module) provides for the ability for owners to challenge a committee resolution.  How? Well I’m glad you asked, in order to successfully oppose a committee resolution, the following needs to occur:

  1. Owners of at least one-half of the lots included in the Scheme need to sign a notice opposing the giving of effect to a resolution of the committee, this is called the Notice of Opposition;
  2. The Notice of Opposition must be given to the secretary within 7 days after the secretary gives a copy of the minutes containing the resolution or, for a resolution passed other than at a meeting, a copy of the resolution to each owner as required under section 55.

It is important to note that owners cannot challenge a resolution which is considered of a routine and/or administrative nature and/or involves spending not more than the greater of $200.00 or 5% multiplied by the number of lots included in the Scheme.

A Committee can only give effect to a committee resolution once the time for giving notice of opposition under section 56 expires without a notice of opposition being given to the secretary. While a proactive committee would see the benefit in acting on and implementing committee resolution as soon as possible, it is of utmost importance that the 7 day period has expired prior to doing so.

The recent Commissioners Office case of Coronation Gardens [2017] QBCCMCmr 235 (17 May 2017) deals with this very issue. Adjudicator J.D.M. Underdown relevantly states:

“…section 56(1) Standard Module provides a vehicle for owners to object to what the committee proposes to do even if that might be a reasonable action on the part of the committee. It is simply an action which owners do not want, and therefore requires significant numbers.” 

The Notice of Opposition is a unique vehicle to owners as it does not require owners to establish a breach of the legislation simply that the majority of owners do not agree with the resolution passed. Further, the Committee is hamstrung by the owner’s decision and the only available remedies to overcome the Notice of Opposition is to either put a motion up to general meeting or apply to the Commissioner’s Office for an order that the resolution be actioned.

As noted above this vehicle is presently only available to schemes which fall under the Standard Module. However, recommendation number 34 recently issued by the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, looks for this vehicle to be applied across all of the regulation modules. The report provides that the ‘strongest argument in favour of this position is that if the notice of opposition is considered an appropriate safeguard for lot owners in some schemes, it should be available for all lot owners in all schemes.’

If this recommendation is implemented it will see all owners across all schemes being able to oppose a committee resolution by obtaining the signatures of 50% or more of owners within the scheme. It goes without saying that this is a high threshold to reach, especially considering the number of owner’s signatures required to call an extraordinary general meeting, however, there is a fine line between allowing owners to voice their opinion and also allowing a body corporate to administer and operate in an efficient and effective manner.

Should you be facing difficulties within your Scheme, please contact us today and obtain the guidance and advice you need.