Body corporate disputes are frequent and can be very difficult to resolve. If you are involved in a dispute with your body corporate, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that your rights and interests can be protected.
Our team of specialist lawyers understand the unique challenges faced by bodies corporates, committees and lot owners. They have extensive experience in resolving body corporate matters and can advise on all aspects of the law governing community title (strata) schemes, from small unit complexes to large multi-level buildings.
Strata titled living is becoming increasingly popular throughout Queensland, with many people choosing to move into an apartment or house that is part of a shared building or complex. As a result, there are many regulations and obligations that relate to the management of common property and a body corporate.
A body corporate is a separate entity from the owners who live in a strata titled property. It has been created through the development of a plan of subdivision and provides a framework for the operation of the scheme, including rules and policies governing the management and use of the body corporate’s common property.
The body corporate’s duties and responsibilities include the maintenance of the common property, which is defined in the relevant scheme’s survey plan. This includes addressing the removal of dangerous and threatening materials, repairing and maintaining common areas, inspecting buildings and assessing damage to the common property.
There are many ways in which a dispute can be resolved, but the preferred method is for the parties to communicate with each other and attempt to settle their differences at first instance. This can be done through a general meeting or at a body corporate committee level.
Some disputes may also be resolved at this stage through a formal conciliation process. This is a free service provided by the Department of Justice and Attorney General through the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM).
Another option to resolve a dispute is through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s (QCAT) dispute resolution services. QCAT hears disputes relating to body corporate and community management schemes, including lot entitlement adjustments and appeals from adjudicators’ decisions.
Body corporate disputes can occur between individual unit owners, within a body corporate disputes committee or between an owner and their neighbours. These are often over issues such as levying, lots entitlements, by-laws and fees or the use of common property such as parking spaces or overhanging trees.
A body corporate can also issue a remedial action notice to an owner or lot owner where there are complaints that the owner has not paid their levies on time, is defaming others or is otherwise causing damage to common property. This can be a very effective way to deal with these issues without the need for costly litigation, if a person is willing to work to resolve their complaint at an early stage.
Our team has dealt with a variety of body corporate matters, including breaches of by-laws and claims for breach of contract. Our clients have included a range of body corporates, bodies corporate committees and their members, body corporate managers and letting agents, as well as caretakers.