As part of the ACT Government’s Managing Buildings Better reforms, changes to the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act (the Act) come into effect on 1 November 2020.
Some of the major changes to come into effect include:
- Owners Corporations (OCs) and Executive Committees (ECs) will be able to meet and vote electronically on ordinary or special resolutions.
- Special resolutions (necessary to amend rules or grant special use of common property) will require 75% votes in favour in order to be passed. This has been lifted from a previous threshold of 67%.
- Only one owner per unit will be eligible to be on the EC. Currently two or more part-owners can be elected for to the EC.
- The number of proxy votes one person can hold will be restricted. An owner will only be allowed to hold one proxy vote for 20 or fewer units in the unit plan. If the unit plan has over 20 units, the number of votes will be capped at 5% of the total number of units.
- Developers, builders and other parties involved in a development can no longer vote on matters relating to building defects, including potential litigation, unless a special resolution is passed by other unit owners or a declaration is obtained from ACAT.
- New meeting agenda guidelines will standardise for certain matters to be addressed in general or annual general meetings such as building defects, maintenance and delegations etc.
- Existing OCs will need to prepare a maintenance schedule to identify any regular maintenance or servicing required for common property and buildings.
- OCs of units of a certain size & nature will also be required to prepare an annual audit of funds, accounts and financial statements of unit plans by a qualified and independent auditor.
- OCs will be responsible for lodging all claims with insurance providers and paying any excess on the claims made against insurance policies held by the OCs.
- All OCs will operate under the new default rules for managing units plans. Any rules made with the Land Titles Office must be registered within 3 months of being passed.
- OCs will need to create a rule for granting a special privilege to use common property for a period of 3 months or more.
- All tenants need only comply with the OC’s rules if they are consistent with the residential tenancy agreement.
- Owners will be able to separate the budgets for different parts of their units plan to apply contribution levies more fairly. This can mean that contribution levies for certain facilities that owners use or do not use, such as lifts, can be recalculated.
- OCs in mixed-use developments will encouraged to represent all types of owners on their ECs, such as commercial and residential unit owners.
- Owners in complexes with different leases and uses will be given a new option for managing their building.
- Existing multi-lease buildings will be able to adopt a Building Management Statement (BMS) and form a building management committee
- OCs cannot unreasonably withhold consent of application for the installation of systems to save energy or water.
- ACAT will have additional powers to deal with OC rules and whether they are harsh, unconscionable or oppressive
- Pets can be kept in a unit as long as the OC is given notice of its arrival.
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