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Body corporate bill is madness: Ray Hopper

NEW changes to body corporate laws expected in Parliament next week have left unit owners fearing they could be forced to subsidise those in luxury apartments.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has dismissed the claims but LNP member turned Katter Party leader Ray Hopper has taken up the fight.

Before jumping from the LNP, Mr Hopper chaired a committee which combed through the bill and offered recommendations.

The concern arises from clause 46A in the body corporate legislation, he said, which suggested an "equality principle" be used to decide who pays what.

Mr Hopper gave the example of the Q1 high-rise on the Gold Coast where a penthouse owner could be paying the same fees for maintenance as a pensioner who owns a one-bedroom unit near its base.

According to Mr Hopper, in April 2011 the then-Labor Government changed the law so unit-owners could not challenge levies in court and force others to pay more.

He said Mr Bleijie's changes could open the door for unit owners to challenge their fees in court, potentially forcing others to foot part of the bill.

The KAP leader said those on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane would be hurt most.

"It's disgusting isn't it?" he said.

"I think the bill should have been rejected in its entirety - it's madness."

Body Corporate managers Vesture Limited warned new laws could force 200,000 Queensland to pay higher levies.

It called for the government to conduct consultation with unit owners across the state in order to ensure the laws worked.

Mr Bleijie said the legislation was about "righting the wrongs" introduced by the Labor government and would affect less than 150.

This would also be a short-term change before the government did a more extensive review of body corporate laws.

"Under the previous legislation, one person could go to a body corporate meeting and overrule the judgement of a court or tribunal without opposition," he said.

"That was simply unfair.

"The system we have proposed will leave the decision up to a court or tribunal, which is best placed to adjudicate on these matters."

Some amendments to the bill will likely be introduced when Parliament sits next week.

Topics:  property, units




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