THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT DITHERS ON CHANGING LEGISLATION TO ENCOURAGE GREATER INVESTMENT IN RENTAL UNITS. CURRENT INVESTMENT SUFFERS FROM:
1. Return on investment will be 1% or 2% (if you are lucky). Many make a loss.
2. You will not be informed the true gross amount that a renter has paid to occupy your unit.
3. You will be saddled with a 10 or 25 year escalating management right's contract that is almost impossible to terminate. In some cases the 25 year contract is unlawful.
4. You will be saddled with undisclosed uncontrolled letting commissions (may be 25% of gross rental) on the pretext that the commission relates to wholesaling rentals through a company associated with the letting agent.
5. You will be required to contribute to advertising for the letting agent’s business.
6. You will be required to pay cleaning costs including a mark-up to the letting agent that may double the actual cleaning cost, every time your unit is rented.
7. You will be required to pay for maintenance costs to your unit – plus at least 10% mark-up/supervision fee to the letting agent. (An average letting unit needs to be refurbished every 5 years due to damage caused by tenants).
8. You will not have any say in how your building is supervised. The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 disadvantages unit owners and is biased against them.
9. Queensland local council rates and water rates are excessive (loaded for holiday rental units on the Gold Coast by an additional 125%, $801 to $1800).
10. Any capital gain on units in Queensland is eroded away due to the cost of ownership.
The Unit Owners Association of Queensland urges the Queensland Government and it’s Attorney-General to review Body Corporate legislation that permits developers selling 25 year Management Rights Agreements. Comparable provisions have been considered unenforceable by a NSW court and considered unconscionable in the USA. Such management rights sales also lead to the abovementioned outcomes.
To most people your unit is the biggest investment they have made. UOAQ membership makes you aware of the issues that has an impact on that investment and an ability to get involved to protect your interest. You can access reports of other owner’s experiences and how they dealt with them.
Why Become A Member?
Being a non-profit volunteer community organisation, Unit Owners Association of Queensland is dedicated to improving the rights and lifestyles of people who live in units and townhouses. Our aim is to be effective network spreading useful information amongst unit owners.
There is an enthusiastic and effective team of like-minded people as Committee Members and in our band of volunteers. This has resulted in valuable policies being developed and strong support being given to members. Please see our homepage for the most recent submissions and/or communication with various government bodies.
‘Unit News’ and ‘Unit News Online’ are our newsletters. These publications aim to keep members abreast of developments in community title living. ‘Unit News’ is a printed magazine which is distributed to all our members. ‘Unit News Online’ is a monthly electronic newsletter delivered directly to your email address. We are also working very hard to keep our website www.uoag.org.au updated with information about all of our activities.
UOAQ is the single organisation in Queensland representing both investment and residential unit owners only. As a recognized stakeholder, the Association meets with Government bodies in order to effect positive change within the industry. It is also worth noting that UOAQ is the only not-for-profit organisation in the entire stakeholder group. Thus the input provided is unbiased by any vested interests and is provided to promote the quality of, and, reduce the cost of, unit living for all Queensland unit owners.
There are two membership categories responding to the different needs of our members.
Individual membership is designed for the needs of individual unit owners, and helps the individual to better orient themselves with legislation, keeps them informed about current strata topics and provides guidance with issues an individual - owner occupier or investor - may have vis-a-vie other entities in bodies corporate, be it the caretaker, other owners, body corporate managers, or their own body corporate committee.
Building membership addresses issues at the level of body corporate committees and bodies corporate, which are usually more complex. There is a minimmum one year membership term. It was designed to meet the growing needs of buildings for comprehensive approach and mentoring in strata issues. Accordingly, it is not exclusive to particular size of the complex; it caters for the needs of any sized building.
Why Support our Association?
Unit Owners Association of Queensland has been representing unit owners in Queensland for almost 40 years. We have seen many changes, including considerable growth in strata numbers: as of September 2015 there were 422,852 individual lots contained in 44,734 schemes accross the state. With the growth in the strata industry, UOAQ is also experiencing the growth in the number of our finacial members - our membership base has been steadily increasing for the last five years in both individual and building members. As of the end of March 2016 our membership increased to 2,326 financial members. We are very proud of the steady increase which shows unit owners' aprreciation of hard work of our Executive Committee member and volunteers.
Although it may seem as small percentage of overall unit owners in Queensland, each and every member of our Association is a unit holder and supports UOAQ from the perspective of a unit owner and for the benefit of unit owners. After all, our membership base - and of course, all unit owners - are the only one who underwrite the whole strata industry - by buying and owning the property and by paying the body corporate fees and levies (thus making it possible for caretakers, body corporate managers, insurers, numerous traders and maintenance professions, travel industry using units for holiday makers etc...)
Members regularly contact the office and committee members seeking advice and assistance relating to body corporate administration, functions of strata title manager, committees, onsite building managers and other legislative requirements.
Thus the Association has the opportunity to refer members to preferred contractors for specialist businesses, and approved providers of services within strata industry who not may support our Association but, more importantly, conduct their business with the interests of unit owners in mind . Accordingly, the various industry participants can be given opportunities to establish trusted business relationships with UOAQ members. You can also receive valuable exposure to unit owners through our website, Unit News and Unit News online to assist in building their own businesses.
Our Mission StatementEnsuring the viability and long-term stability of unit ownership by promoting and protecting the rights of unit owner’s as the major stakeholders in property registered under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 or its precedents whether the units be used for residential, commercial or industrial purposes; by
1. Vesting building ownership and control in the body corporate; and
2. Restricting ownership costs to those of equivalent private property.
For three decades the UOAQ - a not for profit association, has represented the consumer sector of the Community Title Scheme (CTS) industry and has always worked towards a cohesive and productive relationship with government and related commercial entities in this industry sector. Historically we believe the Government has been at the forefront of Community Title legislation throughout the country. However over the past five years or so it is our firm belief that some of the legislation has been sidestepped by various operators within the industry, resulting in it becoming increasingly difficult to promote the ongoing viability of Unit procurement and habitation in the medium to longer term.
The ramifications of these results not only affect the Body Corporate and Community Management (B.C.C.M.) area of Government but also the financial future of the State with regard to affordability, sustainability and the tourism industry. Where an active and effective body corporate committee can control the cost of the building then that particular building becomes not only an enviable place to live but also to invest in. Currently there are legislative constraints that are making it extremely difficult if not impossible, to ensure that these complexes are affordable to live or invest in.
Sustainable Living PolicySince 1997 when the new BCCM Act was introduced, unit owners have raised concerns as to the financial detriment to owners which arise from long term contracts with no mechanism for market review.
If the status quo remains, the costs of unit living will continue to grow well beyond the reach of ordinary home owners who may wish to live a unit lifestyle and leave a lighter footprint on our environment.
All stakeholders, including Developers, Caretakers, Real Estate Agents, Banks, Insurance Companies, Builders, Lawyers and Body Corporate Managers will benefit if unit living remains sustainable in the medium to long term.
The UOAQ promote and protect the rights of individual owners over the competing interests of suppliers, agents and other service providers to the Body Corporate industry.
It is time to right the balance so that Unit Living and the Tourism Industry can thrive well into the future.
The Unit Owners Association of Queensland, the volunteer industry body representing unit owners in Queensland, believes the following urgent issues must be addressed to provide relief and reinstate confidence in the Community Titled Scheme industry.
Sustainable Living Policy addresses:
- Body corporate fees.
- Land tax.
- Increasing investor returns on investments.
- Complex/Building Offices and essential facilities are to be located on the common property of the Body Corporate and may be made available to the successful tenderer.
- Stop Extensions and Topping up of contracts.
- Caretaking agreements limited to a maximum 3 years.
- Stop Conversions from Standard to Accommodation Module.
Unit Owners Association of Queensland - Help Desk
ROME BURNED WHILE NERO FIDDLED --- BODIES CORPORATE GET BURNED WHILE THE MINISTER FIDDLES
1. Section 153 notices. The notice to be given to buyers of management rights businesses about the need to get a licence and obtain strata title scheme body corporate approval will be abolished.
2. Disclosure of rental commission. The requirement to disclose the actual commission your real-estate agent (including ‘on-site’ resident agents) is charging on the residential unit will be removed.
3. Commission amounts. Commission is being deregulated. The current caps of maximum 7.5% of gross rent received for permanent and 12% of gross rent received for short term will be removed. If your real-estate agent wanted, they could charge a flat fee across the entire transaction - rather than splitting it into the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) commission on the unit and the balance on the business.
4. Purchasing a property or business you have listed. Agents will be able to be a purchaser of an interest in a business and charge a commission provided the prescribed form of disclosure is made to the seller. The form itself has not been prescribed yet. The Act requires that the agent must act fairly and honestly in relation to the sale and the client must be in as good a position as the client would have been if the property were sold at fair market value. Needless to say, the honest Queensland agents will not need regulatory restrictions and act in the best interest of their client (ha!, ha!).
5. Listing timeframes. Exclusive listings go back to 90 day maximums for residential real estate but the Act also clears up a grey area when it comes to management rights. The essence of a management rights transaction is usually the sale of the business. The Act makes it clear that when a lot is sold with a business that the 90 day maximum does not apply. So, your agent could have a lawful six month exclusive listing. Owner/Investor clients or agent agreements can be revoked by either party on 30 days notice after the first 30 days. Any exclusive agency will last at least 60 days.
6. Employment registers. The obligation to maintain a register will be removed.
7. Display of licence. The requirement to have a real estate licence on display will be abolished.
8. Waiving a cooling off period. There will no longer be a requirement for lawyers to sign a certificate to waive a cooling off period on a residential contract. Buyers will be able to do it themselves.
9. Need to live ‘on-site’. There will no longer be a requirement for a strata-title scheme caretaker/letting agent to live ‘on-site’.
10. Multiple management rights letting businesses. As a strata-title scheme caretaker/letting agent will not have to live ‘on-site’ they can manage multiple sites.
11. Misuse of class two buildings. If you are a short term renting owner in a class two building that does not comply with access for persons with a disability, you could be charged with non-compliance under the Disability Discrimination Act.
12. Foreign Investor Restrictions. If you are a foreign unit buyer in a Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approved project, be aware that when you re-sell, you will not have the world market the FIRB approval provides the developer, but be restricted to sell only to an Australian, in the local market.
Queensland’s lack of owner/investor consumer protection and already inadequate regulation will become even more unrestricted with further avenues to exploitation.