December 2019 – Disputes take time to resolve

Back in May 19, an EGM for one of our schemes was held that resolved to move airconditioning condensers to a new location on common property. The six condensers, which are utility infrastructure that forms part of common property (but are maintained by lot owners) were causing nuisance to some lot owners and this is not permitted by the BCCM Act.

One lot owner objected to the decision of the body corporate and raised a dispute with the BCCM Commissioner’s office. The committee wisely held off actioning the relocation since any order reversing the body corporate decision would be very expensive for all lot owners.

Although the dispute was lodged with the BCCM office in early May, it was not until the end of June that the BCCM office requested submissions about the dispute from the lot owners and committee. Respondents had until the end of July to make a submission.

After all submissions were received, the applicant to the dispute then had a further three weeks to respond to the submissions made about the dispute.

Finally, an adjudicator was appointed to the case, and a written decision upholding the body corporate resolutions was issued at the end of September. Again, the committee held off actioning the resolutions as an appeal was anticipated.

An applicant to a dispute is entitled to appeal the decision to QCAT and has six weeks in which to do so. The applicant waited the full six weeks before appealing at the end of November.

The committee have been advised that the QCAT appeal will take approximately four months … so a decision around March 2020 is expected.

We tell this story so that committees and lot owners are aware that these dispute processes do not happen quickly. This is a typical case, which will take almost a year to resolve, and further appeal processes are possible although it does start to get expensive when appealing beyond QCAT.