Saturday, April 14, 2012

Readjustment of contribution schedule lot entitlements

"Much of the animosity between the applicant and the body corporate committee has arisen following his submission to the committee of a motion to reverse contribution lot entitlements to the “pre-adjustment level”. Based on advice that it had obtained from MBA Legal, the committee declined to lodge a new community management statement reflecting “pre adjustment lot entitlements”. As a result, the applicant issued a number of circulars to other lot owners regarding his request for a reversion of lot entitlements.

Within bodies corporate, few issues have been more polarising than the adjustment and/ or readjustment of contribution schedule lot entitlements (CSLE’s) which set the proportion each owner contributes to body corporate expenses. The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 previously provided that in certain circumstances, an owner could apply to the District Court or a specialist adjudicator for an order to have the original entitlements adjusted. Where such an order was made, levies payable by some owners decreased while others increased.

In November 2010 the Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading introduced into parliament a bill to amend the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997This bill was passed by parliament in early 2011 and changed the criteria for adjustment of contribution lot entitlements. These amendments also include a procedure for certain owners to seek a reversal of previous adjustment orders. Except in limited circumstances, such as where the adjustment order merely formalized an agreement made by the parties, or there has been a material change such as further subdivision, the body corporate is obliged by the legislation to lodge a new community management statement reflecting the original lot entitlements. Where such action is taken, levies payable by some owners decrease while others increase.

Given that all lot owners are members of the body corporate, it is important that they have an opportunity to air any grievances and have input into the management of the scheme. Owners often have opposing views on various matters, but in my view robust discussion and debate is an important part of body corporate decision-making. This requires that, within reason, all owners feel free to express their point of view without unreasonable threats of defamation proceedings."

See Q1 Decision

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