The Property Council of Australia has presented a proposal to the Queensland government which could see Gold Coast unit owners being forced to sell their units against their will.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said she would consider the proposal which would allow entire blocks of units to be sold if 75% of the owners agreed to sell. Currently, 100% of the unit owners must agree before the entire block can be sold.
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PCA President Chris Mountford said that often unit holders refused to sell in hopes of a bigger payday from developers. “On the Gold Coast, where many high-rises have problems with concrete cancer, this can mean people are stuck paying massive repair bills because a minority of owners refuse to sell.”
He also believes that the move would attract billions of dollars of investment into the Gold Coast. REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman John Newlands agrees that: “It would be nice to see some of these older high-rises knocked down for something new, if people were paid out handsomely. It would ultimately end up lowering the cost of these development sites and make it more workable when you don’t have one or two owners holding out.”
Gold Coast Residents and Ratepayers Association president Tom Bleier said a 75 per cent agreement rate was too low.
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“My view is you need a balance and people should be able to have the ability to defend themselves if the vote goes against them,” he said. However, he concedes that the current law of 100% agreement is not workable.
ABC Radio interviewed our property watchdog and property lawyer Tim O’Dwyer about this issue, who is sympathetic to both sides of the argument. Tim added that Body Corporates do have the ability to take a case to the District court if they can’t get 100% agreement for the sale of the block, but if they feel it’s in the best interests to sell.
The question is, if there is provision for Body Corporates to go to court, is this how we should settle any conflict between owners and Body Corporates? There is the issue of the legal costs, and who will pay them in that instance, says Tim.
Other questions Tim raised include:
- Does there need to be extra compensation paid to the 25% of unit owners who don’t want to sell?
- Should extra compensation be paid to owners who have owned the unit for a long time or for whom the unit is their principle place of residence?
You can listen to the interview here.
Now the proposal is in the Attorney-General’s hands we will have to wait to see what her decision will be.