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Clarification for Bodies Corporate in Layered Schemes
By Riley Milton
18th December 2023
Our firm represented the successful party in a recent Queensland Court of Appeal matter. The Court of Appeal’s decision settled far more than just a dispute between body corporates operating within a layered arrangement - it provides certainty to the interpretation of the operation of the relevant Body Corporate legislation in Queensland. The decision has important practical consequences to similarly structured community titles schemes and layered arrangements.
Body Corporate for Metro Quays CTS 28461 v Three Islands Pty Ltd & Ors  QCATA 20 concerned a dispute between parties in a building consisting of layered arrangements in a community titles scheme. The case determined which community titles scheme was responsible for the maintenance of the roofing structure on the building.
In 2021, an adjudication application was lodged to determine which entity was responsible for the maintenance of the roof of the building.
Between September 2016 and December 2018, Metro CTS arranged and paid for work to be carried out to the roof of the relevant building. Metro CTS subsequently contended that Metro Quays CTS was responsible for maintaining the whole of the roof of the building, except for the concrete part of the roof covering the stairwell and lift. Metro CTS issued an invoice to Metro Quays CTS seeking repayment of the sum paid for the roof work. Metro Quays CTS denied it was responsible for the roof.
The adjudicator held that it was the responsibility and the common property of Metro Quays CTS.
Metro Quays CTS appealed this decision in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Senior Member Brown considered the relevant legislation, including the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, the Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulation 2020, and Body Corporate and Community Management (Accommodation Module) Regulation 2020. At an appeal hearing in 2022, Senior Member Brown held that the adjudicator did not make an error in concluding that Metro Quays CTS was responsible for the maintenance of the roof.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Senior Member.
Court of Appeal Decision
The Court of Appeal, Morrison JA, Boddice JA and North JA presiding, considered the provisions of the Standard and Accommodation Modules in determining which party was responsible for the maintenance of the roof and confirmed the previous decision and dismissed the Appeal.
The judgment has obvious consequences for community titles schemes and the property of body corporates within layered arrangements such as the one in this case. In addition, the decision has now provided a clear precedent for the interpretation of the Regulation Modules associated with the Body Corporate and Community Management Act and how they operate for similarly structured community titles schemes in layered arrangements.
If you would like to know more about the decision, or about any other building and construction issues, please do not hesitate to contact John Carey or Riley Milton.
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