"Every Strata Scheme in New South Wales, regardless of its size, has to have a Strata Committee. This committee is responsible for the many, many things that have to be looked after, co-ordinated, arranged and organised for the 'smooth' operation of a typical Strata Scheme. Here's a brief guide on what makes up the typical Strata Committee, what duties they perform and what personality traits and skills are needed to handle the various roles."
Everyone is still trying to come to grips with exactly how the NEW legislation changes (that came into effect on Nov 30, 2016) will affect our strata lives and some companies may be a little slow changing some of their webpages, forms and articles to reflect the new laws.
So please be a little patient if some of the links I give you refer back to some old legislation or have simply disappeared.
I have to have SOME faith so I'm hoping most will update their info as soon as possible. Eventually everyone will be on the same page but it could take just a little time. Just know that I will be keeping my ear to the ground for changes...and that I will do my best to fix what I can as soon as I can.
The Strata Committee (also known as the SC) is made up of representatives of the Owners Corporation elected at each annual general meeting and oversee the running of a Strata Scheme. The elected committee members, by default, become the voice of the Owners Corporation.
For most strata schemes, there can be a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9 committee members. Large Strata Schemes (i.e. schemes with more than 100 lots) must have a minimum of 3 committee members (SSMA 2015 - Section 30). From the elected members, three officers must be chosen. These are the chairperson, secretary and treasurer. Now, ONE person CAN be nominated for all 3 positions - but I, personally, wouldn't want to be that person. The duties performed and the skill sets required for each of these positions are outlined further down this page.
NSW Fair Trading has a truly fantastic Fact Sheet called the "Strata Committee of the Owners Corporation" that you just HAVE to read. It's a concise, to-the-point, reference summary of all things to do with the Strata Committee. Make sure you get a hold of this.
Really, I have only scratched the surface of what a Strata Committee is and does so, to keep this page to a reasonable size, I will give you the link to the sections of the Strata Scheme Management Act 2015 that goes through absolutely everything. So strap yourself in and get a cup of coffee (or tea) and enjoy the read (at your own pace). Part 3 - Strata Committee : Sections 29 to 48
Obviously, and especially with any Strata Schemes over 5 lots, it's usually not practical or workable to have EVERY owner involved directly in EVERY issue that arises. While the really big and important issues may require all owners to be involved there are others that don't. Things like "how come the grass didn't get cut this week?" or "we need to find an electrician to fix the problem with the intercomm" shouldn't require everybody's involvement and authorisation.
So, to avoid overly complicating things the OC elects (at a general meeting) a Strata Committee to oversee these day-to-day issues for the scheme. The 'elected owners' generally liaise closely with the appointed Strata Manager and, together, they work as a team to ensure the smooth running of the scheme.
NOTE - If there's no Strata Manager appointed then the Strata Committee is responsible for handling everything (including all the legal ramifications) in the running of a Strata Scheme.
Officers are elected at the Strata Committee meeting following the Annual General Meeting. Even if there's a Strata Manager for the scheme and certain duties have been delegated to them, the chairman, secretary and treasurer are still able to exercise their powers, if they choose to do so. In most instances the Strata Manager normally performs all the functions of the actual secretary and treasurer who operate in a mainly supervisory capacity.
OK, if you want the A-Z of Strata Committee Meetings then look no further than Schedule 2 - Meeting procedures of Strata Committees in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. There's a lot in this schedule but everything you MUST know is there.
Under the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 the chairperson, secretary and treasurer have certain functions, some of which are listed below:
Division 4 - Office holders - Sections 41 to 48 goes over the functions of the 3 officers as well as covering some other 'not-so-common' items.
As I mentioned earlier (and in case you missed it), NSW Fair Trading has a truly fantastic Fact Sheet called the "Strata Committee of the Owners Corporation" that you just HAVE to read. It's a concise, to-the-point, reference summary of all things to do with the Strata Committee.
Make sure you don't overlook this.
As mentioned elsewhere, many of the functions of the officer positions described above can be (and usually are) delegated to the appointed Strata Managers. Obviously when this happens, the treasurer and secretary have a much easier time of things and can focus on the 'smooth' running of the scheme from a management perspective rather than having to worry about all the 'day-to-day' tasks and on-going logistical, accounting, compliance, legislative and the all important legal side of things.
However, when under control of a Strata Manager, the treasurer and secretary still need to liaise closely with that Strata Manager, approve those things that require approval and follow-up or instigate those tasks that have been or will be actioned by the Strata Manager.
Remember- if your scheme is self-managed you'll have to do it all - from producing & distributing the levy notices to collecting the levies, from producing and sending out notices, agendas and minutes of any meetings to handling disputes, from looking after all the accounts and records to keeping up with the legislation and compliance requirements - and much more.
To see exactly what needs to be done by the self-manager read the Strata Management information page.
Again, the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 has a section called: Section 13 - Functions that may only be delegated to member of Strata Committee. Phew, what a mouthful that was...but it contains things you need to be mindful of regarding delegation of duties and legal advice conditions.
And the NSW Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 also has a section called: Regulation 4 - Functions that may only be delegated to strata committee member that adds a little to the section in the Act. You should read both...
Then there's when tasks are delegated to the Strata Manager - There's a section in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 called: Section 54 - Functions of officers and SC may be given to strata managing agent
It all might seem pretty scary but it's not really - just some common sense type stuff you have to be aware of. Oh yeah - any references made to Large Strata Schemes are schemes with MORE THAN 100 lots (excluding any parking or utility lots)....
Joining the Strata Committee (SC) can be a potentially life-altering decision so make sure you are fully prepared for what's involved. It's not a decision to be made lightly especially if your scheme has chosen to go down the self-management path. A whole lot more in the way of time, effort and responsibility is required of the committee members in a self-managed scheme - especially in the 'highly-legislated' days we live in.
For some schemes (and in the 'worst case' situation), being an SC member means possibly facing the scenario of hostile meetings with much screaming, constant verbal abuse or even threats of assault, difficult motions like "one of the SC members is a fool and should be thrown out" or that "the capital works fund levy should be abolished" and more.
At the very least the meetings may be quite lengthy, there may be many controversial decisions, there's probably little or no pay for the untold hours you've spent in the job not to mention the odd uncomfortable moment when you cross paths with someone who detests having to pay the capital works fund levies or with the owner who hates the colour the building was painted. In an instant you, as a committee member, can become the target for everything that owners don't like.
Additionally, having to continually be concerned about complying with all the legislation is a pain in the 'you know where'. At least when Strata Managers are involved most of the compliance and legislative requirements are handled by them, along with most of the disputes too.
And, from experience, managing people is far more difficult than managing the actual scheme's maintenance needs. Having to deal with the multitude of conflicting interests and personal agendas of the owners and other residents is a major reason why most schemes opt to use the services of professional Strata Managers. Generally strata managers have the systems, people and experience to handle these complex issues AND they WILL make your life heaps easier.
Thankfully, current legislation has eased a lot of the 'litigation concerns' for committee members so everyone can now breathe a little bit easier. The section which outlines this is Section 260 - Personal liability of the SSMA 2105.
Now, this doesn't mean that anyone can get away with anything bad. If someone REALLY crosses the line and does something really bad then they will STILL be held personally liable. I think the actual wording from the legislation that 'eases' things is "...if the matter or thing was done or omitted to be done in good faith..." with "in good faith" being the key here. While Section 37 of the SSMA 2015 keeps the committee on their toes.
TIP - Strata Managers make the Strata Committee members' lives so much easier but, if DIY is something you're still keen on then you must read the Do-it-yourself (Self Management) information page to get a better perspective on self-management.
because the committee effectively controls the scheme's long term future by giving a clear indication on where they want the scheme to be positioned in the marketplace. How is this done?
TIP - always remember that a property in a rundown, poorly run scheme will never attract as good a price as an obviously well maintained and beautifully presented property in a similar area.
The Strata Managers, as knowledgable as they are, are NOT permitted to make decisions on HOW a scheme is to be run or on HOW MUCH MONEY is to be spent looking after the scheme - only the Strata Committee for the Owners Corporation can. Therefore, it's imperative that those who really care about the scheme are handed such important positions.
Are you one of those people? If you are, then you CAN make a difference.
In a scheme where there are only 2 lots (commonly referred to as a small scheme), the SC comprises the two owners. Therefore, any decision made by the SC is treated as a decision by the Owners Corporation provided the motion doesn't relate to a restricted matter which must be officially decided by the Owners Corporation at a general meeting.
2-lot schemes have a few other "special conditions" covering areas such as meeting quorums, insurances, auditing of financial statements and capital works fund requirements so, if you need to find out more go to the Small & Large Strata Schemes information page. It's all there.
In a scheme where there are MORE THAN 100 lots (excluding any parking or utility lots), there MUST be a minimum of 3 committee members (See SSMA 2015 - Section 30)
And, the secretary of the strata committee must give notice of all meetings to each owner and each strata committee member (including any tenant member) at least 3 days before the meeting. Notice must also be given on any noticeboard - if one is in use.
(See SSMA 2015 - Part 2: Section 4) - scroll down to Part 2 - Notice of Meetings and look for Section 4
While the minutes of all strata committee meetings must be given to any lot owners requesting them within 7 days of the request.
(See SSMA 2015 - Part 3: Section 17) - scroll down to Part 3 - Meeting Procedure and find Section 17
The 'official' definition of a large scheme is in Section 6 of the SMAA 2015
Large strata schemes have a few other "special conditions" covering areas such as meeting quorums, notices, insurances, auditing of financial statements and capital works fund requirements so, if you need to find out more go to the Large & Small Strata Schemes information page.
Here are a few extra resources to help you understand exactly what responsibilities the Strata Committee has along with some other relevant and important information that might prove useful.
NSW Fair Trading Information pages, booklets, publications
- Strata Living booklet: Refer to the Strata Committee section (starts on page 8)
- Strata Committee of the Owners Corporation
- Meetings of the Strata Committee
Specific 'Strata Committee' NSW SSMA 2015 links
- Part 3 - Strata Committee : Sections 29 to 48 - The lion's share is in here guys
- Section 13 - Functions that may only be delegated to member of SC
- Section 54 - Functions of officers and SC may be given to strata managing agent
- Section 103 - Legal services to be approved by general meeting
- Section 146 - Notice by owners corporation to owner or occupier
- Section 181 - OC may require persons to produce records & accounts
- Section 260 - Personal liability
- Section 272 - Persons who may keep seals of owners corporations
- Schedule 1 - Meeting procedures of owners corporation
- Schedule 2 - Meeting procedures of strata committees
Specific 'Strata Committee' NSW SSMR 2016 links
- Part 2: Regulation 4 - Functions that may only be delegated to SC
- Part 2: Regulation 5 - Agenda for first AGM
- Part 2: Regulation 7 - Tenant Representatives for SC
- Part 2: Regulation 8 - Vacation of office by Tenant Representatives
- Part 2: Regulation 9 - Election of Strata Committee
- Part 2: Regulation 10- Ballot for Strata Committee
- Part 2: Regulation 11- Nominations for Officers of Strata Committee
Strata Title Terms and Jargon
- Strata Terms and Jargon (to find out what everything means)
Buying a Strata Title Property
Community & Neighbourhoods
Home Warranty Insurance
Levies & Special Levies
Records & Accounts
Small & Large Schemes
Strata Finance Loans
Strata Trades Guide
Taxation & GST
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