for everything you need to know about strata...

strataman gesturing
"Every Strata Scheme in New South Wales, regardless of its size, has to have an 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."

WARNING WARNING
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.

Share/Save/Bookmark this site

The STRATA COMMITTEE in a STRATA SCHEME



What is the Strata Committee?

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.

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

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.

Top



Why have an Strata Committee?

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.

Strata Committee Meetings

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.

Make sure you go to NSW Fair Trading's Meetings of the Strata Committee fact sheet AND my Meetings information page to read more about Strata Commitee meetings and all the other types of meetings.

Top



Functions of the Strata Committee 'officers'

Under the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 the chairperson, secretary and treasurer have certain functions, some of which are listed below:

  • Chairperson
    • presides at all meetings (takes the helm)
    • conducts meetings (keeps things moving along)
    • decides on issues relating to voting and procedure
    • does not have a deciding vote

    • What sort of person would make a good chairperson?
      • a born leader and/or good organiser
      • experienced in management
      • skilled in dealing with people
      • diplomatic in nature
      • able to keep things moving without appearing dismissive or abrupt
      • has a relatively thick skin (to handle the odd bit of abuse that will come)
      • has a certain amount of self-confidence

  • Secretary
    • convenes the Strata Committee meetings and General meetings (except for FAGM)
    • prepares, takes and distributes minutes of all meetings
    • gives notices for the owners corporation and the strata committee
    • provides information to the treasurer for the S184 Strata Information Certificate
    • attends to correspondence on behalf of the Owners Corporation
    • maintains administrative and secretarial records of the Owners Corporation
    • maintains the strata roll

    • What sort of person would make a good Secretary?
      • good organiser and very methodical
      • experienced in time management

  • Treasurer
    • issues levy notices
    • receives and banks monies on behalf of the Owners Corporation
    • prepares Section 184 strata information certificates
    • prepares financial statements and other financial records
    • maintains accounting records
    • provides information to help determine what the levies will be
    • helps to determine the scheme's future expenditure for the capital works fund

    • What sort of person would make a good Treasurer?
      • good organiser and very methodical
      • good at maths and numeracy
      • accounting knowledge would be advantageous but isn't essential
      • computing skills, although not essential, would be handy
      • trustworthy

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 get a hold of this fact sheet.

Top



Delegation

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 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 agendas and minutes to handling disputes, from looking after all the accounts and records to keeping up with the legislation and compliance requirements - and 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)....

Top



So you still want to be on the committee.....?

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.

For some schemes (and in the 'worst case' situation), being an SC member means 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 they have the systems, people and experience to handle these complex issues AND they will make your life heaps easier.

Thankfully, current legislation has removed a lot of the 'litigation concerns' for committee members so everyone can breathe a 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 because, if someone REALLY crosses the line and does something really bad then they will STILL be held personally liable.  Just saying...

BIG TIP - Strata Managers make the Strata Committee members' lives so much easier but, if DIY is something you're still keen on then you might like to read the Do-it-yourself (Self Management) information page to get a better perspective on self-management.

So why be involved anyway.....?

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?

  • By proactively working on the scheme and not cutting corners with the maintenance, compliance and appearance of the scheme thereby helping to preserve and even enhance the value of each owners' investment - in other words, the property's value in the market.
  • By making sure the scheme doesn't fall into a state of disrepair so that potential buyers of a property in the scheme will see that the Owners Corporation is doing a good job and that they actually care.
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.

Top



Special conditions for 2-lot schemes

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.

Some small 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.


Special conditions for large strata schemes

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)ta least 3 days before the meeting.  Notice must also be given on any noticeboard if one is in use.
(See SSMA 2015 - Schedule 2: Part 2 Section 4) - scroll down to Part 2 - Notice of Meetings

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.

Top



Extra information resources

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.

Information pages, booklets, publications

Specific 'Strata Committee' legislation links

Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 links

Strata Title Terms and Jargon


This page's copy is protected against website content infringement by Copyscape

DISCLAIMER:  All information on this website is of a general nature and is intended as a guide only.  Readers should check all information obtained from this website for accuracy from other sources and seek professional legal advice before taking any action based on any information obtained from this website.  Information on this website should not be substituted for proper legal advice.  The owners of this website will not be held responsible for any action taken as a consequence of same.

EXTERNAL SOURCES:  The owners of this website do not make any warranty or representations regarding the information, products, services provided by or qualifications of any external sources listed on this website.  Readers should make their own appropriate enquiries regarding accuracy, qualifications, licences, etc.  The owners of this website will not be responsible or liable in any way for any representations made by any external sources listed on this website.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This website deals with strata matters in NSW, Australia only.  Legislation varies in different states and territories and in other countries.  For information pertaining to places outside of NSW, Australia please refer to the appropriate legislation for your region.



For feedback, suggestions or more information on this site

Top

Share/Save/Bookmark this site