"Strata schemes legislation requires the Owners Corporation hold various meetings from time to time. Listed below is a general explanation of the types of meetings you may come across in strata and what they're all about. There's also some details on a few of the other things that go into a meeting along with some extra information links to help you. However, make sure you refer to the relevant legislation on these topics to get the complete details."
The NSW Office of Fair Trading has an excellent fact sheet on Meetings of the Owners Corporation and you should make sure you read it if you want the full story about meetings.
This department also has a well-written booklet called Strata Living which covers the A-Z of all things strata. Information about all the different sorts of meetings starts around page 17 (through to about page 23).
And even more information can be found by the reading Schedule 2 of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. This schedule gives you the A-Z on meetings and committees and proxies and anything else (regarding meetings) you may like or need to learn about. If you need the detail - it's in Schedule 2!!
If you're looking for complete details on Executive Committee meetings, including the special requirements for large & small Strata Schemes, then check out Schedule 3: Part 2 - Provisions relating to meetings of Executive Committee of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. It's about halfway down the page and starts at Point #6 - Notice of Executive Committee Meetings.
Finally, if you need to know the meaning of one or more of the common terms mentioned on this page then have a look at the Strata Terms and Jargon Information page.
One of the requirements for every meeting held is there must be a certain number of clear days notice given to those eligible to attend the meeting. The actual number of days and type of notice will depend on the type of meeting being convened. Specific details for the different meeting types can be found in the sections below.
Where the meeting notice is required to be MAILED, the clear days notice will also need to allow a reasonable amount of time for postage - which should include the date of posting PLUS 4 working days and exclude the date of the meeting.
The latest round of legislation has provided a model by-law that allows e-mail to be used for the service of documents on lot owners as long as the lot owner has provided their email address for this purpose. Obviously the 'Time for Postage' restriction does not apply here but the 'Clear Days Notice' still does.
IMPORTANT FACT - It should be noted that the new and amended model by-laws (in the legislative changes) do NOT automatically apply to existing strata schemes but will apply to strata schemes registered from 1 September 2010 onwards. Owners Corporations of existing strata schemes may adopt these by-laws by passing a special resolution at a general meeting.
There must be quorum at a meeting before any motion can be voted on.
A quorum is when:
If a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the scheduled time for commencement of the meeting, the meeting MUST be adjourned for at least 7 days with notice of the rescheduled time and place being served by the secretary on the OC members at least 1 day prior to the rescheduled meeting.
If there is again no quorum within 30 minutes of the start time for the adjourned meeting, it can go ahead with those in attendance who are eligible to vote.
For Executive Committee Meetings a quorum is when HALF of the EC attends.
In a small scheme (having only 2-lots), a quorum occurs when BOTH the lot owners are present.
Those eligible to vote are:
Depending on the type of resolution required, the votes of eligible members can be based on the unit entitlement of each lot. This essentially means that those lot owners with a higher unit entitlement can have more voting 'power' than those with a lower unit entitlement. Any resolution requiring a Poll and all Special resolutions use this method of voting.
For a proxy to be valid it must be:
In the case of large schemes (having more than 100 lots), a proxy must be in the hands of the secretary at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.
A proxy has effect for the period specified in the proxy. That period can be no more than 12 months or for two consecutive AGMs, whichever is the greater. If a proxy form doesn't state the length of the proxy, it will be valid for one meeting only.
The following conditions apply to a proxy:
IMPORTANT FACT - The latest round of legislative changes has resulted in the appointed proxy no longer being required to sign the proxy form. Well, that could create a few interesting situations now couldn't it?
A proxy cannot be used by caretakers, Strata Managers or on-site residential property managers to obtain a financial or material benefit for the proxy holder.
A motion at a general meeting is decided by the number of votes cast for or against the motion, with each owner having one vote for each lot they own. Most decisions can be made by a simple majority vote (i.e. ordinary resolution) but sometimes a special resolution or unanimous resolution is needed.
A motion must:
Generally, resolutions are decided by a simple majority vote. This is either by numbers or, in the event of a poll, by unit entitlement. Such resolutions are known as ORDINARY resolutions.
There are certain matters that can only be decided by a:
Even when only a simple majority vote is needed, a poll can be called for any resolution by any owner present (and eligible to vote).
When a poll is demanded, each vote can have a different value. Those values are based on the lot's unit entitlement for each voting lot owner. In this situation, an owner with the greater unit entitlement has more voting 'power' than an owner with a lower unit entitlement.
Each vote 'for' and each vote 'against' is then counted, using the calculated values, and the voting 'group' having the greatest value wins.
Special Note - When the original owner owns half or more of the total unit entitlements the original owner's vote can be reduced to 1/3 of the original owner's total unit entitlement to ensure fairness during voting.
The original owner is responsible for the convening and holding of the First Annual General Meeting (sometimes referred to as the FAGM) within 2 months of the expiration of the initial period (i.e. when 1/3 of the total unit entitlement have been sold and settled) irrespective of whether or not the original owner still owns any lots in the scheme.
You can read a little more on Strata scheme Initial Periods in the section called Miscellaneous Section - Initial Period on the NSW Dept of Lands Registrar General's Directions website.
NOTE - If the original owner still owns 50% or more of the total unit entitlement and a vote by special resolution or poll is requested, the value of the original owner's vote can be reduced to 1/3 of original owner's unit entitlement to ensure fairness during voting.
For the first annual general meeting a notice of meeting must be sent to each owner, first mortgagee and covenant chargee, as shown on the strata roll and there must be 14 clear days notice given plus time for postage (if the notice is being mailed).
There is a statutory agenda contained in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 for motions to be decided upon. Topics will include:
At the First Annual General Meeting, the original owner must give to the Owners Corporation:
NOTE - The original owner is liable for a penalty if he (or she) fails to hold the FAGM within the proper time frame as set down by the legislation. Effectively there's no excuse for not holding the meeting and an adjudicator can be appointed to ensure the meeting goes ahead.
The Annual General Meeting (sometimes referred to as the AGM) must be held each year on a date not earlier than one month before, nor later than one month after the anniversary date of the First Annual General Meeting.
For every annual general meeting (excluding the FAGM) a notice of meeting must be sent to each owner, first mortgagee and covenant chargee, as shown on the strata roll and there must be 7 clear days notice given plus time for postage (if the notice is being mailed).
TIP - It's always advisable for all owners to attend at least the AGM for their scheme to stay in touch with what's happening regarding their investment. Only with active owner participation can the scheme remain healthy and trouble-free.
All general meetings that are NOT Annual General Meetings are called Extraordinary General Meetings and are sometimes referred to as an EGM.
EGM's are held:
EGM's are convened by the secretary of the Owners Corporation (OC) or the Strata Manager (if one has been appointed) forwarding a notice of meeting to all owners, first mortgagees and covenant chargees, as shown on the strata roll.
For every EGM there must be 7 clear days notice given plus time for postage (if the notice is being mailed).
The agenda for the EGM usually consists of some specific matters raised by the EC or the OC that require discussion or decisions and can't wait till the next AGM.
If you are eligible to vote at an EGM, you may give written notice of the matter to the secretary of the EC, keeping in mind the number of clear days notice required for this type of meeting. Top
The NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 does not specify how often an Executive Committee must meet. An ECM may be requested by at least 1/3 of the Executive Committee members or by a previous resolution of the Executive Committee itself.
The secretary must put a notice about the meeting (including the agenda) on the scheme's noticeboard(s) at least 72 hours before the meeting is scheduled to be held with a copy going to each committee member.
The notice must state when and where the meeting is to be held and include an agenda detailed enough to inform owners as to what's proposed to be discussed and resolved by the committee.
Minutes of any ECM's held must be placed on the noticeboard(s) within 7 days of the meeting and remain there for at least 14 days.
NOTE: If there's no scheme noticeboard, then the notice, agenda and minutes must be SENT to all owners. Depending on the by-laws of the scheme, these documents can be either e-mailed or mailed or be sent using a combination of both methods. Make sure to check your by-laws to see what method can be used.
IMPORTANT - As I mentioned earlier, the new and amended model by-laws (in the legislative changes) do NOT automatically apply to existing strata schemes but will apply to strata schemes registered from 1 September 2010 onwards. One of the changes was to allow the e-mailing of documents to lot owners. Owners Corporations of existing strata schemes may adopt these by-laws by passing a special resolution at a general meeting.
All the above information and more can be found on the NSW Office of Fair Trading's Executive Committee of the Owners Corporation fact sheet
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