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"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."

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STRATA MEETINGS


Excellent information resources


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 general meetings (GM's) while the fact sheet titled Executive committee of the Owners Corporation will give you heaps of great information on all things Executive Committee - including the EC Meetings (ECM).  Click on the Meetings navigational link inside the fact sheet to take you to the section covering ECM's.

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 IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING.  I absolutely love this little booklet.

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 'legislative' 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.

My Disclaimer - While I have made every effort to be 100% accurate, the information below does not cover every little "twist and turn" associated with Strata Meetings and I may have missed an item or two.  There are just too many contingencies to cover them all on this page so I strongly suggest you read through the various resources I have provided (via external links) to get the full and complete picture.

Strata Title Terms and Jargon

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.

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Basics You Should Know

Clear Days Notice for Meetings

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.

Time for Postage

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.

E-Mail for Notices

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 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.

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Quorum

There must be quorum at a meeting before any motion can be voted on.
For General Meetings, a quorum is when:

  • a minimum of at least 2 persons eligible to vote attend
    AND
  • at least 1/4 of the people eligible to vote attend
    OR
  • a sufficient number of owners eligible to vote holding 1/4 or more of the total unit entitlement attend

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.

Quorum special conditions for 2-lot schemes

In a small scheme (having only 2-lots), a quorum occurs when BOTH lot owners are present.

Quorum special conditions for Executive Committee Meetings

For Executive Committee Meetings a quorum is when at least HALF of the EC attends.

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Voting Rights for General Meetings (GM's)

Those eligible to vote are:

  • the owner, first mortgagee or covenant chargee of a lot as recorded on the strata roll
  • those owners whose levy payments are NOT in arrears (except on motions requiring an unanimous resolution)
  • a person who has been appointed, in writing, by a company as its company nominee
  • a properly appointed proxy

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.

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Proxies for GM's

For a proxy to be valid it must be:

Proxy special conditions for large schemes

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.

Proxy validity

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 general meeting only.

The following conditions apply to a proxy:

  • it must state whether the proxy can vote on all matters, or only certain matters
  • it must state how the proxy should vote on a motion for the appointment or continuation in office of a Strata Manager
  • it has no effect if the person who gave the proxy attends the meeting and votes in person
  • the most recent proxy is valid
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?

Proxies and Caretakers, Strata Managers and Residential Property Managers

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.

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Motions for GM's

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:

  • clearly state the proposal to be considered at the GM
  • clearly state if a special or unanimous resolution is required

Resolutions for GM's

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:

  • SPECIAL resolution requiring a 75% majority vote based on unit entitlements (e.g. the changing of by-laws or the granting of exclusive use of common property)
  • UNANIMOUS resolution requiring 100% majority vote (e.g. the sale of common property)
  • POLL (which can apply to all resolution types)
IMPORTANT - Make sure you read the section below Other things you should know concerning ECM's.... to see how EC's handle these things. Then, to return to this spot, simply hit the BACK button on your browser.

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Poll for GM's

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.  POLLS are not used in ECM's.

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First Annual General Meetings (FAGM)


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.

Clear Days Notice

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).

The agenda for the FIRST Annual General Meeting

There is a statutory agenda contained in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 for motions to be decided upon. Topics will include:

  • existing and new insurances
  • levy contributions and distribution
  • sinking fund plan preparation
  • accounting records & financial statements
  • election of the Executive Committee
  • restricted or special matters for consideration
  • decision on altering or adding to the by-laws
  • appointment of a Strata Manager and delegation of tasks
  • appointment of a caretaker or building manager and delegation of tasks
  • appointment of an auditor

Required Documents

At the First Annual General Meeting, the original owner must give to the Owners Corporation:

  • all plans, diagrams and specifications relating to the parcel or building
  • all certificates (other than certificates of title for lots)
  • any other documents (including insurance documents) obtained or received by the owner and relating to the parcel or building
  • the certificate of title for the common property
  • the strata roll
  • any other notices or records relating to the Strata Scheme
  • all accounting records and the latest financial statements
  • additional documents as outlined in Regulation 10 of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010
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.

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Annual General Meetings (AGM)


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.

Clear Days Notice

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).

The agenda for an Annual General Meeting

  • minutes of last general meeting (if not already provided)
  • motion to confirm minutes of last general meeting
  • last financial statements plus any relevant auditor's report
  • motion to accept last financial statement
  • motion to consider appointing an auditor
  • information about each current insurance policy held
  • motion to consider taking out insurances for office holders and misappropriation of funds
  • motion to elect Executive Committee members
  • motion to decide on number of Executive Committee members
  • motion to decide if any matter is to be determined by the Owners Corporation
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.

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Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM)


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:

  • when a special matter (that cannot wait until the next AGM) needs to be considered - such as to authorise major works, raise a special levy, change by-laws, appoint a Strata Manager, etc
  • when a request for an EGM is received by the Executive Committee (EC) from one or more persons eligible to vote and having a unit entitlement value of at least 1/4 of the total unit entitlement for the scheme
  • when there is a majority vote of the Executive Committee for the holding of an EGM

How to convene an EGM

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.

Clear Days Notice

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 Extraordinary General Meeting

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.

How to include an item on the agenda of an EGM

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

Executive Committee Meetings (ECM)


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.

Clear Days Notice

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.

Other things you should know concerning ECM's...

  • A quorum at an ECM is when at least HALF of the Executive Committee members attend except in the case of 2-lot schemes where BOTH lot owners must attend
  • Each member has ONE vote but the chairperson does not have a casting vote
  • If a member is unable to attend a meeting they may appoint another owner or company nominee to vote for them at the ECM, whether or not they are a member of the Executive Committee already.  However, this must be approved by the Executive Committee
  • Any resolution approved by a majority of members is valid even though no meeting was held
  • All decisions on any motions are made by a simple majority vote
  • Any decision of the Executive Committee is considered a decision of the Owners Corporation except for restricted matters such as raising levies.  In the event of a dispute between the Owners Corporation and the Executive Committee, the decision by the Owners Corporation prevails
  • Owners may attend ECM's but they cannot speak at the meeting unless the Executive Committee agrees by a simple majority vote
  • Owners holding at least 1/3 of the total unit entitlement may object to a motion on the agenda.  Written notice of this objection must be received by the secretary before the motion is voted upon by the committee
  • Meetings may be adjourned if a motion is passed at the meeting for the adjournment
  • Notice of any adjournments must be placed on the scheme's noticeboard(s) or sent to all lot owners if a noticeboard does not exist
Now for Something Worthwhile - while there is no "official" form for appointing someone to vote in your absence at an ECM, I came across an "EC Proxy" form on the Synergystrata.com.au site.  Now I don't know how official it is but it looks pretty good.  It's definitely better than writing something on the back of a drink coaster or napkin - and you will end up with a written record of it.  You can download a copy of it HERE.  Thanks to synergystrata for this little gem.

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  and in my favourite Fair Trading Dept booklet Strata Living.  Just remember that the ECM info does not start until about page 22.


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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.



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