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Owners corporation law

14 Dec 2014

For a large number of owners’ corporations at this time of the year and as the holiday season fast approaches, it also signals that it’s time for the end of-year annual general meeting (AGM).

The AGM is a compulsory meeting, and must be held every 15 months at maximum.

All the usual motions must be put and resolved at the AGM – the existing committee must present their reports, a budget must be set and new levies struck. A new committee must be elected, and the owners’ corporation must decide on its level of insurance and whether an audit should be done on their accounts.

However, contrary to what most think, the AGM is not the venue for airing grievances and raising complaints about the day-to-day management of the building or the structure of the affairs of the owners’ corporation.

Of course, the chairperson has the power to invite owners to table “general business from the floor” but, unless there is a specific motion on the agenda to discuss and decide on a specific issue, then it otherwise cannot be raised nor resolved.

The key point for owners who wish to raise a particular issue for discussion and debate is to seek to formally put that motion on the agenda for the AGM. This involves either requesting the secretary, chairperson or the committee to include the motion on the agenda, or by requisitioning the motion by petitioning other owners to sign a form to support the motion being included on the agenda.

If neither of these options are viable, the lot owner may have to raise the issue via the complaints process under the model rules or under the dispute resolution section of the Owners’ Corporation Act 2006.

Remember also that proxy votes for the AGM will only be valid if: (i) the correct and prescribed form is used; (ii) the form is submitted on time; (iii) that the owner or owners of the lot do not owe any levies or fees at the date of the meeting; and (iv) only if the form is signed by all owners shown on the roll of owners and the certificate of title.  

If the lot is owned by a company, trust or self-managed super fund, then extra documentation may need to be submitted with the proxy form to prove the execution of the proxy is valid and that appropriate delegations have been made by the company or trust.

Postscript:

Participation on the committee by resident owners in particular, is going to be of critical importance for the future of Docklands.

It is well-documented that the number of owner-residents in the community are falling, as local and overseas investors continue to acquire these apartments in large numbers. Only the resident owners in these buildings will have the knowledge and context to keep oversight of the smooth running of the building on a day-to-day basis and to ensure that the costs of running the owners’ corporation are kept in check.

Good luck with the meeting season, and may your upcoming holiday be restful and peaceful. Happy holidays.

Tom Bacon is the principal lawyer of Strata Title Lawyers.

Tom@stratatitlelawyers.com.au

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