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Owners corporation law

13 Sep 2015

Tips to get more people at OC meetings

The majority of large residential buildings (100 lots or more) historically struggle to obtain a quorum at both the annual general meetings (AGMs) and special general meetings throughout the year.

A quorum is achieved if more than 50 per cent of the total votes (or lot entitlement) is present at the meeting either personally or by proxy. If a quorum is not achieved then the meeting cannot officially make decisions on the matters listed on the agenda.

In most instances, the chairperson will decide to proceed with the meeting despite the lack of quorum, and seek to pass the motions listed on the agenda on an interim basis. This means the decisions cannot be acted on for at least 29 days after the meeting, and only if the owners’ corporation (OC) is not petitioned by 25 per cent of owners to overturn the “interim” decisions.

However, 29 days is a long time to wait before acting on any decisions of the OC, particularly if urgent repairs are needed, or if levy notices are due to be mailed out, or if legal appeals are required to be brought within a certain timeframe.

In order to boost the numbers present for meetings, here are my tips and tricks for getting more bums on seats:

  • Announce the meeting date, time and location in as many forums as possible (mail circulars, emails, text messages) and hang posters and flyers in all lobbies and elevators;
  • Strongly encourage owners to give proxies to committee members or friends if the owners cannot attend;
  • Give thought to scheduling the meeting for a time in which most people are likely to attend (a building in Docklands recently held its AGM at midday on a Wednesday. It was no wonder that hardly anyone showed up);
  • Publish an end time for the meeting and stick to it. Many owners cite their reason for non-attendance as being that “they don’t want to be stuck at the meeting for hours on end”;
  • Leave general business items for after the meeting ends, meaning that those owners that have to leave can leave, without fear or embarrassment;
  • Plan and publicise a social event before or after the meeting and include food and drinks;
  • Give away door prizes or a raffle (vendors of the OC may be willing to donate door prizes);
  • Arrange for guest speakers such as local MPs, lawyers and architects to address the building on local issues; and
  • Acknowledge and thank all of the volunteer work that committee members have contributed throughout the year, and give written certificates or a written thank you from the chairperson.

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