Rules for Strata Annual General Meetings (AGM) for NSW
May 16, 2022
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The owners corporation in every strata scheme must hold at least one meeting every year. This meeting is called an annual general meeting and it is very important for members to be present. During AGMs, owners will discuss finances, how your building is running, and decide on setting levies, insurance policies, and money needed for over the year ahead.
For the administration of the daily operations of the strata scheme, a strata committee will be elected at the AGM. The strata committee then decides on which member will hold the positions of chairman, secretary and treasurer.
Temporary changes to the law have been made to accommodate how strata committees operate during the pandemic. This includes provisions for online strata meetings, which have rapidly become the norm, allowing strata owners to continue making decisions regarding budgets, approvals for essential maintenance works and other such issues.
Through virtual strata meetings, strata owners can still participate in the decision-making process despite not being physically present. This is especially useful for strata owners overseas/Interstate or those incapable of attending the strata meeting in person. Strata owners are also given the option of attending virtually.
Calling for a strata meeting
A decision at a strata committee meeting is considered a decision of the owners corporation. A fundamental change in the new strata legislation Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 in the running of strata committee meetings is that the committee member must be financially able to vote.
If a third of the strata committee asks for a strata meeting, or if the circumstances require it, the strata secretary will call for a strata meeting and set a time and date for it.
The strata secretary has to notify strata owners and strata committee members at least 7 days before the meeting. The notice must include the detailed agenda, planned meeting date, time and place, an explanation of what the quorum is for the meeting, and statement of the following:
- voting can be done by an owner, their nominee or ‘proxy’
- an owner behind on levies cannot vote, unless a motion requires approval by everyone
- voting can be done by an owner, their nominee or ‘proxy’
- an owner’s vote doesn’t count if a ‘priority vote’ has already been cast on the same issue
- any pre-meeting votes are cancelled if the motion is changed at the meeting.
If you’re not being notified, contact the strata committee secretary or strata managing agent to confirm you’re on the strata roll.
Running a strata meeting
The chairperson is required to attend all strata meetings. If the chairperson is unable to attend, another committee member must be appointed as acting chairperson for the meeting. The secretary will be taking minutes to record all actions taken, motions submitted as well as other relevant items and resolutions discussed for the duration of the meeting.
Voting during a strata committee meeting
The chairperson may ask the committee members at the start of the meetings if they are entitled to vote. Owners automatically have the right to vote at strata meetings, as long as they don’t owe the scheme any unpaid levies.
In strata schemes, owners’ voting power is either based on one vote per owner (for an ordinary resolution) or is based on ‘unit entitlement’ (for a special resolution).
Every property in a scheme has a ‘unit entitlement’ value. This value represents the share of the strata scheme that you get when you buy the property.
For example, a small apartment might have a unit entitlement of 50. A larger apartment might have a unit entitlement of 75.
A person with higher unit entitlements has greater voting power, but pays higher levies.
You can find your unit entitlement by looking at your property on the strata plan.
*This information is based from NSW Fair Trading.
If owners can’t attend a meeting or don’t want to go, members can choose to use:
- Proxy vote
A proxy is a person who represents a voter at a general meeting. An owner can make almost anyone their proxy, including a tenant or a member of the strata committee.
- Pre-meeting vote
If a strata scheme has adopted pre-meeting voting, it can choose to just hold a pre-meeting vote on one or more matters. This lets owners vote on these matters before the meeting.
- Online and other electronic voting
During COVID-19, changes to strata law were introduced which allow owner corporations to meet and vote electronically. Owners corporations can accept any resolution made electronically, except for pre-meeting electronic voting on election of the strata committee.
- Priority votes
Owners can only have their vote taken away in special circumstances. This is called a ‘priority vote’.
- Poll voting
Owners in attendance can also call for a ‘poll’ vote. Calling for a poll changes a vote by general resolution so that it uses unit entitlement, instead of one vote per lot.
Objection to strata committee decisions
Unless the strata committee allows it, strata owners can’t speak at a strata committee meeting. Strata owners also aren’t allowed a vote; however, they can object to a strata meeting decision, provided that the strata owners hold more than a third of the unit entitlements.
The strata owners have to write their objection to the secretary before the strata committee makes a decision. If an objection prevents the strata committee from settling an item on the agenda, the item can be added to the agenda of the next annual general meeting of the owners corporation.
A motion can be rejected by the strata committee if proper notice is not given, or it would conflict with an existing law.
After the meeting
The strata owners and strata committee members must receive meeting minutes within 7 days of the meeting while in large schemes. The minutes can be sent individually, or it can be put on the noticeboard and made available there for at least 14 days. If the scheme is a large one, the minutes of the meeting need to be given only to owners who request a copy.
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