What is a Strata Committee?
The strata committee of the owners corporation is a group which represents owners or owners’ nominees. It administers the day-to-day running of the strata scheme in your unit, apartment or townhouse community and is elected at each annual general meeting (AGM). The strata committee consists of the number of persons determined by the owners corporation (not being more than 9). Large schemes must have a minimum of 3 members. A strata committee for a strata scheme comprising 2 lots is to consist of the owner of each lot who is a sole owner or the company nominee of a lot if the sole owner is a corporation.
Once the strata committee is elected, the members of the committee decide who is to hold the office-bearer positions. The owners corporation (OC) has the authority to dismiss some or all of its strata committee. An owners corporation may also employ a strata managing agent and/or caretaker to carry out some or all of the responsibilities of the strata committee.
The following people are eligible for election to the strata committee:
- an individual who is an owner
- a company nominee of a corporation that is an owner
- a co-owner of a lot if nominated by another owner other than the co-owner, or the co-owner if they are not a candidate. Only one co-owner of a lot can be a member at the same time.
- an individual who is not an owner but who is nominated for election by an owner who is not a member nor a candidate.
Who is ineligible for election to the strata committee:
- a building manager
- a property manager or leasing agent
- A person connected to the original owner who does not disclose the connection. Un-financial owner at the time of the notice who has not paid amounts owing prior to the meeting. If become ineligible after appointment and does not disclose in writing to the secretary or chairperson.
- If become ineligible after appointment and does not disclose in writing to the secretary or chairperson.
Who can nominate:
- Sole owners can self-nominate.
- A person who is an owner of more than one lot can nominate one person per lot. An owner does not need to be financial to nominate another person.
- An owner does not need to be financial to nominate another person. However, an un-financial nominator at the time of a committee meeting will remove the members’ ability to vote.
- A co-owner can nominate other co-owners of their lot providing they are not a candidate for election.
Strata Committee Meetings
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 financial to vote.
Convening a meeting
Options to convene a strata committee meeting:
- the standard last motion on our committee notice is to set a date and time for the next meeting
- the secretary may convene a meeting
- 1/3 of committee members can request a meeting, and the meeting is to be held not later than 14 days after the request (28 days if it is a large scheme)
A motion on the notice of the strata committee meeting must not be considered unless there is a quorum present to consider and vote on the motion. A quorum is present at a meeting when:
(a) in the case of a strata committee which has only one member, if the member is present;
(b) in any other case, if not less than one-half of the persons entitled to vote on the motion are present.
A person who has voted, or intends to vote by a permitted means other than a vote in person is taken to be present for the purposes of determining whether there is a quorum. A member with the consent of the strata committee may appoint an owner or eligible company nominee, to act in his or her role at any meeting of the strata committee. A person can be appointed even if they are already a member of the committee. If your scheme has tenancy notices for more than half the lots in the scheme, then there should be a tenant representative. This person cannot be counted in determining the quorum.
Eligibility to vote
A committee member cannot vote if the contributions for their lot have not been paid, or if they were nominated for the strata committee by an owner who has not paid the contributions for their lot. The key is whether or not the owner of the lot was an un-financial at the date notice of the meeting and did not pay before the meeting. Tenant representatives cannot vote.
Disclosures of pecuniary interest
If you have any pecuniary interest in a motion, then the nature of the interest must be disclosed at a meeting AND the particulars are to be kept in a book for this purpose. A member with a pecuniary interest on a particular matter cannot vote on a motion relating to that matter.
Motions are decided by majority and declared by the chairperson at the meeting. A motion is valid if proper notice is given and each committee member received the motion. If before the meeting, notice is given to the secretary by owners whose unit of entitlement is greater than one third, that the specified owners are opposed to the decision.
The roles of the office bearers
The chairperson presides at general meetings and strata committee meetings and determines quorums and procedural matters at those meetings. The chairperson does not have a casting vote. Procedural matters include:
- The declaration of the result of voting by the chairperson is required and conclusive
- Ruling a motion out of order
The following functions of the secretary are delegated to the strata managing agent
- Maintain the strata roll
- Convene meetings of the committee and the owners corporation
- Provide notices of meetings and other matters
- Provide minutes of meetings
- Enable inspections of books and records
- Answer communications addressed to the owners corporation
If the secretary believes on reasonable grounds that an offence has or is being committed under the Act then there are investigative powers they can exercise, and they can be accompanied by another committee member, a building manager, or the strata manager.
The new laws also enable the secretary to conduct investigations and research, to attempt to resolve complaints and disputes, and to provide of owner corporation information to relevant parties.
The following are considered general functions of the treasurer which are delegated to the strata managing agent
- Sending levy notices
- Receipting, banking and recording moneys paid to the owners corporation
- Provide the strata information certificate (relating to the sale of a lot)
- Keeping accounting records and preparing financial statements
Strata Plus recommends a motion be put to the owners corporation to delegate authority to the treasurer to place investments of the trust funds.
It is vital to disclose a connection to the original owner for election to the strata committee. The disclosure must be made at the AGM before the election and is to be recorded in the minutes of the AGM. A connected person to the original owner is:
(a) a relative of the principal or holder of an executive position (director, manager or secretary of the corporation)
(b) a person employed or engaged or a business partner of the original owner
(c) the employer of the original owner
(d) any connection or association.
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