Executive Committee & maintenance Common Property | Executive Committees | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered
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Our EC of a small SP wishes to get some simple maintenance done viz replace age old stairwell carpets and paint stairwells/walls/ceiling in the common property area outside units.
There are 3 members of the EC and 2/3 will vote for the maintenance .
Assuming this 2/3 approval to go ahead is this all that is required assuming a couple of competitive quotes are considered?
Can the EC choose colours /style/material etc ?
Thx for any thoughts
It's a straight-forward majority vote. If you've got the money, pend it (but wisely). I don't know if a small scheme is even legally obliged to get more than one quote - but it does make a lot of sense to do so. However, just to protect yourself, have a proper meeting with an agenda outlining the work proposed etc, a couple of quotes if you can get them and formally agree to go ahead, minuting the result. That way there can be no comeback from the penny-pinching third neighbour.
You can do the work on 2/3 vote assuming you have expenditure approval to that amount.
To keep peace in the building though it would be wise to keep other owners advised of your plans and to include them in the decision making, without unduly delaying the project.
Once you select the carpet for example, try to get a sample and put it on display. Tell them that if anyone objects, then THEY have to go out (with say 7 days) and find an suitable alternative. (That generally avoids any objections.)
According to the Act the EC should have no role whatsoever in choosing the type/colour of new carpet (except a replacement of very similar type/colour).
I'm not trying to be a smartypants, here, but could you tell me where in the Act it says that?
I would have thought that's exactly what the EC should be doing - but I learn something new every day.
I was always told that to change the colours of common property would require the input of owners voting on the change. The old 75% for not more than 25% against rule.
It would concern me if EC's could just pick colours for common property. I question their decision making as is, without having to put colour choices in the mix.
When I was on the committee I had wanted to get permission to repaint with different colours, mainly using less colours, not necessarily changing to a different scheme. So when I was told it would need 75% approval, and knowing how indifferent the owners are here about getting involved or having any input except complaints, I decided to drop it. Had I known I could just change it I would have gone ahead. Would have not only improved the look of the complex but probably been less for repainting in the future with less colours needed each time.
As a starting point, the Act doesn't say that the EC can't choose colours etc. Going from there you have to look at the specific scheme, how large it is and the delegations and limits you have in place. The EC stands in the shoes of the OC, other than in relation to specific decisions set out in the Act.
Therefore unless you determine at an AGM that the EC can only decide certain matters or certain things have to be determined by all the owners, the EC has the power to make the decisions. The EC can also delegate specific decisions to one or more people. For example in our block we recently had to replace a major piece of common property. Two of us made all the decisions associated with that, which included types of materials used, paint colours etc. The EC signed off on the plans, the design/scope of the project, and the general colour scheme, but from there it was up to us. We have one owner who has complained about numerous aspects of what we have done, but everybody else loves it.
Democracy is a wonderful thing but in practice if you want to consult everyone you will never make any decisions and/or the end result will be a mess - as they say a camel is a horse designed by committee. That is not to suggest that people shouldn't have a say, but if we had gone down that route we would still be arguing about what screws to use.
As a starting point, the Act doesn't say that the EC can't choose colours etc. ...
What the act says is;
(1) For the purpose of improving or enhancing the common property, an owners corporation or an owner of a lot may take any of the following action, but only if a special resolution has first been passed at a general meeting of the owners corporation that specifically authorises the taking of the particular action proposed: (a) add to the common property,(b) alter the common property,
"Alter" clearly includes changes to colours; having an EGM because the precise shade is no longer available may seem inconvenient but it is a small price for the rule of law and due process. Generally these things could be anticipated at the previous AGM and colour changes agreed to in advance. Arriving home one day to find the tatty royal blue carpet in the common areas has been replaced by a fluoroesent green one with fluoro pink highlights is the sort of thing that can happen otherwise.
Apparently removing a "weed" requires a special resolution covering the situation i.e. presumably stating that only the following plants are to be grown in a particular section. The EC at my block decided that "maintenance" of the garden included ripping out a twenty year old hibiscus in robust health among numerous other gross deviations from both the Act and common sense/decency which leaves one respectful of the detailed protections based on centuries of experience embodied in the Act.
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