Informal SC Meetings | Strata Committees | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Informal SC Meetings
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Winston
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13/07/2017 - 8:25 pm
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The Strata Committee at my strata have over the last several months have met on an “informal basis”, (no Agenda & Minutes) and it is understood they decided to upgrade / improve the strata gardens, (which has been completed) – presumably by the Secretary advising the Strata Manager to arrange the work / pay the related account. (Cost not known)

One SC member sought out Quotes to replace (not repair) all the strata balconies and the SC (at an informal meeting) settled on one quote only to present to the Owners Corporation for their approval, along with a Special Levy to cover the cost.

It is understood the Strata Manager was present at that “informal” SC meeting and following it called an EGM and listed the Replacement Balcony & Special Levy motions.

The balcony motion was a “Special Resolution” (involved a change to the outside if the building) however the matter was not resolved at the EGM, and will be re-visited once additional information (an Engineers report) is to hand, to validate if the change is “necessary”.  Maintenance maybe all that is needed. One SC member is understood to be in favour of replacing the balconies to increase the value of the Lots.

There was a note in the last AGM (6 months ago) under “General Business” that balcony work was “necessary”, and of the people attending, all but 1 were SC members, and it would likely have been their assertion. 

Also at the EG Meeting the issue of “formal” and “informal” SC meetings was raised, with the Strata Manager stating that most routine things arising would be handled by “Informal SC Meetings / SC member contact”, and that is how the SC would operate, and if any matter required a “formal SC meeting”, a “formal meeting” would be called. 

While most lot owners agreed informal meetings with instructions being passed to the Strata Manager to implement (via their Delegated Authority) appropriate for minor issues, some considered quotes for new balconies & spending matters like garden improvement & balcony replacement are likely be of a nature that would fall into a category where a “formal SC meeting with minutes” was probably the correct procedure, but were not sufficiently informed to know for certain. 

It was recognised that at an “Informal Meeting” if “Important matters” were considered, there is no opportunity for Lot owners (30% or more who could object) to know about the matter or to object.

In this case knowledge of the quotes having been obtained & the proposed Motions for the EGM, was not known in advance by interested Lot owner’s prior until getting the EGM agenda.

So, are “informal meetings” as described above (garden improvements & balcony replacement) appropriate or should they have been “formal Meetings”?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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kaindub
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14/07/2017 - 6:56 am
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The SC is delegated, either by the SSMA or by a vote of the OC to act in certain matters.

This obviates the need to get agreement from the OC on every single matter ie it mskes management easier and quicker.

You need to determine in your situation ehich mstters the SC can act upon.

And whilst informal meetings are the way some decisions are made, I believe it is prudent to a formal meeting to document and record decisions, especially where expenfiture is involved.

If you are feeling left out, why not join the SC. My experience is that most strata are looking for committee members.

Robert

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scotlandx
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14/07/2017 - 11:11 am
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No - the Strata Committee cannot make decisions like that without a formal meeting.  That is - there needs to be a notice of a Committee that meets the requirements in the Act, with an agenda including any proposed resolutions and any information relating to those resolutions.  

A key element in the requirements relating to notice and having an agenda is that owners can object to a proposed resolution of the Committee, if one third of the owners give notice to the Secretary of their objection to a proposed resolution, that resolution has no force or effect.

More generally, a "decision" of the Committee outside of a properly convened meeting is not a "decision" of the Committee and in legal terms has no effect.  

Winston - the kind of decisions you describe need to be the subject of the correct processes.  The only time a Committee should act outside the usual meeting process is for very minor matters - for example our Committee can spend up to $500 without having a meeting.

kaindub - whatever powers may be delegated to the Committee is irrelevant if the Committee is not making decisions as required by the Act.  

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BONNIE L
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15/07/2017 - 1:56 pm
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Think it's right the said matters be discussed at a general meeting, or at least a documented one.   Under the old rules, think it was a proposed outlay of more than a certain sum that had to go to a formal meeting. Others may have an update on that guideline. 

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Puddn
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18/07/2017 - 10:56 am
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Informal meetings have there place. At our large scheme in NSW, we regularly hold such meetings but they are only a talkfest where certain issues are discussed at length (non-budgeted items, complaints between residents etc). A plan on how to deal with the issue at hand is worked out if possible.

NO formal decisions are made  - but are left for formal meetings, whether that be SC or EGM. I agree with Winston that 'decisions' made at informal meetings are likely not appropriate especially if related to expenditure on non-budgeted items or changes to common property.

In our case, a summary of the background issue and possible solutions  is tabled at the relevant meeting, sometimes with a recommendation from the committee. Then the meeting decides.

We are in the midst of a large-scale defect rectification and we get plenty of complaints about costs, but rarely do we get offers from other owners to assist the process. If we do, they often disappear when 500 page documents turn up for their reading and comments/recommendations. If they can stomach it we sometimes invite them to assist the committee.

Winston - It sounds like the SM is doing the right thing by calling EGM and Special Resolutions must be approved accordingly. Have you tried asking the committee if you can participate in their informal meetings?

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