Lack of Agendas for SC Meetings | Strata Committees | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Lack of Agendas for SC Meetings
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Stratademocrats
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11/08/2017 - 5:32 pm
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Our SC has a very poor record when it comes to giving residents an agenda before SC meetings. We have complained to the Strata Manager and Chairman; we have attended mediation on SC improprieties and we have had a meeting about governance issues with the Chairman,Treasurer and Strata Manager.

There have been no agendas posted on the notice board or emailed, for the last two SC meetings.

Are the decisions of the meetings valid?

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Puddn
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12/08/2017 - 7:15 am
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NSW Requirements:

17 Minutes and other records

(1) Records to be kept A strata committee must cause to be kept a record of its decisions, any notices given under this Schedule and full and accurate minutes of its meetings.

(2) The minutes must include minutes of all resolutions passed in accordance with this Schedule.

(3) Distribution of minutes and records of motions Within 7 days after a meeting of a strata committee or the passing of a resolution by the strata committee, the strata committee must provide copies of the minutes of the meeting or of the resolution in the following manner:

(a) by giving each member of the strata committee a copy,

(b) by giving each owner a copy, if the strata scheme is not a large strata scheme,

(c) by giving an owner a copy, if the strata scheme is a large strata scheme and the owner requests a copy within the period of 7 days.

Could it be that the committee is holding informal meetings - to chat and not make decisions.......? Our scheme has regular such meetings, but NO decisions are made.

Firstly, so that you have a record, I would email the SM and ask for copies of the agenda and minutes of those recent meetings. Then, depending on that response make a complaint to Fair Trading. If no response within a reasonable time, make the complaint anyway.

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scotlandx
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12/08/2017 - 10:19 am
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As a starting point, any "decisions" made at those meetings are not invalid.  However, certain decisions can be challenged.  There are a few steps you need to consider.  Note you haven't said what the size of your scheme is, as the requirements are slightly different.

You have mentioned the Chair, Treasurer and Strata Manager but not the Secretary who is responsible for notices of meetings, have you told the Secretary that they are breaching the Act?

1. A notice of a Strata Committee meeting must be given to each Committee member and owner at least 3 days before the meeting.  The notice must include a detailed agenda, which would include any proposed decisions.

If the scheme is more than 100 lots, then the notice can be placed on the notice board.

2. If owners have an objection to a proposed decision on the agenda, one third of them by unit entitlement can give written notice of that objection to the secretary before the meeting, and any decision will have no force or effect.

3. Going to the actual decisions that might be made at a Committee meeting, the type of decision can vary.  So the Committee might make a decision about something relatively minor or routine, such as doing a regular pest inspection.  Or they may resolve to enter into a contract to do major works that cost a lot of money.

The latter type of decision is one that could be challenged, if the owners were concerned that proper processes were not followed.  In the case of a Committee decision to proceed with major works, the owners could seek an order to stop those works proceeding, or call an EGM to reverse the decision, refer below.

4. Another factor is the scope of matters that can be decided by the Committee. If you are concerned that the Committee is going to continue in this way, then the owners can restrict the types of decisions they make, including the type of decision and an amount.  So you would include a motion on the agenda at the AGM to that effect.  

5. Another option if the Committee made a decision that was of concern to the owners is to call an EGM to reverse the decision.

Note that if the Committee had entered into a contract pursuant to a decision, and the owners wanted to reverse that decision, this could create legal difficulties.  The other party to the contract is entitled to rely on the validity of the decision and the authority of the Committee to enter into the contract, in the absence of notice to the contrary.

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BONNIE L
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12/08/2017 - 12:11 pm
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As already said, it matters about the level of decision, and, in the previous NSW executive committee strata guidelines, how much the committee decides to spend on a said task. There was a limit of around $10,000 if I have that straight. Over that amount, discussion/decision had to go to all the owners. 

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scotlandx
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12/08/2017 - 1:05 pm
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These are the decisions a Committee can't make:

- improvements or enhancements to the common property - this requires a special resolution of the owners in a general meeting

- setting levy contributions

- spending more than 10% over the budgeted amount for an item, unless the owners have removed that restriction by resolution at a general meeting

- starting legal action or getting legal advice, other than where the expected costs are $1K x the number of lots, or $12,500, whichever is the lesser - this requires an ordinary resolution of owners in a GM

- for large schemes - not obtaining two quotes where the costs are more than $30K for one item/matter

- approval of by-laws

- termination of a strata manager.

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Stratademocrats
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12/08/2017 - 3:48 pm
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Thanks for all of the input on this issue. Our concern is with a lack of agendas, rather than minutes. After about 12 months of written complaints the SM seems to have accepted that minutes do need to be sent within 7 days of the SC meetings.

However, their approach to distributing the agenda before SC meetings is haphazard. As the agenda and meeting papers are emailed to the SC before the meeting, it would seem simple enough to email the same to the community. We have had that happen a few times and it was wonderful to feel "included".

We don't expect that we should have to go through each decision and see if we want to challenge it because it was a "big decision" and we hadn't had an agenda. Rather, we feel it is our right to know what is going to be discussed and voted on each month, before the event.

We have a SC with 9 members in a community of 32 units.

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Lady Penelope
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12/08/2017 - 4:50 pm
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Stratademocrat - Your problem might be arising from a lack of clarity with your preferred method of receiving notices. These details are contained within the strata roll. See [s178] of SSMA 2015 which I have included below.

Your address for services of notices on the strata roll can be either a postal address or an email address. Perhaps you should contact your SM and advise them that your address for service of notices is now your email address rather than your postal address and that all notices, including committee meeting notices, are to be emailed to you rather than posted to you. See [s263(3)] of the Act. 

Your postal address will still be noted on the roll however your primary contact will be via your email address. 

Although you seem to be largely concerned with committee meeting agendas it may be appropriate for your OC to change the way general meetings are held and voting papers are issued by passing a resolution motion about this issue at your next general meeting. The Act allows for:

  • voting by means of teleconference, video-conferencing, email or other electronic means while participating in a meeting from a remote location,
  • voting by means of email or other electronic means before the meeting at which the matter (not being an election) is to be determined by the corporation or committee (pre-meeting electronic voting).

178 Content of strata roll

 

(1) Information about lots The following information must be recorded in the strata roll in relation to a particular lot in the strata scheme:

(a) the name of the holder of the estate in fee simple in the lot (in the case of a freehold strata scheme) or the holder of the leasehold estate in the lot (in the case of a leasehold strata scheme),

(b) an address for service of notices,

(c) an Australian postal address, and an email address if the holder has one, if not provided as the address for service,

(d) the name of the holder’s agent (if any) appointed in accordance with this Act and the agent’s address for service of notices,

(e) information provided under a strata interest notice,

(f) information provided under a tenancy notice.

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Stratademocrats
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12/08/2017 - 6:08 pm
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Hi Lady Penelope,

I don't think there is a lack of clarity about how we want to get the agenda for SC meetings. We have emailed the SM and rung and had meetings with them..

The AGM agenda is well presented and circulated - no problems.

It is the monthly SC meetings. Over the last nine meetings we have noted that in 4 instances there was an agenda circulated and in 5 instances there was not.

We've had mediation and a meeting on governance.

We engaged a lawyer to represent us against the SC and in that instance your advice was enormously helpful. One of the issues raised during mediation was governance, including, specifically, failings in relation to notice of SC meeting agendas. We thought there had been an improvement after the mediation process but unfortunately the situation seems to be reverting to the bad old days.

So, our expectations should not be a surprise to the SC or SM.

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Puddn
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15/08/2017 - 9:39 am
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Hi Stratademocrat

Our scheme recently went through a similar process where we complained to NSW Fair Trading about a lack of  'due process' - that is, not receiving meeting notices.

In mediation, it was agreed that the notices would be emailed within the proper time frame. It was also agreed that the next agenda would include motions to that effect - that is the committee/SM agreed to ensure that all owners received notices in a timely manner.

As it turned out, the first meeting went swimmingly, but the second one reverted back. So, I politely reminded the committee/SM that I did not have to go back to Fair Trading again, but rather had the option to apply to NCAT for the SM to be replaced.

Of course, whether I would have won that is another matter but at least we are back on track again.

Now, I am the least favourite person in our community. Sigh!

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Stratademocrats
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15/08/2017 - 1:28 pm
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Hi Puddn,

We finally received the emailed agenda with the minutes.

Profuse apologies from the SM about clerical errors ....and "it won't happen again".

Maybe they had seen our Flat Chat post...?

As for being the least favourite person in the community..... well clearly, someone has to have that role.  🙂

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Lady Penelope
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15/08/2017 - 4:03 pm
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Strademocrat - If your SM has a history of 'clerical errors' then that may be a good reason for searching for and selecting another SM at your next General Meeting. In addition, if your Committee is also complicit then perhaps they should be replaced too.

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