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Miscreant Owner disrepecting Standing Orders
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kezza111
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16/08/2017 - 7:44 am
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We held our AGM/SC meeting recently.

The Standing Orders was accepted by the majority of the owners as the first item.

An owner present (represented by a proxy) was asked to leave the room to recompose herself for 5 mins on a number of occasdions before being admitted back into the meeting room due to breaking the standing orders.

She was asked many times if she wanted to exercise her right to vote as the owner, which would have voided the proxy. She decline.

At no time did we banned her from the meeting. Only asking her to recompose herself outside of the meeting room before coming back in to observe.

Now she is threatening to take us to NCAT for denying her rights as an owner to be present during the whole meeting.

Some of the owners are fed up with her and want her banned from future meetings if she continues to have a proxy present.

Can we do this?

Can she threaten us? 

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JimmyT
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16/08/2017 - 8:42 am
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She can threaten all she wants - let her.  If she can't attend a meeting without bringing a proxy with her, and then can't conduct herself reasonably when she does attend, I don't fancy her chances at NCAT.

She doesn't have much of a case anyway.  She was invited to leave to compose herself before she got into further trouble - but even in the unlikely event that she could have run a case for being denied her right to be at the meeting she had her proxy there to make sure she didn't miss anything.  If both she and her proxy left, that was their decision.

Owners have the right to attend meetings but they don't have the right to constantly disrupt them to pursue their own agenda.

Perhaps next time you could have the Standing Orders adopted as a by-law then send her a Notice To Comply so that any further disruption can lead to her being fined.

You could raise the issue for mediation at Fair Trading with a view to seeking orders at NCAT (under  Section 232)  that this owner agrees not to disrupt meetings and to only send a proxy to vote on her behalf when she is not there to do so herself.  She will probably ignore the mediation but that's an obligatory first step. The penalties for breaching NCAT orders are pretty severe.

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Sir Humphrey
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16/08/2017 - 9:34 am
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I agree with Jimmy. The owner's argument is undermined by the fact that she appointed a proxy. The purpose of a proxy is to attend and act in your place. She appointed a proxy. So, it is self-evident that she has not been denied any rights. 

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kezza111
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17/08/2017 - 5:27 pm
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Thank you JT and Sir Humphrey.

Having been also named in the minutes as a miscreant owner did not deter her at all.

I will put forward a proposal to have the Standing Orders adopted as a By-Law at our next EGM in a few months time.

If this By-Law does not get approved, then I will go down the other path of mediation and then NCAT under Sect 232 as per JT's recommendation.

It has given me and the other owners hope of getting this situation back under control and put the focus back where it should be, on the management of our building.

Once again thank you for your invaluable advice.

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kezza111
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17/10/2017 - 7:54 am
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This particular owner has now come back to me to ask if she is able to stand down her proxy and reinstate her proxy on a motion by motion basis at our next EGM so she has the opportunity to voice her own opinion and vote rather than be an observer (as per our Standing Order).

Can you please confirm if the owner wishes to vote at the owner of her Lot than the Proxy is null and void for the rest of the meeting?

Or can the owner reinstate the proxy throughout the course of the EGM when it suits her?

Many thanks.

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JimmyT
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17/10/2017 - 8:36 am
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Technically, the owner can specify in her proxy authority which motions she wishes the proxy to vote on.  However there is nothing in the Act that says who can talk to a motion and who can't.

But let's turn this around and ask what happens if you say "no" and insist that the proxy either speaks for the owner through the entirety of the meeting or remains silent.

Otherwise, that the proxy could be required to leave the room while the owner is speaking to her previously advised chosen issues as the proxy has no right to be there except as a proxy. 

Obviously, this owner will go ballistic at this and will potentially disrupt the meeting, but then what?  The only recourse she has is to claim that she was denied her rights to attend and to vote (which she wasn't). 

Even if she had been denied her vote, she would still have to prove to the Tribunal that it would have made a difference to the outcome.

Her only other recourse is to have the committee or individual members sacked for mismanagement of the scheme - clearly that is unlikely to fly either.

I would be tempted to say enough is enough, it's your committees opinion that her desire to speak and vote, alternating selectively with her proxy, is intended solely to disrupt the meeting and serves no other purpose.

Get your committee's backing that either she or her proxy can speak, but not both and not selectively.

Then hand her the official form requesting mediation at Fair Trading - it's free, so there's no cost involved - and invite her to go ahead and start proceedings  that might lead to action at NCAT. 

If she chooses that route, your committee will defend its position vigorously and seek that costs be awarded against her.

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kezza111
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18/10/2017 - 7:38 am
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Thank you JimmyT.

I have the support of everyone except this particular owner. 

80% of my time is dealing with this one owner. 

Enough is enough.

I think I may have to take her to mediation to deal with her behaviour once and for all.

Thanks again for your support.

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Cosmo
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18/10/2017 - 1:35 pm
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Kezza111, if you are going to mediation make sure you have as much documentation as possible.  

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