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Motions , resolutions and minutes
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selmuni
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15/02/2017 - 10:09 am
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I placed a motion on the agenda of our OC Meeting

My motion referred to a past resolution that was resolved by the then EC Members which resulted in stating untrue comments that were not included  in any of my past  communication with  the EC.

My motion put forward specifically requested that the SC rectify this erroneous and misleading motion and to resolve and issue a new one stating true facts

My motion was written in a manner with certain emphasis and highlights so as to put my point across in a strong objectionable manner.

However my motion was not printed on the agenda with these emphasis and highlights.

 As such my motion was “manipulated”

Is "manipulating" the format of a motion an acceptable form of behaviour by SC Member/s?

Does the Strata manager have any responsibility to ensure and advice SC Members that motions should be published as per submission?

How can I get my motion published in the manner it was submitted?

Can I go to NCAT and complain about all of the above?

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supersleuth
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03/05/2017 - 6:39 pm
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Hi

I have a similar question.  I have emailed our Strata Manager about items which I wish to have placed on our upcoming EGM.  They have informed me that they have passed the motions onto the Secretary as he is putting together the agenda. 

Due to the very bad history between myself and the Secretary, I am of the firm belief that these motions will not make it onto the agenda.  If the Strata Company is already aware of them and the final agenda goes out on their company letterhead/booklet, are they not obliged put them on the agenda?  Do I have some kind of recourse if the items don't appear?

Thanks

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Sir Humphrey
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03/05/2017 - 10:12 pm
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You would improve your chances if your motion has a seconder and you address the chair as well as secretary. A chair of a meeting is entitled to only accept a motion if someone is prepared to second it. The purpose of seconding is to show that at least one other person supports the motion or wants to see it put to a vote. [A seconder usually supports a motion but occasionally someone might just second to see the motion put so it can be lost resoundingly and a proposal they don't support can be finally put to rest.]

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supersleuth
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03/05/2017 - 10:50 pm
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OK... thank you.  Is this the case in NSW or only in the ACT?  I have a proxy from one of the other owners... would that do or does it have to be someone at the meeting?  Is the chair obliged to accept the motion if it is seconded or could they refuse?

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Sir Humphrey
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04/05/2017 - 4:11 pm
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My suggestions about putting the motion with a seconder applies anywhere as standard meeting procedure but I don't think it is set down in strata-specific legislation anywhere. Some OCs might have adopted a set of meeting procedure rules. Ours adopted a particular well-known textbook on meeting law and conventions to be the rules for our meetings. 

I would send the text of your motion signed by you as the proposer and signed by another owner explicitly as the seconder. ie. Type: "Seconded - Josephine Bloggs (lot no. XX)" and have them sign next to that. The seconder could be the person who appointed you as their proxy. If your motion requires some background or explanation about why it should be supported you could also provide the text of a background paper for inclusion in the meeting papers. 

The text I am consulting (Joske's Law and Procedure at Meetings in Australia 11th Ed.) says in its strata section: "In New South Wales, members have a statutory right to place a matter on the agenda for a meeting to be summoned." I am not sure what that means. Perhaps the Strata Act says your motion can't be refused if given to the committee in sufficient time to be put on the agenda?

Here is some more advice from Joske:

"Motions and amendments should not be vague or ambiguous;2 they should be couched in precise and definite language and should comply with any regulations as to form and notice; otherwise the chair should refuse to allow them to be put. In particular, a motion should be affirmative in form. Certain provisions are frequently found in rules and bylaws governing the form of motions that are acceptable... Where a motion has been seconded, it cannot be withdrawn without the seconder's permission.3 Subject to the rules of a body, a resolution may be put to a meeting by the chair even if it has not been otherwise proposed or seconded.4 The chair may, however, exercise discretion to refuse to put a motion that has not been seconded. The decision to second a motion does not imply that the seconder supports the motion. A member who believes that the meeting should consider the matter may second a motion in order that the meeting can reject it.5

Before the motion is stated for the meeting by the chair, another member may suggest a modification to the motion. If the member proposing the motion accepts the modification, it takes the modified form. In these circumstances, the member suggesting the modification is taken to have seconded the motion."
 

In general, a chair can refuse to put a motion if it is 'out of order'. A motion would be out of order if it asks the meeting to resolve something that is beyond the power of the owners corporation to decide - you cannot decide to permit something that is illegal or decide a matter that can only be decided by the local council or state government. The chair might also refuse to put a motion that is poorly worded so it would not be clear what had been resolved. However, some unfortunately ambiguous wording could be fixed at the meeting by first resolving to amend the motion. 

"It is the chair's duty to put motions and amendments to the vote and thus to ascertain the sense of the meeting. The chair is not entitled to rule a motion out of order if it is within the competence of the meeting and all the conditions incidental to submitting the matter to the meeting have been observed.13

For the purposeof ascertaining the meeting's sense, the chair has the power to rule on the forms of the motion and any amendments, on the conduct of the debate and on the manner of taking the vote. If the individual in the chair is a member of the assembly, the individual has the right to speak in the debate and to vote on any motion. However, the necessity of maintaining impartiality in order to ascertain the intention of the meeting suggests that the chair should refrain from speaking in the debate and from voting, except in a poll. If the person in the chair wishes to take part in the debate it is appropriate to surrender the chair temporarily."
"Even if a motion has been properly notified, moved and seconded, there may be circumstances in which it is desirable that the motion should not be put to the vote. This may be because the question is one that for some reason should not be considered by the meeting, for example if debate has indicated that further information is needed; if other business is more pressing; or if one or more members believe that the meeting is likely to reach an unacceptable conclusion. Members may deal with the first situation by moving an objection to consideration of the question.
Depending on the circumstances, the fact that the meeting's deliberations have not yet reached a point of decision can be dealt with by postponing the matter to a specified time, causing the matter to lie on the table, or referring it to a committee. The matter may also be postponed indefinitely. The meeting may resolve to proceed to the next business or that the previous question should not now be put."
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supersleuth
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07/05/2017 - 2:46 pm
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Hi

Thank you very much for the detailed response.  I wish our strata committee was as structured... its very disappointing that it isn't.

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supersleuth
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08/05/2017 - 4:42 pm
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Hi

As I suspected, the motion has been left off the agenda.  It was in relation to a kitchen cabinet removal and replacement that I wished to have done in my unit. My understanding now is that it will be delegated to the SC and consequently won't get approved.  The secretary has deliberately left it off the EGM agenda so it can't be determined by the OC.

Can I still have it heard at the EGM as mentioned previously?

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Lady Penelope
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08/05/2017 - 6:14 pm
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Replacing a kitchen cabinet would not be a matter that gets decided by the SC. Replacing a kitchen cabinet would be deemed to be a Minor Renovation. 

From the NSW Fair Trading site:

You need approval before doing any minor renovations. An owner must get the owners corporation to approve these renovations by general resolution (over 50% of votes in favour).

Minor renovations include:

  • renovating a kitchen
  • changing recessed light fittings
  • installing or replacing wood or other hard floors
  • changing internal walls
  • sustainability measures (such as a clothesline or reverse cycle air conditioner). However, these cannot involve changing the outside appearance of a lot or structural changes.

The approval process may need the owner to give details of the work. This may include:

  • any plans of the work
  • when the work will be carried out (times and dates)
  • qualifications and details of the tradespeople who will do the work.

Ask your SM why the Motion was left out of the EGM. Put the SM and the Secretary 'on the spot' at the EGM. Also get their response in writing in case you need to take this matter further.

If you do not get a satisfactory answer and you submitted your Motion within the required time frame prior to the EGM (i.e. prior to Notice of the EGM) and did all that was necessary then I would demand that the SC convene another EGM to deal with your Motion as soon as possible at the OC expense.

Motions that have been correctly submitted by Owners cannot be deliberately left off an Agenda. The Secretary has wasted the OC's money if he failed to include your properly submitted Motion and another EGM is required to be convened.

Motions must be on the General Meeting Agenda. A Motion not on an General Meeting Agenda cannot be voted upon. This is different from an ordinary Strata Committee meeting. 

See SSMA 2015 Schedule 1: 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/l...../sch1.html

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supersleuth
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14/05/2017 - 7:25 pm
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Hi

Thanks very much.  The EGM is tomorrow night (15/5).  I have emailed both the Strata Manager & Secretary last week, who have advised me that my item will be heard at the SC meeting following the EGM after a by law is passed.  This by law is to allow the OC to delegate the authority to the SC to approve minor renovations and this is their rationale for the motion not being on the agenda for the EGM.

To me this is does not make sense, as it would mean that the motion in relation to the by law would absolutely & definitely need to be passed in order for my matter to be heard at the following SC meeting.  To me, unless the Secretary & SM have the ability to see into the future and know how people will vote, then it should have gone onto the agenda for the EGM.  I absolutely know why it didn't, which is covered earlier on in this thread.

Can I legally demand that another meeting is held?

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Sir Humphrey
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15/05/2017 - 9:25 am
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Since the EGM is tomorrow, I would now just wait to see if the by-law passes. If it does and the committee meets soon after and approves your proposal, all is well. The delay is irritating but not the end of the world. 

If the SC does not approve your proposal, there are ways to deal with that if the decision was unreasonable.  Even if the new by-law passes and allows the committee to approve applications for minor alterations a decision of a general meeting over-rides any decision of the committee. Similarly, the Tribunal can over-ride unreasonable decisions. So, if the SC does not approve your minor alteration and if their objections were unreasonable, there are ways to deal with it. I suggest you write back here if that happens.

I agree it is more logical that your proposal should have been on the EGM agenda, possibly the last to be approved that way, then the by-law motion. That way, you could have had an approval even if the by-law did not pass. In principle, of course, it is possible that both motions would fail. Or, your approval might have failed but then the by-law passed. 

If your proposed alteration is genuinely minor, why do you think the SC is inclined to refuse permission? I cannot think of any reason a SC could have for refusing a kitchen renovation if there is no effect of the appearance from outside or on anything structural. Even if you had appalling taste in colours and finishes and proposed an impractical layout for the kitchen, that would be your problem, not theirs 😉

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supersleuth
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15/05/2017 - 10:35 am
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Hi

Myself  & another owner have some rather bad blood with the SC. There has been tribunal meetings in the past & even an AVO considered against the Secretary by the other owner. The other members pretty much follow his lead.

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Sir Humphrey
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15/05/2017 - 3:09 pm
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SS, Perhaps it would serve a greater purpose in the long run if the by-law were to pass and then your kitchen renovation were knocked back by the SC. Then you could take it to a GM and their refusal would be exposed as petty and unreasonable, since they would have no good reason to present and all could readily see that no other owner could suffer any detriment from a kitchen renovation entirely internal to your unit. Other owners might then be inclined to give the SC a kick in the pants out of fear that their reasonable proposals might also be refused. 

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supersleuth
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15/05/2017 - 4:09 pm
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Thanks but if the authority is given to the SC by the OC to allow minor renovations, doesn't it then pass out of the hands of the OC and consequently can't be heard at an AGM?

I'm not really up for going to a Tribunal for my kitchen 😐

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g
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15/05/2017 - 6:08 pm
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supersleuth said
Thanks but if the authority is given to the SC by the OC to allow minor renovations, doesn't it then pass out of the hands of the OC and consequently can't be heard at an AGM?

I'm not really up for going to a Tribunal for my kitchen 😐  

No, the OC always overrides the SC and can take back any powers delegated to the SC. The SC, on the other hand, cannot overrule a decision previously made by the OC.

I would have thought that you would be within your rights to demand an EGM at no cost to you since they should have raised your agenda item at the AGM (presuming it was submitted in time and correctly).

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Sir Humphrey
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15/05/2017 - 7:44 pm
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g said

No, the OC always overrides the SC and can take back any powers delegated to the SC...

This is correct. No matter what the topic, even if the OC has delegated one of its functions, it retains the power to exercise that function when it cares to. A general meeting resolution trumps a decision by the strata manager or the committee. 

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BONNIE L
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16/05/2017 - 6:04 pm
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;Hi thanks for this interesting discussion.  On the new rules, some things I think have been changed in terms of minor renovations under the new rules.  All I can find is a list from SCA through this column.  It's very detailed however is it up to date though I wonder?  Excuse if that answer is in this forum, as a search for it by me has come up with the above only. 

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Lady Penelope
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16/05/2017 - 6:20 pm
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The new Act and the new Regs  provide the new definitions of Minor Renovations:

STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 2015 

110 Minor renovations by owners

 

(1) The owner of a lot in a strata scheme may carry out work for the purposes of minor renovations to common property in connection with the owner’s lot with the approval of the owners corporation given by resolution at a general meeting. A special resolution authorising the work is not required.

(2) The approval may be subject to reasonable conditions imposed by the owners corporation and cannot be unreasonably withheld by the owners corporation.

(3)
"Minor renovations" include but are not limited to work for the purposes of the following:

(a) renovating a kitchen,

(b) changing recessed light fittings,

(c) installing or replacing wood or other hard floors,

(d) installing or replacing wiring or cabling or power or access points,

(e) work involving reconfiguring walls,

(f) any other work prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

(4) Before obtaining the approval of the owners corporation, an owner of a lot must give written notice of proposed minor renovations to the owners corporation, including the following:

(a) details of the work, including copies of any plans,

(b) duration and times of the work,

(c) details of the persons carrying out the work, including qualifications to carry out the work,

(d) arrangements to manage any resulting rubbish or debris.

(5) An owner of a lot must ensure that:

(a) any damage caused to any part of the common property by the carrying out of minor renovations by or on behalf of the owner is repaired, and

(b) the minor renovations and any repairs are carried out in a competent and proper manner.

(6) The by-laws of a strata scheme may provide for the following:

(a) additional work that is to be a minor renovation for the purposes of this section,

(b) permitting the owners corporation to delegate its functions under this section to the strata committee.

(7) This section does not apply to the following work:

(a) work that consists of cosmetic work for the purposes of section 109,

(b) work involving structural changes,

(c) work that changes the external appearance of a lot, including the installation of an external access ramp,

(d) work involving waterproofing,

(e) work for which consent or another approval is required under any other Act,

(f) work that is authorised by a by-law made under this Part or a common property rights by-law,

(g) any other work prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

(8) Section 108 does not apply to minor renovations carried out in accordance with this section.

Note : Section 132 enables rectification orders to be made against owners of lots for damage caused by work done by owners.

 

And from the Strata Scheme Management Regulations 2016
 
Section 28   Minor renovations by owners

Work for the following purposes is prescribed as minor renovations for the purposes of section 110 (3) of the Act:

(a)  removing carpet or other soft floor coverings to expose underlying wooden or other hard floors,

(b)  installing a rainwater tank,

(c)  installing a clothesline,

(d)  installing a reverse cycle split system air conditioner,

(e)  installing double or triple glazed windows,

(f)  installing a heat pump,

(g)  installing ceiling insulation.

Note.

 The work prescribed by this clause is subject to the requirements set out in section 110 (7) of the Act, including requirements that it does not involve structural changes, changes to the external appearance of a lot or waterproofing.

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