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Our OC is considering applying to local council to remove a healthy tree subject to the council’s tree preservation order due to the height and species. We are in the Sydney area (not regional). The cost we have been quoted is about $6,000.00. We have not made any application to council at this stage because we don’t want a rejection. We are trying to discover under what legal mechanism the council has discretion to diverge from the Land and Environment legislation under which they appear to be bound. There is no danger or disease.
Can anyone share their experience on this subject. Thank you.
[ED: Items 1 and 2 were originally two separate posts on basically the same topic, which is not how we do things here. I’ve brought them together.]
Also, assuming that the cost was not budgeted and will require a special levy on the 12 lots. What is the correct end to end procedure? (assume there is agreement and no controversy)
- Call a special meeting subject to notice period and agenda
- Meeting agrees to instruct SM to make an application to council to remove tree
- Council grants application to remove
- Raise funds with special levy
- Committee accepts quote from licensed / insured contractor and issues order to complete work.
How do these delegations work – how is the Owners Corporation’s authority delegated to someone who can apply to council (on behalf of OC) and then instruct the contractor (on behalf of OC). My preference is to know what we are doing and why and not relying on the SM at this stage.
Thank you for any guidance.
Under Section 108 (in part, below) the Owners Corproation may not alter common property without first passing a special resolution, which requires a general meeting and 75 per cent of those voting at the meeting, voting in favour.
Strata committees and strata managers are specifically forbidden by law from making decisions that require special resolutions.
So the procedure you outline above is correct. An Extraordinary general meeting would be held, a motion would be discussed and voted on and the strata manager would follow the instructions agreed upon at the meeting.
For instance, the motion could be in two parts
- This strata scheme agrees that the [identified] tree should be removed.
- This meeting instructs the strata manager to apply to the council for permission to remove the tree referred to in item one.
- Should permission be granted, the strata manager is instructed to obtain three quotes from qualified and licensed contractors to remove the tree.
Now, at this point the best policy may be to let matters take their course and then agree that there will be another general meeting for the owners to decide if they want to proceed, to choose the contractors and to decide how they are going to raise the funds.
However if you have sufficient funds in your sinking fund, you could authorise (at this first meeting) the strata committee to choose a contractor and go ahead as they have already been given permission to remove the tree.
But if you don’t have the funds, you’ll need another general meeting to agree on a special levy.
(1) Procedure for authorising changes to common property
An owners corporation or an owner of a lot in a strata scheme may add to the common property, alter the common property or erect a new structure on common property for the purpose of improving or enhancing the common property.
(2) Any such action may be taken by the owners corporation or owner only if a special resolution has first been passed by the owners corporation that specifically authorises the taking of the particular action proposed.
Permission to chop trees down vary with councils. Ours (Western Sydney) was always against cutting down any trees whereas the council next door allowed almost all applications to do so.
Only when our council was one of a number that was sacked by the State govt and replaced with an administrator were we able to get a successful application through. So I’d get your Strata manager to check first with the council to see what are the odds of getting your application approved before actually making it.
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