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How to 'entice' more owners to join the EC
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Miranda
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04/07/2018 - 2:04 pm
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I’m the chairman of an executive committee of 3 including me and have been for  a year, since my arrival here.  (Strata of 12 flats).

My problem is that the other 2 are non-events.   One is a seat warmer and contributes next to nothing,  The other is what is possibly  called vexatious,  tries to block any measures  suggested involving long tedious and arrogant  emails.

That these 2 are in a relationship doesn’t help! With very hard work and the help of a very good Strata Manager (who have also been  the recipient of this rudeness)  I have managed to instigate  some much-needed improvements … most relating to safety measures  …. as little had been done for years before I came, including OH&S matters. .

I believe they elected me as chairman as they don’t want the job and hoped I’d go along with their ‘policy’ of doing as little as possible. 

I am considering writing to the other owners asking for them to join the committee and wondering how best to go about it.  I’m not holding my breath  as they don’t even attend the AGM.

I won’t of course put down the others on the committee (though I’d like to). Any ideas on how to make the idea of being on a committee…..   well, not exactly exciting,….. but at the very least inviting?   The flats are all investment properties with the exception  of we 3 committee members who live on the site.  

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JimmyT
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04/07/2018 - 4:49 pm
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I don’t know how you are going to get the other owners to join the committee when they won’t even come to the AGM.

One way might be to have some sort of social occasion but, to be honest, I don’t think “drinkies” will entice any more to come along.

Or you could manufacture a crisis … perhaps ask them to come to a meeting to discuss selling the block to a developer … or what are we going to do about Airbnb? … or drug dealers … or tenant representation.

Or you could have a meeting to explain how absent members can now participate by phone (your strata manager may help).

Actually, if the other apartments owners are investors, under the terms of section 33 of the Act (below) shouldn’t you have a tenant rep on your committee anyway?  That’ll throw a cat among the pigeons.

Combine a cheese and wine night with a crisis meeting and you might get a few more bodies on board

33 Tenant representatives
(1) This section applies to a strata scheme if there are tenants (being tenants notified in a tenancy notice given in accordance with this Act) for at least half of the number of lots in the scheme.
(2) The tenants of lots in a strata scheme (being tenants notified in a tenancy notice given in accordance with this Act) may nominate one tenant representative for the strata committee.
(3) The tenant representative on a strata committee, in that capacity:
(a) is not entitled to vote on decisions of the committee or to put a motion or nominate a person for office, and
(b) is not entitled to act as an officer of the owners corporation for committee purposes, and
(c) cannot be counted in determining whether there is a quorum of the committee.
(4) The strata committee, at any meeting or for the purpose of all meetings, may determine that a tenant representative is not entitled to be present when the following matters are being discussed or determined:
(a) financial statements and auditor’s reports,
(b) levying of contributions,
(c) recovery of unpaid contributions,
(d) a strata renewal proposal under Part 10 of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 or any related matter,
(e) any other financial matter specified by the regulations.
(5) The regulations may provide for the procedures for nomination of a tenant
representative, including the term for which a tenant representative is appointed, the notification of an appointment and the end of an appointment.

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scotlandx
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05/07/2018 - 11:36 am
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I feel your pain Miranda, but be careful what you wish for. In our scheme of 9, we have 7 Committee members, 4 of whom do precisely nothing.

We had a Committee meeting last night, after a series of emails from outraged members as to why certain things haven’t been progressed. As it turned out two of the members were unfinancial so couldn’t vote. Two of the other members didn’t turn up, including the Chair (no show at the last one either).

So we didn’t have a quorum. When the AGM is held they will all insist on being on the Committee again, and nothing will change.

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Miranda
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06/07/2018 - 4:05 pm
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Thanks very much for your replies Jimmy and scotlandx.

It all looks rather dismal, and I feel for you scotlandx, I just can’t understand why people with investment properties don’t want to have a say in what goes on with them.

 

Not to blow my trumpet I’ve worked hard for this place to bring it up to basic scratch since I’ve been here, and it is totally thankless. Just one other interested person would help. 

 

Anyway I think I’ll still send out a letter and point out that they don’t have to live here to be on the committee as most of it all is done by email.  But I sure won’t hold my breath.!, .

x

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scotlandx
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06/07/2018 - 5:16 pm
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If it makes you feel any better Miranda, all of the people on our Committee bar one are resident owners, and they are just as hopeless. At least you’re trying to do the right thing. 

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Miranda
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05/09/2018 - 8:37 pm
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Just thought I’d update this …..

I did send out a notice to all owners asking for more to join the committee, and I got

0

replies. 

I did point out that the building is beginning to look like a dump, which it is, and that a touch of paint here and there would make the world of difference and add to property value. 

Interest ……0.

c’est la vie. 

One can only try.   🙂

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Flame Tree
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06/09/2018 - 11:56 am
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It’s an interesting one, I’ve found that among the owners there will be others who have the experience and the interest if they are personally invited, and they think it’s (or some individuals are) not a basket case. If it’s the later you need to consider a plan of attack you can sell to the others to help right the ship. Be prepared to play the numbers game if that’s what it takes.

In Qld, current executive (chair, treas, sec) committee members can go around again just by not resigning so if you have trouble with any or all you need to put up someone for that position and the owners will vote between both candidates. If incumbents have been there for more than a few years and not doing stuff I think other owners will be open to give someone else a shot. Then that prior person is out of the gig, unless you don’t yet have a full dance card and they offer to join as a regular committee member from the floor of the AGM.

But be careful what you wish for as getting new folks can be a bit of a frying pan into the fire experience so pre-screen all candidates before you invite them for having the Skills required, Timely intent to get on with stuff, self Application to do the job they are volunteering for, and knowing Value. Avoid old folks who have poor eyesight and mobility and that buck change, and upper level professionals who think they can manage hands-off and just delegate the work away with a tick and a flick. Investors can sometimes be better than owners because their motivations are likely different. 

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Flame Tree
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06/09/2018 - 12:08 pm
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I’d also add, that if you do your own audit of things that you’d like done you will soon realise what’s involved to make the problem go away, many things  are once off jobs that dont necessarily cost much and then not an issue for years thereafter. And print out and read your State’s Act so you have the law on your side and can use that point to encourage change not based on differing levels of whats clean enough or in good enough repair but what is law. Then write up your list and give concise reasons what is amiss and add pics which really help get your point across. If you will be involved it will help sell it. Then put these up as a motion for a regular meeting and it becomes just a quick vote, or for an AGM which will then get actioned. If things still don’t get addressed you are half way there for the paper trail showing you have tried should you then commence enforcement action or whatnot.

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crispy
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07/09/2018 - 12:30 am
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Strata committees can be a nightmare with some members more intent on attaining “power” than actually achieving anything.  I wonder if the reason other owners don’t want to join the committee as they already know how things are working (not) and prefer to just keep out of it.

In my experience with strata committees and committees in general, you can always use the “lazy” strategy. Create work for the committee that requires members like the secretary to have to use their time to take care of strata work, or keep asking the treasurer to clarify things like expenditure, how contractors were selected, did they sight licenses etc etc.   A lot of these power mongers are basically lazy and full of insecurities, give them a bit of work to do make them embarrassed because they don’t know what to do and they’ll scurry away like cockroaches.

Of course you can always ask the non-participant owners join the committee and appoint you to act for them at each meeting (NSW), that way you will hold more votes than just your own.

Your best tool is knowing the legislation and bylaws. Read the SSMA and the bylaws so you can quote them at meetings, it will often shut up people who have used the ignorance of other members in order to gain control.

 These tactics have worked for me in the past so might be worth a shot.

I should point out that I don’t see that there is any “Power” in being on a strata committee, it’s just a lot of work, but it’s your best way to protect your property.

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Miranda
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09/10/2018 - 10:28 pm
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Flame tree wrote:

It’s an interesting one, I’ve found that among the owners there will be others who have the experience and the interest if they are personally invited, and they think it’s (or some individuals are) not a basket case.

Flame tree thanks for your input but re your first sentence…….. you will see above that they all were personally invited by myself as chair .

Avoid old folks who have poor eyesight and mobility and that buck change, and upper level professionals who think they can manage hands-off and just delegate the work away with a tick and a flick. Investors can sometimes be better than owners because their motivations are likely different. 

And your last couple of sentences,   about avoiding old folk or upper level professionals…..   don’t have that privilege as there is no one to choose from.  The owners don’t give a toss.    I’d gladly consider an ‘old folk’ or pro just to get some new blood.

Crispy wrote:

I should point out that I don’t see that there is any “Power” in being on a strata committee, it’s just a lot of work, but it’s your best way to protect your property.

Oh totally agree Crispy, no power or glory being on the committee.  I only stay there to keep my eye on things now. 

The AGM is in 2 weeks and I guarantee the only ones who will attend are we 3 committee members.  Last year there wasn’t even a proxy.  And the other 2 on the committee do zero.  We have a very pressing security issue at present that requires prompt action. and our SM is being deluged with complaints……but I can’t even elicit  a response from the other 2.    Anyway I do have a strong paper trail to show I tried, can’t think of much else.   

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JimmyT
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09/10/2018 - 11:42 pm
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Add a little item to the AGM agenda along the lines of

“We have to consider a matter so serious I dare not even put the details in print.  This could cost each of us thousands of dollars and is guaranteed to seriously diminish the value of our properties.  Your urgent attention is required.”

And then when everyone gets there you tell them that the committee is dying because everyone else is too selfish and lazy to contribute.

They let you carry the can and offer zero assistance. So, if you don’t get at least two new members, you are going to walk and the building can fall down around their ears – and that’s where they will lose tens of thousands of dollars.

Has to be worth a try.

Or, if they don’t buy that, when it comes to the election move that there only be one member of the committee (you) and then you can just make the decisions that need to be made.

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chesswood
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10/10/2018 - 7:22 am
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In post #3 above, scotlandx says two committee members were unfinancial and hence unable to vote at a committee meeting. I don’t understand that. I know that unfinancial lots can’t vote at general meetings except for matters requiring unanimity but committee meetings are different. Committee members have a personal duty to care for the property. This duty is nothing to do with being an owner and shouldn’t be extinguished by the fact of the lot that they often own is unfinancial.

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JimmyT
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10/10/2018 - 12:33 pm
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chesswood said
I know that unfinancial lots can’t vote at general meetings except for matters requiring unanimity but committee meetings are different. 

Not so. Schedule 2, Part 3, Section 9 (4) of the Act says this:

Voting rights cannot be exercised if contributions not paid

A member of the strata committee is not entitled to vote on any motion put or proposed to be put to the strata committee if the member was, or was nominated as a member by a member who was, an unfinancial owner of a lot in the strata scheme at the date notice of the meeting was given and the amounts owed by the unfinancial owner were not paid before the meeting. 

Seems pretty clear to me. Also significantly, that unfinancial member can’t be counted in terms of the quorum, either.

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Miranda
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10/10/2018 - 2:57 pm
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JimmyT said
Add a little item to the AGM agenda along the lines of

“We have to consider a matter so serious I dare not even put the details in print.  This could cost each of us thousands of dollars and is guaranteed to seriously diminish the value of our properties.  Your urgent attention is required.”

Or, if they don’t buy that, when it comes to the election move that there only be one member of the committee (you) and then you can just make the decisions that need to be made.  

Thanks for the giggle Jimmy,  I do like that.  But alas I think it would take more to get the owners to come to the AGM.  Dunno what, but …. more.

 

And fat chance of getting the other 2 committee members to give up their power and glory as committee members even though they do zero.  .   

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