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Who pays fee for convening a General Meeting/EGM?
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Bridget
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12/10/2018 - 12:47 pm
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Hi Flat Chatters. Would welcome any advice about fees for convening general meetings (ie EGMs, not AGMs). 

A lot of owners in our building are submitting requests to undertake minor renovations. Per our by-laws, these are approved via an ordinary resolution at a general meeting. Our Strata Committee has simply convened general meetings as needed in response to these requests, with any meeting fees covered by the OC. We’ve had about 3 general meetings in the last 6 months.

I’ve heard that other Strata Committees are advising owners to either:

1) wait for a general meeting to be scheduled in future (whenever that might be – could be several months), to have their renovation request approved (or not)

OR

2) pay the fee for convening a general meeting earlier (to have their renovation approved). AND, the meeting fee seems to vary widely – anything from a few hundred dollars to several thousands.

I haven’t been able to find anything in the Strata Act or any by-laws within individual Strata Plans to guide this. Any advice?

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scotlandx
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12/10/2018 - 2:09 pm
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The Act doesn’t prescribe who has to pay for a meeting in those circumstances.

If the general meeting is being held to specifically deal with someone’s request, i.e. a resolution to approve renovations, then it is reasonable for the person seeking the approval to pay for the meeting. I don’t see why the OC should foot the bill.

If a general meeting is to be held anyway, and a resolution to deal with an owner’s specific issue is included in the agenda then the OC should pay for it, because the meeting has to be held anyway.

Costs can vary widely depending on factors such as the strata manager and the size of the building – there is the preparation of the notice of meeting, printing, mailing, costs of attendance of the manager and minutes of the meeting. So you need to get a breakdown of those costs.

In the case of your Strata Committee I would be asking them:

– if they believe 3 general meetings in six months is an efficient way of handling things

– why the OC is bearing the costs when the meetings were to deal with specific requests of owners.

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Bridget
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13/10/2018 - 3:20 am
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Many thanks scotlandx. Fingers crossed our OC will implement by-laws to have selected, common ‘minor’ renovations (e.g., split system air conditioning installation) approved by the SC, rather than via a general meeting. 

One issue raised among our OC is around fairness – in that some owners would be charged a fee and others wouldn’t, depending on luck with timing, i.e., whether a general meeting coincided with their need to undertake renovations (recognising that renovations are often triggered by need to repair or replace something, sometimes for health reasons – e.g., need to remove carpet because of asthma diagnosis). Not all renovations can wait.

Many Strata Committees only hold one general meeting per year (the AGM); an owner might be unlucky with timing (just missing an AGM) and must wait 12 months for the next AGM before their renovations are approved (especially if fee to hold an extraordinary general meeting is prohibitive – in some cases it might be more than the actual renovation). Other owners could be lucky with timing and their renovations might align perfectly with a scheduled general meeting – no need for a separate EGM, no additional fee for seeking approval.

And then there is the issue of people purchasing a unit and who plan to make some minor changes/upgrades/repairs prior to moving in – this might be a deciding factor in them buying the property. They won’t know what the timeframe for approval is and/or the associated fees for convening an EGM if that is required, as none of that information is initially available at the time of purchase.

To me it seems that this should be incorporated into the bylaws somehow. Appreciate any thoughts on this.

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scotlandx
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15/10/2018 - 12:17 pm
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You can incorporate certain things into the by-laws, but bear in mind that nothing in the by-laws can override what is the Act, so if approval by the owners at a general meeting is what is required by the Act, then that is what should be done. 

In relation to timing of general meetings, while an owner may be unlucky and miss the cycle, it is the owner who wants something, if they want to expedite approval of proposed works then it is not unreasonable to ask them to bear the costs – as previously noted why should the other owners pay for it? It is extremely unlikely that the costs of an EGM are going to exceed costs of a renovation.

Where someone is purchasing a property and plans to do works prior to moving in, they can’t seek approval of those works until they are the registered owner. If the OC has clear rules and guidance regarding approval of works these would be available for any prospective purchasers and provide clarity – our by-laws include by-laws dealing with what is required where someone wants to do renovations, these can be obtained in a strata search.

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JimmyT
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16/10/2018 - 7:03 pm
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Bridget said
Fingers crossed our OC will implement by-laws to have selected, common ‘minor’ renovations (e.g., split system air conditioning installation) approved by the SC, rather than via a general meeting. 

You don’t need a by-law.  All you need is the standard resolution at your AGM that the committee can make decisions on behalf of the Owners Corporation (apart from those decisions that require special resolutions etc).

In that regard, according to Section 110 of the Act, the committee can approve minor renovations  which, in Section 28 of the Regulations (below), specifically include the installation of spit system air-conditioning. 

 

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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