Flat Chat Forum Strata Committees Current Page

  • This topic has 11 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by .
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  • #50625
    AvatarYolBee
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Hello flat chatters,

    My induction to strata living has been a long and hard road.

    There is finally the opportunity to elicit some change through an upcoming AGM – I have a motion ready so that owners can vote on changing strata managers (consensus was achieved through the EC of which I am part of with another individual)

    There are several other issues that I would like formally included on the agenda including repairs to a common property fence, and parking issues (unfortunately precipitated by a majority of owners), as well as an out of date strata roll (can we do an audit or something?).

    We also have ongoing debt issue, which is now quite large, and is headed for the courts (when the owner responds?). I want all owners to be aware of this, many don’t know there is a debt.

    Can anyone suggest where I can go to get help preparing the motions for the agenda. Our strata manager is out of the question and has been very good at keeping things hidden so as to seem everything is ok, and consequently avoiding the work assosiated with following things up.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    YolBee

     

     

     

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #50647
    Avatarkaindub
    Flatchatter

    Yolbee

    I think you are too harsh on the SM. It sounds like people in your complex are reluctant to be on the committee if The SM  has to Encourage people to stand.
    The alternative is that no one nominates and the SM automatically assumes all the roles.
    I think that not a place any strata wants to be.

    Take the initiative and become more engaged. That probably means establishing a working relationship with the SM. They generally help people who show an interest.

    Also, take a strata course. I can’t mention any names of organisations who provide these, but there are courses for strata committee members. It’s pretty cheap.

     

    #50644
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    On reading the information you have now supplied, I think your first step should be to share the roles of chair, secretary and treasurer between the two of you – you can do that at a properly constituted committee meeting with “election of officers” on the agenda.

    That is the first step to a proper dog and tail relationship being established.

    FYI: Anyone on the committee can hold two or three offices jointly, the committee can elect (or sack, for that matter) any officer at a properly convened meeting, and the committee can resume the roles delegated to the strata manager at any time they so choose.

    #50641
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I didn’t know NSW had a restriction on even general discussion without it being an explicit agenda item.

    To be honest, I don’t know if there is a specific law about that but I do know that most professional strata managers jump on it very quickly, if only for the sake of clarity.

    It is all too easy for an item that comes up under Any Other Business to be discussed and even voted on, or at least achieve a general consensus, and then make it’s way on to the minutes at which point someone will want to know why it wasn’t on the agenda

    #50634
    AvatarYolBee
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Oh and I said the SM ‘encourages appointment’ – which is exactly what was done, it was openly encouraged, literally pointed around the table and said ‘how about you’ – ‘everyone ok with that’ – ‘its no work at all’. I am well aware of how committee members are appointed, now I am anyways.

    Thanks again.

    #50639
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    … yes your comments are harsh – don’t criticise what you don’t understand.

    Only now are you telling us that you have been on the committee for a year, that there are only two of you on the committee, that you have no office-bearers …

    Are we supposed to be mind-readers? If you want an informed answer to your questions, you really need to provide relevant information.

    #50633
    AvatarYolBee
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks for your advice.

    ‘I did not know’, and ‘looked’ that was past tense, if you hadn’t noticed. Its been over a year ago that I was first appointed to the role, when yeah – I did not know much, ill admit that I’m not a know it all. However, it has become clear over that time that the SM is the one doing the blocking, no one else. We do not have anyone acting in the office bearer positions. We only have 2 of us on the EC, and yes your comments are harsh – don’t criticise what you don’t understand – your words right. But thanks for the advice re the motions – that’s what I came for.

    Cheers.

    #50635
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    The committee should be setting the agenda or at least making sure that all the items required by statute are there as well as any other agenda items they want and motions notified.

    On ‘Other Business’, I agree that no decisions (ie resolutions) could be made. In any state or territory, a general meeting can only make binding decisions by voting on motions listed on an agenda with the notice of the meeting which must be made a particular way and with minimum number of days of notice.

    I don’t think there is any requirement to have ‘Other Business’ as an agenda item anywhere but I didn’t know NSW had a restriction on even general discussion without it being an explicit agenda item. I always though it good to include so owners could have general discussion. The contents of that general discussion can be minuted to record what was said but it only serves to record ‘the mood of the meeting’ which could help to give the incoming committee some guidance. It can’t include any binding decisions. A committee would probably notice if the meeting was poorly attended except by the mates of someone with an axe to grind and give any comments appropriate weight.

    Where I am we have just by tradition in our particular owners corporation had an agenda item ‘Other Business’, under which there is discussion of 1) matters notified to the chair 7 days before the meeting and 2) any other matters if time permits.

    If someone tried to put a motion for a resolution, rather than simply raise some matter for general discussion by owners, it would be ruled ‘out of order’ by the chair because there was insufficient notice. The strata Acts in various jurisdictions require notice of motions so that you can’t get controversial decisions passed by stacking a meeting with supporters then springing a last minute motion while not giving dissenters enough notice to get to the meeting, appoint a proxy or cast an absentee vote.

    #50631
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    You have to bear in mind that I was appointed to the EC within 3 weeks of purchasing this unit – my first experience of strata.

    Hmmm. you seem to have formed some very strong opinions for someone who has admitted they don’t know what they’re doing

    The accounts records looked hieroglyphic, and still do, and possibly do so to other owners who may not have the backgournd to be able to interpret them.

    Again … what was it Dylan sang? “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand.”

    I did not even know what a ‘motion’ was.

    Your words …

    To note, I think that’s what this SM does, encourages appointment of people who have no idea, or who are to busy (i.e. about to have a baby) so as to avoid doing any work.

    Or maybe they are keen to get fresh energy on the committee.  By the way, the SM doesn’t appoint committee members.  They are elected at an AGM or co-opted by a vote of the committee when a vacancy arises mid-term.

    What I’m saying overall is that this SM is blocking me and my complaints, even though I am on the EC. As someone once said on this forum – “the tail is wagging the dog”.

    The strata manager is not required to correspond with individual committee members. That should be done via the secretary or chair, in the first instance. But I can see it can be frustrating if the lines of communication are blocked, even to people on the committee. The question is, who is doing the blocking.

    If the motion for a new SM is not passed, (possibly due to no quorum) …

    If there is no quorum at an AGM, the chair can just wait 30 minutes then declare those present to be a quorum.

    … I will be commencing mediation proceedings against them to take action on these matters. It is unfortunately that kind of situation. The committee has included funding for repairs, but the repairs are never followed up by the strata manager. At the last AGM they were discussed verbally. I would like to have it on the agenda formally.

    How many of you are there on the committee?  You made it seem like there were only two

    Can you suggest any wording for these motions? or suggest a site where I can find the wording so I can put this into a legible email.

    My comments may seem a little harsh – and that’t not my intention –  but what I’m reading is someone who admits they don’t know how things work and then sees a conspiracy behind them not working.

    Raising the money for works to be done is not enough.  The strata manager needs clear instructuctions to go ahead and get quotes for the work and then hire the tradespeople.

    I suspect that the blockage is in your committee (if there others there who aren’t poursuing these issues).

    as far as motions go, just put your propsal in precise, simple language.

    Motion: That the fence on the (whatever ) side of the block be repaired and the budget be adjusted to pay for it.

    Motion: That the strata manager be intructed to issue Notices to Comply to any residents parking in breach of By-Law (whatever its number is.)

    It’s really that simple, but you can attach explanatory notes to the agenda motion, laying out your case if you feel some owners may need to be persuaded.

    I also strongly recommend you contact our sponsors Strata Answers who provide a low-cost option for owners and committees requiring advice, information and support.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by .
    #50630
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I did not even know there was a “other business” item, and will definitely utilise this point.

    Strictly speaking, in NSW there is no “other business” item on agendas.  The only issues that can be discussed, voted on and minuted must be detailed on the agenda (so that everyone can see in advance what is going to be discussed). However, some committees have an informal chat after the meeting has been declared closed, partly to decide which issues need to be on the agenda for the next time.  To be fair, a lot of committees don’t follow correct procedure at all, but doing so leaves their decisions open to challenge at Fair Trading and NCAT.

    #50628
    AvatarYolBee
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Dear Sir Humphrey.

    In terms of the first three points – I appreciate all that. You have to bear in mind that I was appointed to the EC within 3 weeks of purchasing this unit – my first experience of strata. The accounts records looked hieroglyphic, and still do, and possibly do so to other owners who may not have the backgournd to be able to interpret them. I did not even know what a ‘motion’ was. To note, I think that’s what this SM does, encourages appointment of people who have no idea, or who are to busy (i.e. about to have a baby) so as to avoid doing any work. But now I know better (I think), unfortunately for them.

    What I’m saying overall is that this SM is blocking me and my complaints, even though I am on the EC. As someone once said on this forum – “the tail is wagging the dog”. If the motion for a new SM is not passed, (possibly due to no quorum) I will be commencing mediation proceedings against them to take action on these matters. It is unfortunately that kind of situation.

    The committee has included funding for repairs, but the repairs are never followed up by the strata manager. At the last AGM they were discussed verbally. I would like to have it on the agenda formally.

    I did not even know there was a “other business” item, and will definitely utilise this point.

    Can you suggest any wording for these motions? or suggest a site where I can find the wording so I can put this into a legible email. =)

    Kind Regards,

    YolBee

     

     

    #50627
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Accurate accounts must be presented to an AGM. If they are accurate, they will show the debt. If they are not presented clearly, then you could interpret for the benefit of others or ask the treasurer to explain.

    Since you are a member of the committee, you share the responsibility to ensure that proper meeting notice is given and accurate accounts are presented.

    As for specific works (eg. the fence repair), why can’t the committee include funding for these as part of the proposed budget for the coming year? The OC is obliged to maintain its common property so it should not really be up for debate about whether to do it.

    Parking issues are a different matter. One approach (since I don’t know the detail) would be to give notice to the chair that you wish to discuss parking under the “Other Business” item. The chair should give priority to notified matters over not-notified matters. If you don’t have a specific motion about parking on the agenda as notified to owners, then the meeting can’t make a formal resolution. However, the minutes could record that parking was discussed and there was ‘some specified general consensus about how parking should operate’ or that ‘opinion was about evenly divided between certain options’ or that ‘the incoming committee was asked to prepare a recommendation taking into account the various views heard at the meeting’ or whatever.

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