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  • #53153
    mark1980
    Flatchatter

    We had a general meeting today and I nominated myself for members of the strata committee. Currently I am having a dispute with the OC regarding a common property repair. I submitted a strata mediation through NSW fair trading. Because of this, the strata manager said I’m not eligible for the nomination. We have to resolve the dispute first. Is that correct? What if an existing member has a dispute with the OC? Does she/he have to get out of the committee first? Cheers

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)
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  • #53159
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Sounds like total BS to me. Have you withheld your levies payment becasue of the dispute?  Non-payment of levies is one of the few things that can disqualify owners from nominating anyone, including themselves, for the committee.

    Ask the strata manager to give you the reference to sections in the strata Act or Regulations that say you can’t nominate or be nominated while you are in dispute.

    #53163
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    I have paid my levies on time. Since we’ve had our general meeting today, there is no way to be admitted into committee then?

    #53165
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    So I asked the strata manager to give me the reference to sections in the strata Act or Regulations. Here is his reply:

    “As stated, there Is case against the Owners Corporation and specifically the strata committee, there is a conflict of interest – this was agreed by all parties. Until the case is over, you can request a EGM and join the committee if voted in favour.”

    Currently there are only 2 members in the committee.

    #53164
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Another thing is about the balcony sliding door. My impression is it’s part of the wall and a responsibility to the strata. But he said the OC just had a meeting and passed a by-law. Now it’s the responsibility of individual owners. Is this possible?

    #53179
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Another thing is about the balcony sliding door. My impression is it’s part of the wall and a responsibility to the strata. But he said the OC just had a meeting and passed a by-law. Now it’s the responsibility of individual owners. Is this possible?

    I think passing responsibility for common property to owners can be done via Section 107 of the Act or via a by-law passed with no more than 25 per cent of owners dissenting at a properly constituted meeting.

    However, if you had an issue with them over a repair that was notified or was apparent before the by-law was passed, I believe they would stiull be responsible for the repair (under common law, rather than strata law).

     

    #53180
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    So I asked the strata manager to give me the reference to sections in the strata Act or Regulations. Here is his reply: “As stated, there Is case against the Owners Corporation and specifically the strata committee, there is a conflict of interest – this was agreed by all parties. Until the case is over, you can request a EGM and join the committee if voted in favour.” Currently there are only 2 members in the committee.

    If there is a conflict of interest it cuts both ways.  It sounds like the strata manager is making it up as he goes. If you were illegally prevented from standing for election, than you can seek orders invalidating the election under Section 24 of the Act.

    I am guessing the correct procedures for the election were probably not followed in any case.  For instance, after the nominations, did they first have a vote to decide on how many members there should be in the committee? Have a look at section 9 of the Regulations, to see if they complied.

    If they decided on more than two, then the existing members can vote to co-opt you on  to the committee (to save having the whole election invalidated).

    Also, if there are more than 100 lots in the building the committee must have at least three members.

    #53182
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks very much for your comments, Jimmy!

    First, the dispute is about the loud garage shutter and motor next to my unit. I am frequently waken up by the noise during the middle of the night. The OC refused to replace the motor. So I had to submit a strata mediation.

    Second, there are only 11 units in the building. My unit has the most entitlement (12 out of 100), thus my levy contribution is the most. Basically, I don’t have any say in the strata.

    “For instance, after the nominations, did they first have a vote to decide on how many members there should be in the committee? Have a look at section 9 of the Regulations, to see if they complied.”
    I don’t remember they had such a vote.

     

    #53184
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I don’t remember they had such a vote.

    To be fair, it’s not unusual in a small scheme for  the letter of the law not to be followed.  It’s often just a case of sayign”ok, who wants to be on the committee?”  The problem here is that they have denied you the right to nominate yourself and there is absolutely nothing that I can find in strata law that allowes them to do that.

    I think a quick call to your strata manager offering him the option to fix the situation, otherwise you will immediately (and there is a time limit on these things) make an application to Fair Trading to have the whole election re-run art another general meeting and, by the way, he should wear any costs becasue it’s his error and no one else’s.

    Also, as a genreal rule, make sure all the blame gets sheeted back to the strata manager for having advised the committee badly.  He is dispensible – but you have to live with your neighbours.

    #53185
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks again. Jimmy!

    So what’s the time limit? The general meeting was 9am Friday 20//11 .

    Let’s say, they give me the right to nominate myself. What if the 2 members all veto? Apparently they don’t want me to join the committee because of the dispute. Is that possible for them to keep me out of the committee?

    #53188
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    So what’s the time limit? The general meeting was 9am Friday 20//11 . Let’s say, they give me the right to nominate myself. What if the 2 members all veto … is it possible for them to keep me out of the committee?

    The time limit on Section 25 (denied a vote) is 28 days. Section 24, (improperly conducted election) doesn’t have a time limit specified but I wouldn’t go beyond 28 days.

    There are two options here.  The first, being co-opted on to the committee, would allow a “veto” since the existing committee member are the only ones who vote on your admission to the committee, after it has been elected at a General Meeting.

    If you present this as a compromise, to avoid another NCAT confrontation which you will surely win, maybe they will see sense.

    If they refuse, even after you explain why the strata manager is wrong, then you have to challenge the election at Fair Trading and NCATso that it has to be conducted again and then you can nominate.

    Your problem then is to convince a majority of owners, not so much that you have been denied your legal rights, but that the strata scheme is facing unnecessary expenses because of poor decisions based on false premises.  You want to join the committee to put things on an even keel.

    The issue with the entry gate motor is one example.  That could and should have been dealt with without anyone having to go to Fair Trading.  The highly dubious decision to deny you the right to stand for election has just compounded the problem where bad and legally questionable decisions pile on top of each other.

    One argument might be that the owners corporation is being encouraged to avoid its responsibility to maintain and repair common property by a strata manager who cites aspects of strata law that don’t exist.

    It’s a truism of strata that trying to avoid paying legitimate expenses for repairs always ends up costing more when you have to go through the hassles of an NCAT challenge and then have to do the repairs anyway.

    The committee members are clearly getting dubious advice that they follow because they think it will save the scheme money.  You will need to convince the other owners that these are false economies and they could be doing better.

    Yoiur next challenge will be to convince the strata manager to provide you with the email addresses of all the non-resident owners.  Give the SM’s previous actions, I’d bet they will cite privacy issues for not doing so.  This, again, would be pure BS.

    Owners are entitled to see all records of the strata scheme and that includes email addresses where they have been provided.

    #53206
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Hi Jimmy. I really appreciate your time!

    #53292
    Pamster
    Flatchatter

    Hi, So read about your issues, believe me I know how frustrated you must be. I was also unlawfully and incorrectly denied the right to self nominate for the Strata committee at the AGM, and again it was the Strata Manager who said I was not allowed to self nominate.  The only ‘punishment’ for the SM’s error this was an “education session” from Dept of Fair trading.

    I also lived in a small block of only 6 units.  The outcome was long winded and led to the other two members of the committee – but mainly the secretary, disparaging me to the other owners, this meant that year after year it became impossible for me to get a spot on the committee, despite being the only resident occupier in the block.  Thank heavens proxy harvesting was banned so it is not as easy for one person to do this anymore.  I took my case to NCAT and the Adjudicator stated that I had been adversely affected by not being able to self nominate. Maybe you could cite this case in your dealings with the SM and the committee?

    https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWCATCD/2015/65.html?context=1;query=williamson;mask_path=au/cases/nsw/NSWCATCD

    See Paragraphs 30 and 39

     

    #53328
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thanks a lot for your comments, Pamster! I’ll definitely cite your case.

    #53329
    mark1980
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Out of 11 owners, 7 of them are investors. And they don’t attend these meetings. So the 2 OC members decide everything around here. I suspect other meetings were conducted in the right way. We had an Extraordinary General Meeting in June this year and they passed an absolution of maintenance by-law. That’s why they said I need to take care of the balcony sliding door issues. I attended the first half of the meeting. I wasn’t allowed to attend the second half where they discussed the absolution of maintenance by-law, because I wasn’t a committee member. Was this right? The owners are not allowed to attend committee meetings if they are not a member?

    #53334
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I attended the first half of the meeting. I wasn’t allowed to attend the second half where they discussed the absolution of maintenance by-law, because I wasn’t a committee member. Was this right? The owners are not allowed to attend committee meetings if they are not a member?

    This is definitely not right.  Owners are absolutely allowed to attend committee meetings but they can only speak if invited to.  I think it’s safe to say your committee members and/or strata manager don’t know what they are doing or do know what they are doing but have decided to flout strata law.

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