• This topic has 14 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by .
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  • #45560
    Avatarnemisis
    Flatchatter

    Can the Chair in an SC dictate what will/won’t be done in terms of replacement of ageing building components like Windows etc

    Example

    SC member wishes to have a front entry door replaced. Chairperson says “no”. This is not at an AGM/EGM, just conversation.

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by .
    #45604
    scotlandxscotlandx
    Strataguru

    No. The Chair does not have any specific or special powers, other than those relating to chairing/running a meeting.

    A lot of people think that being the Chair means they have more of a say, or can tell people what to do. That is not the case, and they should be pulled up on it.

    In the example you give that is a matter for the SC as a whole, and then possibly the owners.

     

    #45614
    AvatarColonel Schultz
    Flatchatter

    No the chair can’t decide this or dictate terms, no power or authority to do that IMO.

    #45639
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The chair has no executive powers, as ScotlandX and Col Schultz has said, but what power do they wield in the community.  If their word is effectively law, then quoting chapter and verse of strata law will make no difference.  E.g. when your motion goes to the AGM to replace the front door, will it even get on the agenda.

    Sure, strata law is on your side – but how much hassle and grief will you face in having that recognised.  Just make sure you have some reliable allies in the block before you make your move.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by .
    #45702
    Avatarnemisis
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    I’m not interested in outing the Chair. I’m just curious as to what powers they have. Thanks.

    #45713
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Outing our ousting? 🙂

    I wasn’t suggesting that necessarily but you will still need allies if you decide to challenge their decision not to consider your proposal for a new door.

    As ScotlandX outlined above, the only “powers” defined by the Act are to chair meetings and, in extreme circumstances, rule motions on the agenda to be invalid. In fact, the secretary has more clearly defined functions and powers.

    However, chairs can get above themselves and think they have executive authority to prioritise issues in the building (for instance).  This is one of the reasons the NSW government changed the name of the strata committee  from “executive” committee.

    Once autocratic chairs are embedded, and have convinced the other owners that the building couldn’t function without them, it becomes very hard to get members of a committee or owners at a general meeting to even speak up, let alone vote.

    In the worst cases, the chair will take a challenge to their decisions as a challenge to their position so whether or not you plan to oust them, that may be how it’s perceived.

    But that shouldn’t deter you.  Some quiet diplomatic chats with other owners may work wonders.

    By the way, is it your front door or the one to the building and why do you want it changed?

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by .
    #45731
    Avatarnemisis
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Nope, Outing 🙂

    Sounds better than Ousting!

    The front door was an example only.

    #46128
    Avatarcrispy
    Flatchatter

    If you look at the Strata Schemes Management Act and associated regulations, Strata Committee member really don’t have any “Power” they have responsibilities. So if you feel that a chairperson is not reasonbably considering your propoosal, consider if they are fulfilling their responsibilites and following the correct processes. In my experience most Strata Committees do not correctly follow correct processes and are poorly advised by inexperienced strata managers

    #46193
    AvatarFDH
    Flatchatter

    The chair should say no, followed immediately by ‘that is not in the jurisdiction of the committee’. A chair who said yes, definitely would be abusing their power, and putting the owner in a position of having made an unauthorised change to common property.

    #46221
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    FDH said: “The chair should say no, followed immediately by ‘that is not in the jurisdiction of the committee’. “

    I fear that may be a very narrow interpretation of strata law.  The Chair can’t say yes or no, but they should suggest putting it up for consideration at the next committee meeting, at which the committee can decide whether or not to recommend it to the owners corp at a general meeting.

    In fact, if the door is in a state of disrepair, the committee can just agree to fix or replace it.  But either way, the chair should be less dictatorial and more helpful.

    #46249
    Avatarcrispy
    Flatchatter

    If the door is really in a bad state you could go to NCAT and argue that the OC is failing to maintain common property.

     

    #46267
    AvatarFlame Tree
    Flatchatter

    Many people, including your own committee members, don’t often know their State legislation and laws, and their own complex’s (live)-by-laws that all owners must comply with. You should spend the time acquiring this knowledge over time as it really cuts to the chase and can save you a lot of time and stress worrying over things you can or can’t get done.

    Often you will find good people in power don’t know or understand their role and limits, or duds in power who do and use it for their own benefit, esp old hands who don’t have or want to spend their funds on things that ‘have always been that way’ or wont benefit them.

    So quoting a little legislation can work magic in your favor, such as ‘I was going over the Act and couldn’t see where it says that, can you show me please?’ to help flush out those who may be right (but you still verify it) from those who are being silly – and need to get real.

    #46968
    AvatarFDH
    Flatchatter

    Ah ha, so the door was truly an example. Otherwise, important question in there from JT – ‘Your front door or building front door?’ I assumed SC member’s door. Exactly the situation our OC just paid to rectify. Door given a wink and nudge by the chair, replacement a different colour in an otherwise contiguous hall – and not even fire rated. SC member since sold and we couldn’t ask the new owner to pay the thousands for a compliant door. So you see my sensitivity to a private deal about common property, particularly a door!

    My point was that a chair should immediately dispel any myth that the committee can make all decisions, and that the chair is the undisputed ruler of the SC. Chairs can even convince their own committees of this, good people included as Flame Tree says.

    The committee will end up a being a couple despots and a bunch of yes folk, created by selected favours doled out by a chair who has has no authority to do so.  Or worse, a fear of their deliberately implied power if wielded against the others.

    Yes, a little legislation quoting can be effective, but just as JT warned, a perceived threat to their position can cause all manner of wrath to reign down on a member rightfully pointing out strata law. In turn, it generates a self perpetuating myth which becomes truth – they do end up with power.

    That’s a dysfunctional situation that is too familiar to all of us who read these pages.

    #46991
    AvatarCosmo
    Flatchatter

    I am in agreement with the above replies.  A lot of owners assume the Chair carries a  lot more power than they do.  Many Chair’s exploit this.

    In this case the issue of replacement should go to the owners and they vote on it.

    Put the issue up for vote at the next AGM.  As far as I know as long as it is properly put and approved (seconded etc) the secretary has to list in the agenda and it should be voted on.  To this end the more support you have from fellow owners who agree with you the better your chances.  This support needs to be gauged and engaged before any submission or meeting.

    I am not sure that the Chair or the secretary can take it on their own authority to not list the issue for vote.  Although I am sure many do.

     

     

    #46998
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Not sure the motion needs a seconder, but it will obviously need support.  And, yes, sounding out other owners and informing them of the owners corp’s legal responsibilities is a good idea.

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