2016 saw a major overhaul of strata legislation in NSW with over 90 changes. With more than a quarter of NSW’s population living or owning in a strata these changes will effect many of us. This is part 2 in our series summarising some of the major changes and focuses on meetings of the owners corporation.
Annual General Meetings – timing: There is now more flexibility for when to hold the annual general meeting (AGM). It can now be held up to 2 months after the end of the initial period (ie when more than 1/3 of the lots on an unit entitlement basis are sold by the original owner) and then once in each financial year.
First Annual General Meeting: The new laws now have a number of items that must be included on the agenda for the first AGM and requires a number of documents that the original owner must provide before that meeting, including records and approvals relating to the construction of the building, the certificate of title for the common property, an initial maintenance schedule and building reports.
Other General Meetings: Other General Meetings which some may also know as extraordinary general meeting (EGM) may be organised at any time by the secretary of the strata committee or by owners of lots totaling at least one quarter of the total unit entitlements in the strata.
First Annual General Meeting – notices: The new laws now requires that the notice of the AGM include a number of items, including statements of key financial information and a form of motion to decide how to deal with overdue contributions payable to the owners corporation. The law no longer requires the owners corporation that the full financial statements are provided with the notice, however, this does not prevent the owners corporation from providing with such notice if it so chooses. Nevertheless, the owners corporation must provide the financial statements on request to an owner, mortgage lender or other person who holds a charge over a property. The new law now also requires that the notice of agenda for each AGM include an item to consider building defects and modifications until the end of the warranty periods for the applicable statutory warranties under the Home Building Act 1989.
General Meetings – quorum: If the minimum number of people required for a general meeting are not present within half an hour after the relevant time, the chairman previously was required to adjourn the meeting for at least 7 days. However, under the new laws the chairman can now, as a alterative, declare the people present or a proxy are entitled to vote on the motion to constitute a minimum number for considering that motion and any subsequent motion or business at the meeting.
General Meetings – voting: Voting can take place in person, by proxy or by another means agreed by the owners corporation by resolution in a general meeting. This provision means that the owners corporation can conduct meetings without people being present to vote, including the use of technology such as teleconference or video call.
General Meetings – voting: The strata committee or ¼ or more of the people entitled to vote on a matter decide, voting on a matter must be by secret ballot.
General Meetings – proxy voting: The original owner of the strata cannot cast a proxy vote if the proxy was given to them by a lot owner in accordance to the terms of a contract for sale for the lot.
General Meetings – proxy voting: A person is not permitted to hold more than 1 proxy vote in a strata of less than 20 lots or, for a strata with more than 20 lots, not more than 5% of the total number of lots.
General Meetings – tenants: Tenants are not be entitled to receive notices of, and to attend general meetings, but not to speak at the meeting unless agreed by a vote of the owners corporation. However, tenants may be excluded from a meeting when financial matters are being considered.
General Meetings – tenants: If half or more of the lots in a strata are tenanted, the tenants may nominate a tenant representative to the strata committee. This representative can speak on issues affecting tenants at the strata committee, but cannot vote. However, a tenant representative may be excluded from a meeting when financial matters are being considered.
This article is for general information only and not legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained before taking any action or otherwise rely upon the content of this article in any way. This article was prepared on 17 January 2017 and has not been revised to account for any changes in the law since that time.