7 things you need to know before selecting your strata committee
As your strata committee will make decisions on behalf of the owners corporation, it’s important to ensure the right people are elected
A property’s owners corporation or body corporate has the opportunity to elect committee members once every 12 months, at the annual general meeting.
A well-functioning committee is achievable but, just like employing someone for a job, you need to ensure the right people are undertaking the right roles. This is why the task of selecting your strata committee.
Do you need help selecting the right people for your strata committee? To help you out, we’ve answered seven of the most commonly asked questions about strata committees and the process of selecting them:
- Who can be elected onto a strata committee?
- Who can and cannot be elected as an office-bearer?
- Can someone hold more than one committee position?
- Who makes decisions in the committee?
- Who chairs strata meetings?
- Can a strata committee member be removed?
- What happens when there is a vacancy on the committee?
1. Who can and cannot be elected onto a strata committee?
An owner can be elected onto a strata committee if they are a financial member of the owners corporation. This means they must not have any outstanding levies. The number of committee members depends on the number of lots in a strata property. These criteria differ from state to state.New South Wales
- Lots that have only one owner have that person as the strata committee member
- In a two-lot strata property, both owners can be in the committee
- In properties with more than two lots, there can be a maximum of nine committee members
- In large properties with more than 100 lots (not including the lots used for utilities), the strata committee can have a maximum of nine members.
- Bodies corporate under the Specified Two-lot Schemes Module have no committee
- Bodies corporate with seven or more lots can have a maximum of seven members
- If there are less than seven lots, the maximum is the same as the number of lots
- For bodies corporate under the Small Schemes Module, the committee consists of a maximum of two members — a secretary and treasurer.
- Owners corporation committees can have a minimum of and maximum of 12 members depending on the number of lots in a property
- Only property owners and their authorised proxies can be elected onto the committee
- The committee can also appoint sub-committees to help with administrative matters
- These sub-committees and proxies do not have voting rights within the committee.
Who can and cannot be elected as an office-bearer?
The chairperson, treasurer and secretary are considered strata committee office-bearers. Any owner or company nominee or someone nominated by an owner who is not standing can be elected as an office-bearer if they are a financial member of the owners corporation.
Tenants, building managers, strata managers, property managers, financiers connected to the strata property, and non-financial members of the owners corporation cannot be elected as an office-bearer.
Can someone hold more than one committee position?
One person may hold two or more positions on a strata committee. However, they must carry out corresponding responsibilities of each office.
4. Who makes decisions on the committee?
It is important to note that decisions are made by the entire strata committee, not by an individual committee member. No single person in the committee can decide on behalf of an owners corporation or body corporate.
Who chairs strata meetings?
The elected chairperson attends and chairs strata committee meetings. If the chairperson is away, the committee may appoint another member to chair that meeting in their absence.
Can a strata committee member be removed?
Yes, however the way this can occur varies a little from state to state.
In New South Wales
A strata committee member can be terminated by a special resolution (where 75 per cent vote in favour) at a general meeting. The Tribunal may also make an order removing a person from the strata committee if satisfied the person has failed to comply with the Act or failed to exercise due care and diligence, or engaged in serious misconduct while holding office.
A body corporate can remove a voting member from the committee, by way of an ordinary resolution, for a breach of the Code of Conduct of the committee. Before it can pass a resolution to remove a committee member for a breach of the Code of Conduct, the body corporate must:
- Pass an ordinary resolution deciding to give the committee member a breach notice
- Provide a breach notice (which needs to contain specific information as set out in the Regulations that apply to the specific body corporate property)
- Allow the committee member to make a written response to the notice
- Pay the committee members costs of sending out the response, if asked
- Attach the breach notice to the agenda of a general meeting considering a motion to remove the member from the committee.
The above process is time consuming and can cause friction between owners. As an alternative, a body corporate may remove a member from office by ordinary resolution at a general meeting. The person submitting the motion does not need to give the reason for the removal.
Lot owners can add or remove a committee member by ordinary resolution at an annual general meeting or a special general meeting, which requires support from at least 50 per cent of lots or lot entitlements. Members may also be removed by an ordinary resolution of the committee if they are absent from 25 per cent or more of committee meetings within six months, without giving prior notice or a reasonable explanation for their absence.
What happens when there is a vacancy on the committee?
Occasionally, there may be a vacancy in a strata committee either due to removal, resignation, death or change of property ownership.
In such cases, the committee can fill the vacancy by asking for nominations from the owners corporation at the next general meeting. The new committee member will hold their position for the remainder of the term. However, it is not mandatory for the committee to fill this vacancy if there are already three or more committee members — there can be a minimum of three committee members in large schemes at any point.
Having set up the very first strata scheme in Australia back in 1948, we’ve come a long way in our knowledge and experience across a variety of property types. Whether you are new to strata management or an active committee member, we have developed an extensive library of resources to assist you. Click here to download our FREE Community Living guide on committee management. For a consultation to review your current by-laws with the Kemp Peterson team, click here. To find out more about the services we offer, click here for a free strata assessment.