Who does what on a strata committee?

Who does what on a strata committee header image

Who does what on a strata committee?

Once a strata committee is elected at an AGM, the positions of the chairperson, secretary, treasurer and other office bearers must be determined.

In New South Wales and Victoria members of the newly elected committee can decide amongst themselves on the office bearers at their first meeting. In Queensland, the owners corporation votes on the roles of the officer bearers at the AGM. One person may fill more than one role on a committee, however, if they choose to do this, they must carry out the responsibilities of each role. An individual committee member cannot make decisions on behalf of the committee; however, the office bearers can perform specific tasks that fall within their roles.

In addition to administrative duties, the committee should set specific, measurable and attainable goals on how they plan to achieve the desired outcomes of the lot owners, and then work together towards making it happen.

Chairman role

The role of a chairperson on a committee

The main function of the chairperson is to preside over meetings and ensure they are conducted in accordance with relevant legislation.

The chairperson must chair all general meetings and committee meetings they attend and make determinations as to quorums and procedural matters at meetings. If the chairperson is not at a meeting, another person can be nominated to chair that meeting.

Recommended qualities for your strata committee’s chairperson:

  • Natural leader – this should come as no surprise as the chairperson will need to steer people during meetings when discussions go off-topic or settle things down when debates get a little heated
  • Engaging – although meetings are held to discuss important topics that can affect many of the residents in your strata property, you may find—sometimes—that people tend to doze off. Having an engaging chairperson helps keep people focused and actively participating during meetings. This is especially important when big decisions are being made that can affect lot owners and residents
  • Diplomatic – one of the most common reasons for complaints and grief in strata properties is lot owners or residents feeling like they are not being treated fairly. Having a diplomatic chairperson who ensures everyone is heard and makes decisions that ensures compromise and fairness can go a long way in enhancing community living.
Secretary role

The role of a secretary on a committee

The secretary is essentially the administrative officer for the owners corporation. It is their role to attend to the administrative requirements of an owners corporation. The secretary’s duties include sending out notices for meetings, maintaining the strata roll, answering communications of the owners corporation, receiving voting papers, enabling the inspection of documents as requested by owners or authorised bodies, convene meetings, and taking minutes during meetings.

Recommended qualities for your strata committee’s secretary:

  • Organised – having an organised secretary on your strata committee who can properly and efficiently file, label, and store information ensures that documents can be easily found and quickly referred to if required in future
  • Punctual – since the secretary’s responsibilities include taking minutes during meetings as well as attending to administrative/secretarial matters, being able to show up/deliver on time is a vital quality
  • Efficient – with all the requests coming through, it is important to have a secretary who can work efficiently; being able to prioritise matters based on urgency and importance. The level of efficiency your secretary has can greatly help the management of your strata committee and strata property.
Chairperson

The role of a treasurer on a committee

The treasurer’s role can be likened to that of a chief financial officer of a corporation. Their role includes notifying owners to levy contributions, keeping accounting records and preparing the financial statements, to receive, acknowledge, bank and account for any money paid to the owners corporation, and to prepare the information required for any strata certificate (in Victoria this is called an owners corporation certificate, in Queensland, it is called a Body Corporation Information Certificate and in New South Wales it is known as a s184 Certificate).

Recommended qualities for your strata committee’s treasurer:

  • Trustworthy – as the treasurer will be handling and managing funds and levy/fee notices, you will want someone who can be trusted in doing what’s right and most fair for residents of the strata property
  • Mathematical – someone who is able to handle a lot of numbers and calculations will be essential for the role of a strata committee treasurer
  • Organised – with all the budgets, funds, and levy/fee notices things can spiral out of control and get very messy quite easily. Having an organised treasurer who knows how to properly file these documents will save a lot of time, effort, and stress should you need to refer back to them in future.

Delegating to a strata manager

Many of the functions of the officer positions described above are delegated to an appointed strata manager. When this happens, the office bearers have a much easier time and can focus on the management of the strata property rather than having to worry about all the accounting, compliance, and legislative matters.

The appointment of a strata manager does not affect the legal responsibilities of an owners corporation as they are still responsible for the actions of a paid or volunteer strata manager, therefore it is important for the office bearer’s to liaise closely with the strata manager and follow up or instigate tasks that need to be fulfilled.

Did you know?
Immunity of committee members – acting in “good faith”
If you serve on a committee, the law gives you some protection from liability if you acted in good faith in exercising a power or carrying out a function under the relevant state’s strata legislation, regulations or rules, or in the reasonable belief that the act or omission was during exercising a power or carrying out a function under the relevant state legislation, regulations or rules. Any liability resulting from an act or omission would rest on the owners corporation.


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