FAQs

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What do by - laws mean for a strata scheme?

Each strata scheme has its own by-laws, which are a set of rules that owners, tenants and, in some case, visitors must follow.  By-laws cover behaviour of residents and the use of common property. They can cover issues such as whether pets are allowed on the scheme, how smoking is regulated, parking and noise levels.

The by-laws can vary significantly from scheme to scheme and it is important to understand which by-laws apply to your scheme.

Owners corporations can determine the by-laws that suit the preferred lifestyle of the strata scheme. A by-law must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive. No by-law is capable of restricting a dealing in a lot, including restricting short-term letting. By-laws cannot restrict children, and cannot restrict the keeping of an assistance animal.

A copy of your scheme’s by-laws is kept on the strata roll and is available from either the secretary of the owners corporation or from your managing agent (if your scheme has one).

All strata schemes must review their by-laws by 30 November 2017. Schemes may wish to use the Model by-laws (see below) as a guide when reviewing their own by-laws.

Model by-laws

The Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 includes a set of model by-laws which provide ‘sample rules’ to guide the owners corporation in setting their own by-laws. Owners corporations can choose to adopt these or make changes to better suit their circumstances to manage issues in strata like overcrowding, pets, parking, and smoke drift. Schemes are not required to adopt or adapt any of the model by-laws, they are available to assist schemes in reviewing and making by-laws to suit their scheme. Model by-laws cannot be the by-laws for your scheme unless they are first formally adopted by the owners corporation and registered with the Office of the Registrar-General.

The model by-laws include options for:

  • permitting pets
  • dealing with nuisance or hazardous smoking
  • helping owners corporations address noise and short-term letting
  • measures to prevent overcrowding.

View or download a copy of the model by-laws in the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 from the NSW Legislation website.

Pets

The model by-laws provide owners corporations with options to control whether pets are allowed, and on what terms. Owners can adopt a model by-law as their own or make their own by-law.

For example, the owners corporation may choose to have a by-law which:

  • bans pets on the property altogether (other than assistance animals)
  • allows owners to keep a pet and simply provide 14 days notice from when the pet has started living on the lot owner’s property, or
  • allows a pet with the written permission of the owners corporation. This particular model by-law states that the owners corporation cannot unreasonably refuse the request. If they do refuse, they must give the owner written reasons outlining why the pet is not being permitted.

In all cases if pets are allowed, the lot owner must still supervise their pet, clean any common property that is soiled, and ensure their pet is not noisy or negatively impacting on other residents.

Even if a strata scheme allows pets, a tenant always needs their landlord’s permission first.

Assistance Animals

The law prohibits any by-law that prevents someone using a trained and certified assistance animal, even if the by-laws prohibit other pets on the scheme. A by-law seeking to prevent assistance animals cannot be enforced by the owners corporation.

For more information, read the Guide dogs and other assistance animals page on the Fair Trading website.

Nuisance smoking

The model by-laws provide the owners corporation with options to deal with nuisance smoking drifting to neighbours’ lots and common areas. Owners corporations can pass a by-law to ban smoking on the common property and require an owner or occupier to ensure that second-hand smoke does not enter other lots or the common property.

Alternatively, the owners corporation can pass a by-law to designate smoking areas within the common property.

Common property rights by-law

A common property rights by-law (previously exclusive use by-laws) may be created in instances where a lot owner may request personal use of common property for renovations or the sole use and enjoyment of the whole or any specified part of common property.

An owners corporation can only make a common property rights by-law if it has the written consent of each owner on whom the by-law provides the right or special privilege and has been passed by a special resolution of the owners corporation.

The common property by-law must state whether:

  • the owners corporation is to continue to be responsible for the proper maintenance of the property or,
  • impose on the owner or owners of the lots the responsibility for that maintenance and upkeep.

Any common property rights by-law must be disclosed to purchasers by vendors and a copy of the exclusive use by-law must be attached to the contract of sale.

What by-laws are in place at your scheme?

Strata owners can inspect the owners corporation’s records to confirm what by-laws are in place.

Potential owners can get a copy of the by-laws by obtaining a section 184 Certificate, which is required to finalise financial matters concerning the sale of a strata property.

Landlords must give their tenants a copy of the current by-laws within 14 days of the tenancy agreement being signed.

Complying with by-laws

All owners and occupiers in a strata scheme, including tenants, are legally obliged to comply with the by-laws of the scheme.

Dealing with by-law breaches

If an owner or resident breaches a by-law, the strata committee can first contact the resident to advise of the breach, and ask that they stop the conduct that is causing the breach.

If it continues, the owners corporation can serve a ‘Notice to Comply with a By-Law’ on the person who is breaching it. This notice advises the resident of the breach and asks for the conduct to cease immediately. The notice can be a letter or email and must include the details of the by-law that has allegedly been breached. A copy of a Notice to Comply with a By-Law is available on the Fair Trading website.

The notice can’t be given without a majority vote at a meeting of the owners. However, the owners corporation can delegate their responsibility for issuing notices to comply to the strata committee or the strata managing agent. A notice must be issued before any further action can be taken to enforce the by-laws.

Penalties and fines

The owners corporation may apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) if a notice to comply has been issued and the conduct continues. If the Tribunal is satisfied that there has been a breach of a by-law and the notice was given validly they can issue a penalty of up to $1,100 .

If the Tribunal has already fined the owner or occupier within the last 12 months for a breach of the same by-law, the penalty imposed by the Tribunal can double to a maximum of $2,200. In this case, the owners corporation does not have to issue another notice to comply before applying to the Tribunal to impose the fine.

Changing by-laws

The owners corporation can change existing by-laws or create new ones for the better enjoyment or management of the strata scheme.

The owners corporation must decide by special resolution at a general meeting to make or change a by-law.

This means no more than 25 per cent of votes are cast against the motion at a general meeting of the owners corporation.

Notification of any new or changed by-law must be given to the Registrar General’s Office. This can be done by lodging a ‘Change of By-Laws’ form, which is available from the Land and Property Information website.

A by-law has no force or effect if it is inconsistent with the Strata Schemes Management Act (the Act), or any other laws.

Other important responsibilities of strata residents

Apart from complying with the by-laws, there are other obligations for strata residents under the Act.

Residents must not:

  • interfere with or impact another person’s lot, including services provided to them or the common property. This includes doing anything to affect another lot owner’s water, sewage, drainage, gas, electricity, garbage, air conditioning, heating or telecommunications services
  • cause a nuisance or hazard to another resident, such as playing loud music
  • use the common property in a way that interferes unreasonably with others in the scheme using and enjoying it.

Related information

I want a pet

You need to first check your by-laws before committing to a pet.
Subject to the by-laws, you may be required to complete the pet application form for consideration by the owners’ corporation.
Pet Application Form

My neighbour is very noisy

The best approach is to try to resolve the problem yourself, so talk to the person first. If that doesn’t work or, if you feel intimidated, you have two choices. You can request through us to seek instruction from the Strata Committee to issue them with a Notice to Comply with a By-Law, then seek a fine if they keep breaching, or you can apply for mediation through Fair Trading and discuss your issue with them.

If in doubt then please contact us by clicking our Make a complaint form.

Battling the AirBNB Issue?

If Owners want to stop the ever popular AirBNB industry from venturing past the threshold of their building, the simple solution is to have a By-Law drafted which bans short-term rentals of less than say 3 months. The By-Law will need to be adopted by special resolution at a general meeting.

Occupancy limits

A by-law may limit the number of adult residents in a lot. The limit cannot be fewer than two adults per bedroom, and cannot contravene any planning approval or any other applicable law. 

Short-term (holiday) letting

The owner or occupier of a lot must ensure that it is not used for any purpose that is prohibited by council planning regulations and other laws. They must also ensure that the lot is not occupied by more people than are allowed, and that the use of the lot does not create a nuisance or hazard to others in the strata scheme. 

Sometimes, short-term stays may result in disruption to long-term residents. The model by-laws require people in a strata scheme to not make excess noise or behave in a way that disrupts other occupants’ ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the strata scheme. Owners corporations are able to enforce these by-laws and apply to the Tribunal to impose penalties.

If adopted, there is a model by-law that requires lot owners and occupants to notify the owners corporation at least 21 days before changing the use of their lot, such as short-term letting to holiday makers. This allows the owners corporation to make security, insurance and other necessary arrangements.

The law also allows lot owners or the owners corporation to apply to the Tribunal to vary the contribution paid by a lot owner where their activities may affect the amount of the premium paid by the owners corporation for the scheme’s insurance. Owners corporations may wish to seek expert advice on this issue if they have been informed that their insurance premiums have been affected by short-term letting.

I need additional keys/garage remotes
Should you require a replacement or additional security key or remote you are required to submit your written request to our office. Key-Remote request form
I am interested in making an offer on a unit
You should have a solicitor or conveyancer arrange to inspect the books and records for the scheme before making an offer.
I want to install air-conditioning
You must submit your request in writing by completing the Air-Conditioning Request Form and attaching the air-conditioner specifications and an image of the location you to where you are proposing to have the unit installed. Once the application has been received it will be sent to the Strata Committee for their consideration. A By-Law may be required which will need to be voted on at a general meeting.
I want to renovate my unit

Cosmetic work

Owners can carry out cosmetic work to common property in their lot without having to get the prior approval of the owners corporation.

Cosmetic work includes day-to-day work such as:

  • installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings or other things on walls,
  • installing or replacing handrails within your lot,
  • painting, and
  • filling minor holes and cracks in internal walls.

Lot owners can do these jobs without obtaining permission.

Tenants must still seek the permission of their landlord before doing any cosmetic work to the lot they are renting.

Minor renovations

Minor renovations includes:

  • renovating a kitchen
  • changing recessed light fittings
  • installing or replacing wood or other hard floors
  • reconfiguring internal walls, and
  • sustainability inclusions, such as clothes lines and reverse cycle air conditioners.

Lot owners must get the approval of the owners corporation by general resolution (over 50% of votes) before any work can commence. Lot owners may need to provide details of:

  • the work, such as any plans
  • the duration and times of the work, and
  • the people who will carry out the work, including their qualifications.

While an ordinary resolution of the owners corporation is generally required for minor renovations, owners corporations can delegate the responsibility for making decisions about whether minor renovations should be allowed to the strata committee. This is done by the owners corporation passing a by-law to this effect.

The owners corporation can also pass a by-law which provides that specific types of works are categorised as ‘minor renovations’.

Major renovations

Renovations other than cosmetic work or minor renovations require the permission of the owners corporation by a special resolution. Major renovations need a higher level of approval because such work may seriously affect the common property. As a special resolution of the owners corporation is required for approval of this type of work, responsibility for approval cannot be delegated to the strata committee.

Major renovations include:

  • structural changes
  • waterproofing
  • work that changes the external appearance of your lot, such as an access ramp, and
  • any work for which approval is required under other laws.

Once approval by special resolution has been received for any structural change to a lot, advance notice of the work must be given by providing a written description of the proposed alteration to the owners corporation, at least 14 days before the work is to start.

If you are in doubt then please complete the Renovations Application Form attaching the supporting documents required. Once your application has been received a Strata Manager will respond to your email within 24 hours of receipt.

Renovations and common property rights

On occasion a lot owners renovation may require use of common property such as an air conditioning monitor being attached to a common property wall, or a parking space. In these instances a common property rights by-law can give a lot owner the right of exclusive use and enjoyment of the whole or any specified part of common property.

The lot owner has to consent to being responsible for any maintenance of the common property and the making of the by-law. If the special resolution approving the major renovation doesn’t specify whose responsibility it is to maintain the affected common property, then the responsibility will fall to the owners corporation.

The common property by-law must provide for the maintenance of property and clearly state whether:

  • the owners corporation is to continue to be responsible for the proper maintenance of the property, or
  • impose on the owner or owners of the lots the responsibility for that maintenance and upkeep.

If you are in doubt then please complete the Renovations Application Form attaching the supporting documents required. Once your application has been received a Strata Manager will respond to your email within 24 hours of receipt.

My unit is mouldy - What is my responsibility to fix?

Mould generally occurs during the wet / humid months to south facing units. Often, it is caused by inadequate ventilation. The Owners Corporation is not responsible for mould inside a unit. There may be an underlying problem, so if the ventilation method doesn’t work. If this is the case, then please raise a request repairs form and we will investigate on your behalf.

 

What is my responsibility to fix?
This guide advises what is the responsibility of the lot owner and Owners Corporation: http://nsw.stratacommunity.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Whos-Responsible-SCA-NSW-Aug-2016.pdf
How do I get repairs done?

All repairs to common property inside your unit or in common property areas must be reported to your Building Manager, or Strata Manager, and your request submitted in writing. There is an emergency trades list prepared by our office and displayed in the common area of your building.

You can also report the repair by clicking the link: Request for Repairs Form.

Note: If you call a tradesperson out and it is not deemed to be an emergency, then may be liable to pay any costs.

I have a problem and am not sure who to speak to
Click here and a Strata Manager will respond to your email within 24 hours of receipt. If the matter is urgent then please call our office on 1300 16 16 37
I want to make a formal complaint
Click here and a Strata Manager will respond to your email within 24 hours of receipt. If the matter is urgent then please call our office on 1300 16 16 37
How do I access the portal?
The Strata Excellence team will create your account and communicate the log-on details to you via email. For additional requests for access please contact us.
I need to reset my portal password

From anywhere on the Strata Excellence website, select the Log in link from the right hand side quick links panel. Then click the forgotten password link.

login-screen

I have an invoice to send

Under Quick Links / Strata Forms click Contractor Invoicing Form or email your tax Invoice to accounts@strataexcellence.com.au . If you are claiming a reimbursement then this needs to be clearly indicated. Please ensure when submitting your invoices the below information is indicated on your invoices

Note: Please ensure when submitting your invoice, that the below information MUST be visible on your invoice otherwise our accounts department will reject your invoice and no payment will be processed.

  • Property address
  • Supplier ABN
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice number
  • Amount due
  • GST (if applicable)
  • Due date (or payment terms)
  • Work order number (if applicable)
  • Service period (if applicable)
How much interest do we earn on the money in the Capital Works Fund?
Funds are invested with Macquarie Bank. We work with the Strata Committee to ensure that you are making your money work for you and consult with the Strata Committee approximately month prior to your term deposits maturing. Interest rates vary daily.
How often are payments made?
We make payments by EFT on Tuesday and Friday. We are happy to arrange a special payment if urgently required.
How do vote electronically?
Electronic Voting will be set up by your Strata Manager. You will receive a link with your log-on details via email.
How do I know if something is an insurance claim?
To determine if something is an insurance claim the damage must be caused by a specific and insurable event, e.g burst pipe. The policy does not cover wear and tear so if something has broken because of old age, this is not covered.
Do I have to insure the contents of my strata unit?

While there is no obligation to do so, it is highly recommended that you take out adequate insurance on the contents of your unit. The insurance that the owners corporation organises covers the structure of the building and any fixtures inside lots (for example, sinks, baths, shower trays).

However other contents such as your furniture, electrical appliances, curtains and carpets would not be covered. Owners can suffer major loss if their personal property is not insured in the event of a fire or through water damage. In addition, contents insurance usually covers your paint finishes on walls and ceilings.

Personal items damaged or stolen on common property
Only the home owner’s home and contents insurer can accept or deny such a claim. An owners corporation has the option to take out cover for property that belongs only to the owners corporation, i.e. not the personal possessions of each of its owners.
Why does my neighbour pay less than me?
The levies are based upon your until entitlements, which are generally set depending on the size of your unit and the value of the unit at the time that the scheme was registered. The changes in the legislation have made it somewhat easier to change unit entitlements however this is not an easy process. Generally, the unit entitlements are correct.
Why have I been charged interest on my levies?
Levies should be paid by the due date listed on your levy notice. If you do not pay your levies within 30 days after the due date, 10% interest is charged on the outstanding amount as per the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.
How can I update my contact details?
We need all requests to change owner details to be in writing. Click on this link
What do I own in my unit?

Common property boundaries of each lot are generally formed by:

  • The upper surface of the floor (but not including carpet).
  • The under surface of the ceiling.
  • All external or boundary walls (including doors and windows).

You will have common property inside your lot, which can include such things as:

  • Pipes in common property walls or which service more than one lot
  • Electrical wiring in common property walls or which service more than one lot
  • Originally installed parquet floors, ceramic tiles, floor boards, vermiculate ceilings, plaster ceilings and cornices
  • Magnesite finish on the floor
  • Most balcony doors are usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1974
  • The slab dividing two storeys of the same lot or one storey from an open space roof area or garden areas of a lot (eg. a townhouse or villa), is usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974, unless the registered strata plan says it is not. 

 

What are the areas of common property?

Common property boundaries of each lot are generally formed by:

  • The upper surface of the floor (but not including carpet).
  • The under surface of the ceiling.
  • All external or boundary walls (including doors and windows).

Common property can include such things as:

  • Pipes in the common property or servicing more than one lot
  • Electrical wiring in the common property or servicing more than one lot
  • Originally installed parquet floors, ceramic tiles, floor boards, vermiculate ceilings, plaster ceilings and cornices
    magnesite finish on the floor
  • Most balcony doors are usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1974
  • The slab dividing two storeys of the same lot or one storey from an open space roof area or garden areas of a lot (eg. a townhouse or villa), is usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974, unless the registered strata plan says it is not.
What is the registered strata plan
The registered strata plan defines the boundaries between common property and lots in a strata scheme and can also be useful in clarifying what areas are common property. For enquiries about interpretations of the plan or to buy a copy for information on common property in strata plans that were registered before 1 July 1974,contact Land and Property Information NSW at www.lpi.nsw.gov.au or 1300 052 637
Who is responsible for pruning trees?
If the trees are common property, it is the owners corporation’s responsibility. If the trees are part of your lot – you are responsible, as the owner.
I want to use the garden area outside my unit just for myself, can I do this?

If it is part of your lot, yes. If it is common property, you will need to get the permission of the Owners Corporation. This usually requires an Exclusive use By-Law which needs to be passed by special resolution at a general meeting.

Can I do anything I like to my backyard?

If your backyard is part of your lot, you can do anything as long as it doesn’t breach any of the By-Laws, for example, you must not damage common property, change the external appearance of the building without approval or create noise that causes the peaceful enjoyment of other residents.

 

Can I do my own repairs to common property?
Only if you have the permission of the owners corporation. If common property needs repair or maintenance, the owners corporation should undertake that work, not an individual owner.
Who is responsible for looking after the wheelie bins?
The owners (or residents) are responsible for putting their own bins out, bringing them in, and keeping them clean., however this task is usually done by the cleaner. In most cases the owners corporation owns the bins.
What are the responsibilities of the owners corporation

The owners corporation is responsible for looking after common property and doing all repairs, This includes replacing and renewing common property when needed, unless it decides by special resolution at a general meeting that it is inappropriate for a particular item and its decision will not affect the safety or appearance of the strata scheme. For further information, see the Repairs and maintenance page on the Fair Trading website

The owners corporation can decide at a general meeting by special resolution to do, or allow a lot owner to add, alter or erect a new structure that improves or enhances common property.

If the ongoing maintenance for any alteration, addition or structure is to be the responsibility of a lot owner, a By-Law must be created to indemnify the Owners Corporation against any ongoing repairs and maintenance.

What does the Owner's Corporation insurance cover?

The Owners Corporation insures the structure of the building and common property.

Send an email to admin@strataexcellence.com.au to receive a copy of the product disclosure statement and financial services guide.

Contents within a lot such as carpet, curtains, blinds, dishwasher, dryer, microwave and any item that is personal property are covered by your contents insurance, which we encourage all residents to have.

What are the Strata Committee duties?

General duties of the Strata Committee members include:
Attending all the committee meetings. These meetings are called as required and are usually quarterly.
Reading the meeting notices prior to attending the
Attending to various jobs (e.g. obtaining quotes for painting or gardening)
As representatives of all owners corporation, not just themselves, committee members must be selfless in the way they go about their duties. They must take a long-term view to ensure their management decisions have the most beneficial long-term impact on the owners corporation. They must also disqualify themselves from voting on any issue where they have a direct pecuniary financial interest. Generally, committee members are not entitled to payments for their services nor to reimburse their expenses unless such a payment is approved by ordinary resolution at a general meeting.

How can I be elected to the Strata Committee?
The Strata Committee is appointed at the Annual General Meeting. The Committee is comprised of a minimum of 1 member and a maximum of 9. Vacancies should be filled as they arise.
What if we need to remove committee members?

Lot owners can remove a committee, or committee member, by a special resolution at a general meeting. The strata committee member can also resign.

What does a strata manager do?

Strata managers are engaged by the owners corporation to manage the day-to-day affairs of the scheme.

As strata schemes are becoming larger and more complex. Strata managers provide services and advice on:

  • Issues and disputes in the building
  • Financial management
  • Insurance
  • Clerical and administrative support and follow-up
  • Ad-hoc maintenance and contract support
  • Ensure requirements of the relevant legislation are met
  • Advice on the legal requirements concerning the operation of the strata scheme.
  • The role varies depending on the size and type of property and involves people management and someone who is organised and is able to handle difficult clients from time-to-time.
I’m not happy with our strata manager. What do I do?

If you’re not on the committee, you can voice your concern at the Annual General Meeting, or do so in writing to the chairperson of the strata committee. Your should also talk to your strata manager themselves to explain your concerns, which may arise out of a simple misunderstanding.
If you’re a member of the committee, you can also discuss the matter with your fellow members and establish a consensus of opinion regarding the performance of the strata manager. You can also examine the terms of their contract.

How do I evaluate a strata manager's performance?
Are you happy with the level of customer service that you receive from your existing manager? Are the proactive? Are they professional? Do they act in a timely manner? Do they care about the building. If you have answered no to these questions then you need to consider changing to Strata Excellence.
Is there a deadline for providing minutes?
General meeting minutes must be sent out with the notice of the next general meeting if not issued sooner. Strata committee minutes must be placed on the noticeboard, or sent to all owners if there is no noticeboard, within 7 days.
The Sinking Fund known as the (Capital Works Fund)

Formally called the sinking fund, there is a new requirement to comply with your capital works fund assessment. If you choose not to raise levies in line with it and do work when scheduled, then there has to be a minute in the AGM as to why not.

Under the legislation we are required to provide the capital works fund assessment to purchasers before they settle, so there could be an impact on your side of your sale if the scheme has not complied with the assessment. This alone is a good reason to vote at meetings and ensure that this is followed as appropriate, because it may impact on you personally.

 

Why do strata managers earn commissions for renewing building insurance?
  • Payment for services such as obtaining 3 quotes and arranging the renewal of insurance forms.
  • Cost of handling claims on behalf of the OC. (owners corporation)

FAQs on Meeting procedures

When can I use a proxy to have my say?
A proxy is where you authorise someone else to vote on your behalf when you are unable or choose not to attend a meeting or vote electronically. Click here to request a proxy appointment form.
Is my proxy valid?

You will not be able to use a proxy if your name is not on the strata roll or if your levies are not paid in full.

Your proxy also needs to be completed correctly. If you have any doubt you should email a copy of the completed proxy form to admin@stratexcellence.com.au prior to the meeting.

What can we talk about at the meeting?

Only matters on the agenda can be discussed and voted on.

Any additional matters need to go on the agenda of the next meeting so that a vote can be taken.

What is the difference between a special resolution and a unanimous resolution?

Both are votes required for certain motions at general meetings (not at strata committee meetings). A special resolution is where not more than 25% of the holders of unit entitlements who are present in person, or by proxy, or who have voted electronically vote against the motion. entitlement.

 A unanimous resolution is where no votes are cast against the motion.

Does the chairperson have the deciding vote at any meetings?
No, there are no deciding votes at general meetings or strata committee meetings.
Appointing a Proxy under the new Legislation

A proxy must – in accordance with schedule 1 – Division 2 Strata Schemes Management Act 2015:

  1. Indicate which motions the proxy holder can vote on – or that they can vote on all matters.
  2. Indicate how the proxy is to vote regarding the appointment or continuation of a strata managing agent – regardless of whether this is on the agenda.
  3. Be dated.
  4. Indicate how long it is valid for.
  5. Be given to the Secretary of the scheme before the commencement of the meeting.
  6. Be signed by the proxy giver – i.e hand written or digitally
  7. Ensure that the proxy holder cannot have a financial or other interest in the outcome – eg a managing agent can’t hold a proxy and vote on a matter relating to their appointment or continuation.

Number of Proxies

There is a limit to the number of proxies on person can hold. If the scheme has:

  1. 20 lots or less – then only one proxy can be held by any person – including the chairman or managing agent.
  2. More than 20 lots, a number that is equal to not more than 25% of the total number of lots.

The issue comes if proxies are sent into the managing agent and the number of these for one individual exceeds the limit set out above. At this junction until the Tribunal or Courts indicate otherwise – it is expected that the first proxy received are the instructions that person is to follow and would over-ride any subsequent proxies and thus their instructions from other owners.

What we recommend is that you speak to the person you propose to appoint and check how many proxies they already hold before giving them your vote otherwise your may not count. It is important to ensure the above rules are followed.

Chairman

The Chairman can decide to proceed with the meeting if there is no quorum AFTER waiting half an hour so this means meetings no longer need to be adjourned for a week when the relevant number for a quorum is not achieved – the meeting would just proceed with those present.

Tenants at Meetings?

Tenants are now given a copy of the AGM agenda, (word document only) Not various attachments.

If 50% or more of the property is tenanted and that information is on the strata roll, the tenants as a group can nominate a representative who is then able to attend Strata Committee meetings (which replaces the names ‘Executive Committee” under the old legislation)

A meeting also needs to take place 7 days before the AGM to elect a tenant representative.

Can owners request a secret ballot vote?

Owners can now request secret ballots to vote on motions. This will occur if more than 25% of voters request this.

Any person entitled to vote at a meeting can request a poll vote to decide on a motion. Rather than determining the outcome by a majority, the unit entitlements are counted. 

Executive Committee - Renamed to Strata Committee Members

How will function now work moving forward:

  1. if your scheme has 50% or more tenants noted on the strata roll – then the tenants are entitled to appoint a representative – who stands on the Strata Committee but who does not count towards a quorum for a meeting nor do they have a vote.
  2. nominations for the Committee can be received in writing from persons happy to stand – forwarding this to the current Secretary or Strata Manager before the meeting. Nominations will also be called from the floor at the relevant time of the meeting.

The maximum number remains at 9 – the tenant representative if there is one based on the criteria in (i) above – is not one of the 9

Extract of the legislation:

(3) A sole owner of a lot in a strata scheme may not nominate more than one person for election as a member of the strata committee, except as provided by subsection (5).

(4) Only one co-owner (including a company nominee of a co-owner) of the same lot may be a member of a strata committee at the same time, except as provided by subsection (5).

(5) A person who is an owner of more than one lot in the strata scheme may ominate one person for election as member of the strata committee for each lot for which the person is an owner.

Furthermore, there is a requirement for a committee member to be financial to vote at a Strata Committee meeting. This means levies owed at the time the agenda was sent out, must be paid for their vote to count at the time of the meeting.

Notices of a Committee meeting must be given to every member of the committee 3 days before the meeting. Email is acceptable.

The agenda must detail the motions the Committee intends to consider.

A decision of a Strata Committee has no force or effect if, before the decision is made, notice is given to the secretary that owners – the sum of whose unit entitlements exceeds one-third of the aggregate unit entitlement, indicate that they do not want the motion passed. This is normally done in the form of a notice in writing signed by those against the motion and indicating their unit entitlement – stating they are opposed to a particular motion on the Committee’s agenda – and given to the Secretary or managing agent before the meeting. This is why a detailed agenda is critical and must be on the notice board for the required time before the meeting is to start. Failure to meet these requirements may see not just a decision of the Strata Committee challenged at NCAT – but the whole meeting – which would cost significant monies to defend the case – and waste a lot of time.

When the Chairman is present – the Chairman must chair the meeting. If they are absent – then the members of the strata committee present at that meeting may elect one of their number to preside at that meeting, and the person elected is, while so presiding, taken to be the Chairperson.

The legislation provides as follows:

  1. A vote at a meeting by a person entitled to vote or by a proxy must be cast in person unless the owners corporation, by resolution passed at a general meeting, determines that a vote may be cast by some other specified means.
  2. The regulations may make provision for or with respect to the following:
    1. the means of voting (other than in person) that may be adopted by an owners corporation,
    2. without limiting paragraph (a), procedures for voting by those means,
    3. prohibiting or requiring the use of specified means of voting.

Any owner can attend a committee meeting – however they may only speak if the meeting resolves that they may do so. If they are not on the Committee they do not have a vote.

On adjournments – For Annual General and Extra-Ordinary Meetings

(1) A meeting may be adjourned for any reason if a motion is passed at the meeting for the adjournment.

(2) The time and place at which a meeting adjourned under this Part is to be resumed must be fixed by the person who was presiding at the meeting.

(3) The secretary of the owners corporation must give to the members of the owners corporation, at least 1 day before the resumed meeting, a notice specifying the time and place of the meeting.

(4) Notice is to be given by displaying the notice on the notice board maintained by the owners corporation or, if there is no notice board, in writing (including by email or other electronic means).

 

 

 

 

New Strata Laws Section

Strata laws in NSW have been modernised to suit the way we live, today and beyond. Getting renovations approved is now simpler and there are online options for meetings and voting. Your strata community will need to review its rules (called by-laws) and consider any updates, There are new model by-laws to help with this process. For further information click the link

Owners, Tenants 

If you have further questions then Click Here to submit one.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this website is a general information guide only and is not to be substituted to legal advice. You should seek professional legal advice before taking any action. JPRW Property PTY LTD T/A Strata Excellence disclaim all responsibility and all liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided on this website.