A General Meeting is the gathering of the Owners Corporation or Strata Committee to make collective decisions on the control, management and administration of the Strata Scheme.
There are five types of meetings that can be called during the life of an Owners Corporation. These meeting are recognised as follows:
1. Inaugural General Meeting;
2. First Annual General Meeting;
3. Annual General Meeting;
4. Extraordinary General Meeting;
5. Strata Committee Meeting;
6. Tenant Meetings.
Inaugural General Meeting
The Inaugural General Meeting is the first meeting of the Owners Corporation held during the initial period. This meeting is not classed as the first Annual General Meeting of the owners as it is conducted as if it were an Extraordinary General Meeting. Five matters that must be determined at this meeting include insurance, contributions to the administration and sinking funds, financial institution at which funds should be deposited, the Strata Committee and the common seal.
First Annual General Meeting
The first Annual General Meeting is the first compulsory meeting to be held by the Owners Corporation. The first Annual General Meeting must be convened within two months of the expiry of the initial period (once one third of the unit entitlements are sold). Only certain matters can be dealt with at the first Annual General Meeting including insurance policies, contributions to the administration and sinking funds, election of Strata Committee, adopting the by-laws and the appointment of a Strata Manager.
Any additional matters that need to be dealt with can be discussed at an Extraordinary General Meeting which may be called immediately after the conclusion of the first Annual General Meeting.
Annual General Meeting
Information that must accompany the notice of the meeting includes the last financial statements, relevant auditors’ reports and details of the current insurance policies. Additional information to be included in the notice of the meeting is a draft administration and capital works fund budget, ten year sinking fund statement and proxy forms. Compulsory matters to be discussed at the meeting include confirmation of minutes, adoption of the financial statements, insurance policies, election of a Strata Committee and contributions to the administration and capital works fund.
Extraordinary General Meeting
Extraordinary General Meeting is the name given to any type of general meeting that is not the first Annual General Meeting or an Annual General Meeting. The only compulsory motion to be discussed is the confirmation of the minutes of the last General Meeting. These meetings are specially convened and are held to consider particular motions of concern to the Strata Committee, Owners Corporation or any other person entitled to vote.
Should an owner wish to call a meeting of the Owners Corporation, they will need to show support from owners representing at least 25% of the unit entitlements or by resolution of the Strata Committee. The request for the meeting must be submitted in writing to the secretary along with any motions or matters of business to be discussed.
Strata Committee Meeting
This type of meeting is one convened by the Strata Committee to discuss particular items relating to the day-to-day control, management and administration of the Strata Scheme. The Strata Committee are restricted in the decisions they can make. Any substantial matters must be referred to a General Meeting for a decision of the Owners Corporation where all the owners have the opportunity to delegate and vote on matters.
Members may have a meeting convened by having 25% of the unit entitlements request a meeting to be held. The request for the meeting must be submitted in writing to the secretary along with any motions or matters of business to be discussed.
A quorum is the minimum number of people who must be present at a meeting whether personally or by proxy in order to constitute a valid meeting.
A quorum will be in attendance where:
1. One-quarter of the number of persons (not lots) entitled to vote are present or not present;
2. Owners whose unit entitlement totals 25% of the aggregate unit entitlement.
What if there isn’t a quorum?
If a quorum is not present within half an hour of the commencement time of a General Meeting the meeting may be adjourned for seven days or the chairman may declare that there is a quorum after waiting half an hour.
What if the vote is tied?
Tied votes can only occur for an ordinary resolution. If members are tied on a decision or matter, the matter will be defeated as the majority of the votes has not been reached to pass the item.
What if I cannot attend a meeting?
If a person cannot personally attend a meeting they can cast their vote via a duly appointed proxy form.
Proxy forms are important documents for members who are not able to attend a meeting but want a say in how the Strata Scheme is controlled and managed. The proxy form may indicate the member’s preferences in relation to the motion, or may give the proxy holder the discretion to vote on the members behalf. Members must ensure that the proxy form is filled out correctly and sign (otherwise the proxy form can be invalid). The new Act restricts a number of proxies a person may hold.