Strata Management Committee - it's an owner affair
Please note that this article is commenting on the South Australian Strata Titles Act 1988
We recently took on the management of a group of Units and looked to meet with their Management Committee to help the corporation find a way through some issues ahead of their next Annual General Meeting in June.
When looking at the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting it was noted that the committee members included someone who was not listed as an owner within the corporation.
Appointing a non-owner as a proxy for a General Meeting is perfectly fine, and that person has then the right to exercise the vote just like the owner (subject to any written instructions provided with the proxy).
As a non-owner though, the proxy could not be elected to the management committee.
unit holder means— (a) a person registered as proprietor of an estate in fee simple in the unit; (b) if the fee simple is divided into a life estate with a remainder or reversionary interest—the person registered as the proprietor of the life estate;
35—Management committee (1) Subject to subsection (1a), a strata corporation may, by ordinary resolution, appoint a management committee of unit holders.
35 (7) A member of a management committee can appoint another person (who must, unless all of the units comprised in the strata scheme consist of non-residential units, be a unit holder) to act as his or her proxy at any meeting of the committee that the member is unable to attend.
How does a Management Committee work?
A meeting can be called with 3 days notice to all members (s35(4b))
A quorum is 50% of the number of member less any fraction plus one (s35(4a)) - so a committee of 4 needs 3 for a quorum, 5 also needs 3 while a committee of 6 requires 4 for a quorum
A proxy may be given by a committee member to another to represent them but the representative must be an owner if the property is residential (s35(7)) - so not a tenant, family member or body corporate manager
Minutes must be kept of Management Committee meetings (s35(8)) - these must be provided to prospective purchasers in their s41 search that forms part of the Form 1, while it is good practice for the committee to advise all owners of what they are working on as the committee has been appointed to run the corporation for the benefit of all owners.
The committee has the power to pass ordinary resolutions (s35(2)) and as such can hire/fire a strata manager (inline with s35(10) and s27) but cannot approve a change to the external appearance which is a special resolution.
The committee can be subjected to limitations imposed by the corporation at the General Meeting (ie, a marina I worked with allowed the committee to spend $40,000 per year on maintenance within their normal authority which allowed them the freedom to get on with maintaining the common property).