Strata unit owners have the option to submit motions to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is the forum for all owners to vote (if they choose to). There are a number of reasons why an owner may choose to take up the option of submitting a motion to the AGM. The reasons range from when the decision is beyond the authority of the appointed Body Corporate Committee’s including when major improvements and spending is involved or the matter may have previously been declined by the Committee. The owner then decides they want the issue escalated to a General Meeting for all owners to consider.
By submitting a motion to the AGM, an owner is seeking approval for a specific outcome on an issue from the Body Corporate via vote of all owners. To ensure the motion is valid and included on the AGM agenda to be considered, owners wishing to submit motions are required to adhere to the legislative requirements to ensure it is valid which are:
- Owners’ motions must be submitted to the Body Corporate Secretary and received before the end of the Body Corporate Financial Year;
- The substance of the motion must be clear, supported by any required quotations or applicable documentation stating what would occur if the motion is carried;
- The motion must not conflict with the Body Corporate and Community Management Act or the by-laws;
- If carried, the motion must be legally enforceable by the Body Corporate.
If Owners fail to comply with these requirements, the motion may be omitted if not received in time and must be ruled Out of Order by the Chairperson at the Meeting and not voted upon.
Navigating through the legislative requirements of submitting an Owner’s motions can be daunting, however these tips have been formulated to assist Owners in preparing a valid motion for their AGM:
- Confirm the Body Corporate’s Financial Year End (usually this date is found on the ‘Submission of Motions’ form circulated to all owners 3 to 6 weeks prior).
- Review the by-law’s to ensure what is being proposed does not conflict with an existing by-law. If it does you will need to submit an additional motion to change the conflicting by-law
- Consider whether the Body Corporate has the authority to enforce the proposed outcome of the motion and it is put forward with the applicable motion type. Advice may be required from your Strata Manager or Solicitor depending on the complexity of the issue.
- Ensure you have all necessary documentation in relation to the motion is included
- When drafting the motion, ensure it is clear enough that other owners who may not be familiar with the topic understand the proposed the outcome.
- Include an explanatory note to communicate to owners on why this motion is being proposed i.e. what has prompted the motion submission. This note must be 300 words or less.
- Submit the motion to the Secretary well prior to the Financial Year End and request confirmation of receipt.
If you are planning on submitting an Owner’s motion to the AGM, the last thing you want is to miss the deadline and not have your motion included in the AGM notice. Therefore forward planning is essential, particularly for complex motions requiring prior confirmation of validity, motion type or if amendment is required. These guidelines are to assist owners in submitting a valid motion, on time with the details needed for all owners to properly consider your proposal at the AGM.
This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Archers the Strata Professionals