Your Owners Corporation is the body that comprises all lot owners in your building. Essentially, if you own a unit, townhouse, apartment or even a commercial property in a building or development with a Plan of Subdivision, you are a member of that development’s Owners Corporation.
The Owners Corporation is responsible for making a wide range of decisions affecting your building as well as being responsible for maintaining the building, its assets and ensuring any repairs are completed.
Every owner has a role to play in the smooth functioning of your Owners Corporation, but it goes without saying that in almost every building some are willing to do more than the rest. Those people are usually members of your Owners Corporation committee.
An Owners Corporation committee is elected at every General Meeting and is effectively responsible for representing all owners until the next General Meeting.
As your Owners Corporation manager, Strata Plan relies on your committee to provide us instructions, which we implement. In the same way that taking on a role on the committee off your local sports club is one you volunteer for, these committee members give their time to help keep your building running.
However, unlike most volunteer roles, being on an Owners Corporation committee means being responsible for the finances of many, for making decisions that require expertise in a wide range of areas. Part of Strata Plan’s role is to provide that guidance and expertise – either directly or by bringing in relevant experts such as lawyers, engineers or building surveyors – to help your committee fulfil those obligations.
At Strata Plan, we believe Owners Corporations do not have to be difficult. Since opening our doors in 2004, Strata Plan has seen it all when it comes to Owners Corporations. What we’ve learned over the journey is that the committees which are able to achieve the most positive outcomes in an efficient manner share similar qualities. Here are some of the things your Owners Corporation committee should be doing to ensure it is running smoothly for the collective benefit of you and your fellow owners.
Time is precious, but a two-hour meeting once a quarter will be a lot more efficient than endless and ongoing emails chains. From time to time, your committee is going to need to discuss some serious issues. Be they defects, disputes between residents or a particularly big project your Owners Corporation might be considering to present to all owners at the next General Meeting, these issues are best discussed in person. Emails can be open to interpretation, not properly read or completely missed in people’s busy inboxes and are simply not an efficient way for your Owners Corporation committee to conduct business. A committee meeting once a quarter – so four per year in between the Annual General Meeting – should be sufficient for buildings without any major issues.
Even if there are few issues to work through, a catch-up once every four quarters is a great way to recap what has been achieved at your property, and can also give your Strata Manager a chance to update the committee on any concerns fellow owners or other occupants may have raised since the last meeting. If your building is facing bigger issues, like potential defects, litigation or major works, more frequent meetings may be required. Properly minuted meetings mean resolutions are quickly actioned by your Strata Manager and provide transparency for both committee members and other owners. This brings us to our next point…
There are so many benefits to having your Strata Manager at your committee meetings, it could have its own article. In summary, the Strata Manager’s presence at the meeting means:
If time is precious, then it would be pretty disappointing for any committee to take time out of their schedule to hold a meeting, only to find the resolutions they passed are not permissible under the Owners Corporation Act (VIC) 2006.
Committee meetings are the best way to ensure things get done. Here’s one of our Strata Managers, Shenae, out on site at a committee meeting in Sandringham. Great work by all involved! #property #realestate #melbourne #victoria #ownerscorporation #managers #strata #strataplan #bodycorporate #apartment #lobby #screens #spa # views #melbourne #southmelbourne #apartment #apartments #apartmentlife #apartmentliving #management #sharedspaces #community #communal
Committee meetings are business of the Owners Corporation and should be treated accordingly. That means any recognised committee meeting must have minutes. Your Strata Manager’s extensive experience bring plenty of value to your committee’s meetings – before, during and after the meeting.
Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”, and these words ring true for Owners Corporation. At Strata Plan, we don’t expect any one of our Strata Managers to be an expert in accounting, insurance and every law of the land. That’s why we have an Accounts Team, an Insurance Team and a Facilities Maintenance Team, amongst others. That’s why we call on expert building surveyors, engineers, fire safety experts and others as required too. Committees need to adopt a similar approach.
Every committee member will bring their own experiences and expertise to the table. Some may be accountants, some may be electricians, some may manage call centres – but no one is an expert in everything. A good committee will accept its blind spots and engage experts to enlighten them and guide them. The blind leading the blind leads a committee – and in turn its Owners Corporation – down a winding rabbit hole that leads to nowhere. Most quality service providers are usually willing to come and meet the committee, provide quotes for required services and meet committee members on site to discuss the job. Collaboration and cohesion amongst committee members, owners, the Strata Manager, experts and service providers is the best way to achieve Amazing Life Spaces.
While regular committee meetings are clearly the best way to work through issues and provide decisions, it is unrealistic to expect a committee to meet to discuss everything that comes up. Occasionally, methods like telephone and email are required to discuss an issue or come to a decision. That can be done via an email vote, telephone conference call or whichever means are most convenient to the committee at the time. What’s important is that the decisions are properly recorded and clearly communicated to the Strata Manager. One committee member, usually the elected chairperson, should be responsible for relaying the decision to the Strata Manager. This ensures there are no contradictions and no chance for overlap.
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