Meetings and votes
Your motion might be voted on at an AGM or an EGM. Find out more about how these meetings work and the different rules that apply.
1. Annual general meetings
Owners in any apartment building are required to have at least one meeting per year – the annual general meeting (AGM). Ask your strata manager or the secretary of your executive committee when the next meeting is due and ensure that you submit your motion to be put on the agenda about six weeks earlier.
Different resolutions are required for different types of change.
There are three kinds of resolutions that can be passed in an AGM:
- Ordinary resolutions
- Special resolutions
- Unanimous resolutions
Major changes to common property need to be passed by a special resolution. If special or unanimous resolutions are involved then you will find there are different rules around the notice period given to inform owners about the meeting.
For a valid decision to be made there must be a quorum at the meeting. A quorum is the minimum number of owners or lots that must be in attendance or represented in a meeting.
In some states, if a quorum isn’t present, decisions may still be made but are subject to further approvals. In other states the meeting cannot proceed without a quorum and the meeting must be adjourned and held at a later date. Check with your state regulator, strata manager or your executive committee to find out what quorum rules apply in your state.
When an owner cannot attend an AGM or EGM they have the option of appointing someone else to represent them and vote by proxy. This allows owners to have their say in all circumstances. In most states there is a prescribed proxy form.
Annual general meetings In Victoria the AGM must be held within 15 months of the last AGM. Owners must be given 14 clear days notice of the AGM. Read more about the requirements for holding an AGM in Victoria.
You might go through an ordinary resolution if:
- Your project is to become part of the maintenance plan
- To approve works that are not considered an upgrade or significant alteration
- And where the cost is not greater than twice the annual budget
A special resolution is passed if 75 per cent or more of the value of the votes cast at the meeting are in favour. Votes may be taken either by show of hands or by lot entitlement. A special resolution is required for upgrades or significant alterations, or to enter into lease and licence agreements. If you are raising funds more than twice the annual budget you would also need a special resolution. Decisions requiring a special resolution of the strata scheme in a general meeting include those to:
- Provide services to members and occupiers for a fee
- Lease or license the common property
- Bring legal proceedings
- Levy extraordinary fees (if > twice the budget)
- Borrow money (if > current budget)
- Levy extraordinary payments from maintenance fund
- Make significant alterations to common property
- Upgrade common property
- Make or amend rules
The Owners Corporations Act 2006 recognises that special resolutions may be hard to achieve, so provides the ability for a strata scheme to make interim special resolutions. Refer to your strata manager to find out more about interim special resolutions.
A unanimous resolution is passed when 100 per cent of the value of the votes cast at the meeting are in favour. Decisions requiring a unanimous resolution include those to:
- resolve, if there is no common property, that insurance of the lots must be taken out by the individual owners
- to alter a plan of subdivision or strata, which includes amendments to lot entitlement or liability
Voting at a meeting can be by a simple show of hands or by lot entitlement. An owner does not have a voting right if they are not financial except in the case of a vote for a special or unanimous resolution.
A quorum for a general meeting is at least 50 per cent of the total votes (in person or by proxy), or if 50 per cent of the total votes is not available then the quorum is at least 50 per cent of the total lot entitlement. If there is not a quorum the general meeting may proceed but all resolutions are ‘interim resolutions’. The minutes of the interim meeting must be circulated within 14 days and lot owners have a further 14 days to object to any interim resolution before it becomes a valid decision.
In Victoria there is no limitation on who can hold a proxy vote, although the Owners Corporations Act 2006 does prohibit a person from requiring or demanding that a lot owner give the person or another person a proxy for the purpose of voting at a meeting or in a ballot of an owners corporation.
Annual general meetings
AGMs must be called and held within three months after the end of each financial year of the body corporate. There are rules that a general meeting must be held within 15 kilometres (in a straight line) of the scheme unless owners are informed and 25 per cent do not object in writing.
In some instances, a motion proposing the improvement of common property by ordinary resolution may only be submitted once per financial year.
In QLD the 25 per cent of people declining the motion can’t have be putting up more than 25 per cent of the contributions to the lot entitlements. For example, if penthouse owners (who pay more fees) are all against it they may be outnumbered - but because their financial contribution is higher, the motion will be defeated.
Resolutions without dissent
In QLD, a unanimous resolution is sometimes called a ‘resolution without dissent’. There are a number of resolutions that require that no owner objects. For example: to dispose of common property, the termination of a scheme, or amalgamation with another titles scheme.
Usually it does not matter who holds the proxy votes but in QLD letting managers are prevented from holding proxies.
If you live in South Australia you will find that there are rules about where an AGM can be held. Check with your strata manager.
General meetings of the strata company should be held once a year. Not more than 15 months should elapse between the date of one AGM and the next. Western Australians should refer to Schedule 1 of the Strata Titles Act 1985.
An ordinary resolution requires support by more than 51 per cent (a majority) of owners to be passed.
More than 50 per cent of owners must vote in favour in order to pass a special resolution in Western Australia.
Resolution without dissent
A unanimous resolution is called a ‘resolution without dissent’ in Western Australia. All owners must vote in favour of the motion for it to be passed.
If there are not enough owners present for a quorum at an AGM then the meeting is automatically adjourned and should be re-convened at the same time in seven days following.
Annual general meetings
In NSW the AGM must be held one month before or after the anniversary date of the first AGM. Owners must be given 7 clear days notice of the next AGM. Any person who is entitled to vote at an AGM may ask for a motion to be amended at the meeting. Read more about the requirements around holding an AGM in NSW.
An ordinary resolution is passed if a simple majority, i.e. 51 per cent, are in favour. Decisions requiring an ordinary resolution of the owners corporation in a general meeting include those to:
- decide what matters cannot be decided by the executive committee or strata managing agent
- appoint a strata managing agent and determine the extent of delegation of powers, and to revoke an appointment and delegations
- appoint or terminate a caretaker
- determine the levies payable by owners to the administrative fund and sinking fund
- determine special levies payable by owners
In NSW a special resolution is passed 75 per cent or more of the value of the votes cast at the meeting are in favour. Decisions requiring a special resolution of the owners corporation in a general meeting include those to:
- amend, create or repeal bylaws
- amend, create or repeal an exclusive use or special rights bylaw
- add to, alter or erect a structure on common property
- grant a licence to a lot owner to use common property
- decide if it is inappropriate to maintain, renew, replace or repair a particular item of property of the owners corporation
- amend or revoke a previous special resolution
A quorum is: a) one-quarter of the people entitled to vote or b) owners entitled to vote holding one-quarter or more of the total unit entitlements. If a quorum has not assembled within 30 minutes of the scheduled start time, the meeting must be adjourned for at least 7 days. If there is no quorum within 30 minutes of the time fixed for the adjourned meeting, it can go ahead. The quorum is then the owners and proxies present who are entitled to vote.
2. Extraordinary General Meetings
These meetings are called special general meetings (SGM) in some states.
They are not taken lightly as they are special meetings to resolve urgent issues and to action things like:
- raising a special levy
- changing, cancelling or making new by-laws
Calling an EGM may also be the preference, if the AGM has recently passed or is not to be held for a while and you wish to move on your project.
An EGM can also provide you with an alternative course of action if the executive committee has refused you the opportunity to present your project proposal or will not consider your business case proposal.
Written support from other owners
If you contact all the owners and gain the written support of more than a certain per cent of them then you are able to call an EGM where owners can vote on your project proposal.
Ask your strata manager what percentage of voters need to be in favour of the project because it varies from state to state. For example, in Victoria you only need 25 per cent of the vote but in Tasmania you would need 33 per cent of the vote.
To do this, contact your strata manager or the executive committee and ask for a list of contacts (postal addresses) for all the owners in your apartment building. This can also be obtained by a search of records.
You will need to know before you call the meeting if your proposal will require a special, ordinary or unanimous resolution.
If you obtain the required number of people at the meeting to achieve a quorum and they vote in favour of your project then it can be implemented this way.
Special general meetings
In Victoria the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) is called a special general meeting (SGM).
The notice period is a minimum 14 days There are four ways in which an SGM can be convened:
- By the chairperson
- By the secretary
- By a lot owner, if the lot owner has the support of additional lot owners whose lot entitlements collectively equal 25% of entitlements of all lots within the strata scheme*
- Or by the manager; either at the direction of majority vote of the committee or in the absence of the strata scheme having a committee, if the manager has the support of at least 25 per cent of entitlements of all lots*
*Lot entitlement can be determined by referencing the strata schemes Plan of Subdivision or Strata Plan.
Only business set out on the Notice may be resolved at the meeting.
If the owner calls the meeting with the support of 25 per cent of lot entitlement these same owners need to approve the agenda. A strata scheme has the right to ask the applicant to pay the costs of the meeting if the project is for the benefit of only the applicant or only a few owners (as opposed to the benefit of all or the majority).
To hold an EGM in Western Australia more than 25 per cent of all owners must request an EGM in writing. The notice period is 14 days.
There are three ways in which an Extraordinary General Meetings can be convened:
- by majority vote of the Executive
- if owners entitled to vote, and who together hold at least one quarter of the aggregate unit entitlement, give a written notice to the Secretary asking for the meeting to be held
- by order of the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.
The notice period is seven clear days notice.