General Corporation, Management & Legislation Questions
Annual general meeting
WHEN SHOULD WE HAVE AN ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING?
The strata corporation must hold the next Annual General Meeting no more than 15 months after its last meeting. An annual general meeting should be held in every calendar year [s 33(4)]. Community Title Corporation's are required to hold an Annual General Meeting of a primary Community Corporation within three months after the commencement of each financial year.
Where do my payments go?
All unit owners are levied, in accordance with the accepted budget at each Annual General Meeting. The levies are paid into the Corporation's bank account to pay regular and one-off expenses relating to your Corporation, these can include, insurance, grounds maintenance, water, management fees and building repairs.
What does Horner Management do for the Corporation?
Horner Management are there to assist your Corporation to ensure you are complying with the relevant Acts. Horner Management provide a number of services. Click here to view the various services we offer to every Corporation.
What is an ordinary resolution?
An ordinary resolution is one passed at a properly organised meeting of the corporation by a simple majority of the votes of unit owners present and voting on the resolution [s 3]. Decisions of a strata corporation are made by ordinary resolution unless the Act or articles specify otherwise.
What is a special resolution and when is it required for Strata Corporation's?
A special resolution is required to change or adopt new articles, authorise construction, alterations, demolition or removal of a building or structure or to authorise changes to the external appearance of a building.
A Special Resolution is achieved if the resolution is passed at a properly convened meeting of the strata corporation and the number of votes (if any) cast against the resolution is 25% or less of the total number of votes that could be cast at a meeting at which all unit owners are present and entitled to vote [s 3(1)(a)].
What is an unanimous resolution?
Unanimous resolutions are required when you are granting a unit owner exclusive use of part of the common property, distrbuting surplus funds, dertiming contributions other than on the basis of unit entitlement and amending the strata plan.
A unanimous resolution is the same as a special resolution but passed without any dissenting (opposing) vote, that is nobody must vote against the resolution. Any unit owner who does not attend (or send a proxy to vote), or attends and chooses not to vote, is not counted as a dissenting vote.
Owning & Living in a Corporation Questions
Auctions and sales
CAN I SELL MY UNIT AT ANYTIME? CAN I HOLD AN AUCTION IN MY UNIT WHEN I WISH TO SELL IT?
Yes. There are no limits on the sale of a unit by the unit owner, but you will need the corporation’s permission to place an auction or sale sign on common property
VISITORS TO OTHER UNITS OFTEN PARK IN MY SPACE, OR ON COMMON PROPERTY, OBSTRUCTING MY ACCESS. WHAT CAN I DO TO STOP THIS?
Unit occupiers have an obligation under the articles to make sure that their visitors do not park in other unit owner’s spaces, or parts of the common property not authorised for parking. The upset unit occupier can first talk to the other unit occupier about the problem. If the unit occupier is a tenant, the unit owner may also be approached, as they have an obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that the tenant complies with the articles. If there is no resolution, the management committee or the corporation may be asked to intervene. If the problem continues, it is suggested that a community mediation service be approached. If the articles of the corporation provide for a penalty to be imposed for a breach of the articles, the corporation may impose a penalty on the unit occupier. As a last resort, an application can be made to the Magistrates Court for an order to prevent future breaches. If a court order is not complied with, fines or even gaol sentences can be imposed.
Negligence and Insurance - Personal injury
A TREE ON COMMON PROPERTY OVERHANGS THE STREET AND DROPS BERRIES. I AM WORRIED THAT A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC MIGHT SUFFER INJURY. ARE WE RESPONSIBLE?
If a member of the public, or a unit owner, suffers injury as a result of the negligence of the strata corporation, then the strata corporation may be liable. This may include the strata corporation’s negligence in not pruning or maintaining trees in a safe manner. All strata corporations must hold public liability insurance to the value of 10 million dollars to cover these risks.
Negligence and Insurance - Burst hot water service
DOES THE CORPORATION’S INSURANCE COVER A BURST HOT WATER SERVICE?
An insurance policy does not normally cover wear and tear. Unit owners and the corporation have a duty to maintain their equipment. However the building damage caused by a leaking hot water service may be covered.
Expenses of owning a Strata unit
WHAT TYPES OF EXPENSES ARE INVOLVED IF I WISH TO OWN A STRATA UNIT?
Apart from the usual expenses associated with owning land (council rates, water and sewerage, gas, electricity etc.), as a member of the strata scheme you will be required to contribute to the costs associated with the running and maintenance of the scheme. These can be split into two categories: recurrent fees (those that occur on an annual basis), and costs for the long term maintenance of the scheme (often referred to as a sinking fund). Inquiries should be made with the strata corporation that administers the scheme to find out these additional costs
Can I have a pet?
According to the Strata Title Act residents need permission to keep animals at the property. You need a ordinary vote passed in order to keep animals at the property. Ask your Body Corporate manager to check the bylaws as there may already be approval granted for all units with some restrictions in place.
If you need to apply for a pet to be kept at your unit, you will need to provide as much information as possible to all unit holders.
Cats: Will it be an indoor cat only? Will it be desexed? Will it have a bell on its collar to protect wildlife? Will it be locked up at night?
Dogs: What breed is the dog? While it may be a small puppy now, how big is it going to get? Will it be left outside all day while you are at work? What are you prepared to do if it barks constantly? Will it be allowed indoors while you are home? Is your yard secure?
Maintenance & Improvement Questions
Approval for structural work
AN OWNER IN OUR BLOCK OF UNITS WANTS TO PUT AWNINGS ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING TO SHADE HER KITCHEN WINDOWS FROM THE AFTERNOON SUN. DOES SHE NEED PERMISSION FROM THE CORPORATION TO DO THIS?
Yes. The decision to alter the external appearance of the units must be taken by the corporation. A special resolution of the corporation will be required to grant permission for this work [s 29].
THE FENCE AROUND MY UNIT IS OLD AND NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. SHOULD THE CORPORATION PAY FOR A NEW FENCE?
Generally, fences are common property and therefore the responsibility of the strata corporation. The corporation must maintain the common property to an acceptable standard, which may involve replacing or repairing the fence.
Improvements to common property
SOME OF THE UNIT OWNERS WANT THE CORPORATION TO INSTALL HAND RAILS ON THE COMMON STAIRS. WHAT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO HAVE THE WORK APPROVED?
As the common stairs are shared by all unit owners, they are considered common property. A simple majority vote at a general meeting can approve this addition to the common property. The corporation is responsible for public risk in the common property area and it may be sensible to install these rails.
I want a hot water service?
Where is your current hot water system located? Are you simply going to replace what is there with a newer model, slightly smaller? If so you can make this change without approval.
Is your Hot Water System currently gas? If not, you may need to investigate to see if gas is already at the property as there are some restrictions on connecting electric Hot Water Systems. You will need to check this with the supplier.
If your Hot Water System is currently inside your unit and you would like to place this on the outside of the building. You will need to find out the size of the Hot Water System and where exactly it will be placed at the complex. All this information will need to be supplied to your Body Corporate Manager. Usually Hot Water Systems fail and need to be replaced almost immediately. However, permission is still required if you are changing the location of the system. In cases of emergency it is easier for us to get you permission if there is already a Hot Water System in a similar spot at another unit. We would attempt to contact other owners for approval. Otherwise we will need to give unit holders 2 weeks notice to get approval.
I would like an air conditioner?
If you want to install an air conditioner there are some things you will need to consider.
You will need to check if air conditioners are allowed. Check if there are any set restrictions on where they can be placed, i.e. not on balconies, not at the front of the unit or must be below fence fence height.
Once you have checked this with your Body Corporate manager it is best to arrange a quote. This way the contractors will explain the best possible place for the air conditioner compressor to be placed. You will need to make sure that the conduit for the connection of the air conditioner (that is placed on the outside of the wall) is going to be covered to match the existing property. For example, if your unit are predominately mission brown, with red bricks a cream conduit will not suit.
Once you have the quote and all the specifications this will tell you how big the compressor will be, where it will be placed and the noise of the compressor. All these questions should be answered in the quote.
The Body Corporate manager will then add this to your upcoming meeting agenda or send a postal vote if your meeting is not within the next couple of weeks. We do need to give owners at least 2 weeks to consider the request and respond. As soon as we have the responses we will confirm the response in writing and the decision will also be included in the next set of minutes from your Corporation Annual General Meeting.
This requires as special resolution. A special resolution is achieved if the resolution is passed at a properly convened meeting of the strata corporation and the number of votes (if any) cast against the resolution is 25% or less of the total number of votes that could be cast at a meeting at which all unit owners are present and entitled to vote [s 3(1)(a)].