With your home and investment in the hands of a group of volunteer strata committee members, it is important for you to understand how a strata committee works, and how people get elected to the strata comittee. This blog is part of a series of posts to help strata owners understand how to get the most out of their strata committee, what powers a strata committee has and ensure strata legislation is followed by their strata committee.
The strata committee members are elected at each annual general meeting and charged with administering the scheme on behalf of all the owners in the best interest of the group as a whole.
For the most part the NSW rules for running a strata committee meeting are set out in Schedule 2 of the Strata Schemes Managing Agent 2015. Link here http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ssma2015242/sch2.html . You should become familiar with these rules, so that you are not sidelined by your strata committee and you can ensure that proper procedures are being followed. For example, a common misconception is that the chair of the strata committee is entitled to two votes-- not so! Another common misunderstanding is that by merely being an owner you can automatically speak up at meetings -- when in fact you can attend meetings, and even vote, but you need to be permitted to speak at the meeting.
Members of the strata committee are there on a volunteer basis, however it is not unheard of for committee members to be paid a fee under extenuating circumstances as determined by the owners corporation at an AGM. Section 46 covers this:
An owners corporation may pay to a person who is an officer of the owners corporation or another member of the strata committee of the owners corporation an amount determined by the owners corporation at an annual general meeting in recognition of services performed by the person for the owners corporation in the period since the last annual general meeting.
The strata committee, and the various office bearers noted in my previous post, may act in any of the capacities they so choose even if they have a strata managing agent. Note part underlined sections here in S53:
(a) has the same effect as if it had been done or suffered by the owners corporation, and
(b) is taken to have been done or suffered by the owners corporation.
(4) This section is subject to section 56.
(b) anything done or suffered by the strata managing agent in the exercise of the function has the same effect as it would have if it had been done or suffered by the person who, but for paragraph (a), could have exercised it.
As you can see, the NSW strata legislation is both prescriptive and flexible. With this information, you can be better prepared for what to expect of your strata committee - what to expect at a strata meeting, what are the powers of a strata committee and how a strata committee shares responsibility/function with a strata managing agent.