The outbreak of Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of our society. The necessity for social distancing has meant that organisations (including the Owners Corporation of a Strata Plan) need to start thinking about changing some of its practices.
However, with communal living arrangements it may be hard to maintain an appropriate level of social distancing. One way that the Owners Corporation of a Strata Plan can ensure that occupants maintain their distance, is to conduct meetings of the Owners Corporation through technology.
Is there a requirement for meetings of the Owners Corporation to be conducted in person?
The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) provides some useful guidance on the conduct and the appropriate forum for a general meeting of the Owners Corporation:
- The starting point, is that all votes at a meeting of an Owners Corporation, must be cast ‘in-person’. This means, that the default position of the legislation is that face to face meetings are required and any other method of voting is invalid.
- However, the legislation also provides that the Owners Corporation may pass a resolution that allows votes to be cast ‘through other means’. This means, that there is an avenue in the legislation that allows meetings of the Owners Corporation to be conducted through ‘other means’.
So what does this mean for a Strata Plan?
In order for meetings to be conducted through technology (or some other means), the following steps must be carried out:
- First, the Owners Corporation must pass a resolution at a general meeting resolving that the Owners Corporation can pass a resolution through ‘other means’.
- The concept of ‘other means’ needs to be defined in the resolution. What are the other means of voting? This could include electronic voting, voting by way of teleconference, voting by way of email or any other electronic means.
- The voting through ‘other means’ can take place either before, during or after the meeting.
During this unprecedented time, it is worthwhile contacting your strata manager or strata committee to ascertain whether a resolution of the members has already been passed to allow for ‘electronic voting’.
If a resolution has not been passed, please get in touch with us, and we can assist you by drafting a proposed resolution that can be put to members to permit electronic voting.
Please contact JFMLAW on (02) 9199 8597 if you need any assistance or strategies to manage your strata needs.