Forum: Sub-committees subterfuge and secrets


Imagine, you are sitting in on a strata committee meeting, unable to speak, and the chair gets to an agenda item that says something vague like “Parking Sub-committee”.

The chair then says “the parking sub-committee has agreed to allow the exclusive use of visitor parking for committee members’ cars – all those in favour?”

The committee votes unanimously to members’ advantage and the chair moves on to the next item.  You sit stewing in silence, consoling yourself with the thought that other owners will be up in arms when they read it in the minutes.

But then all that appears in the minutes is a line item saying that the committee agreed unanimously to a parking sub-committee proposal regarding visitor parking.

Could this possibly happen?  Yes, indeed.  It’s not strictly legal and it could certainly be challenged at a tribunal, but it’s not strictly illegal either. 

The item has been put on the agenda and the vote has been recorded in the minutes. The problem is that the intent has been obscured and the discussions hidden behind closed doors.

Sub-committees can be a valuable resource for strata committees.  They expand the knowledge pool of the committee and introduce would-be committee members to the workings of the scheme.

But, because they require neither agendas nor minutes, they can also be a smokescreen for the nefarious deeds of self-interested committee members.  A simple way to prevent that is outlined HERE.

Also in this week’s forum:

  • Can the strata committee just take common property and give or sell it to commercial interests?  That’s HERE.
  • What are some good questions to ask a prospective new strata manager? And should we be suspicious of an introductory discount?  That’s HERE.
  • Who’s responsible when apartment’s fuse box blows up?  That’s HERE.
  • Who’s responsible when the tiles in a courtyard start sinking? That’s HERE.
  • Are the office-bearers of a committee chair, secretary and treasurer – allowed to tell the strata manager only to take instructions from them?  That’s HERE.

Finally, there’s another innovation on the Forum this week – the long-awaited “reply” button.

If someone makes a point you want to address directly, you click on “quote” above their post, their post is duplicated at the top of your reply, and you cut out the bits that are irrelevant.

It’s very exciting, although it does lend itself a little too easily to tit-for-tat arguments, so use it wisely, Grasshoppers.

If you’re going to quote someone, please edit out the bits of their post that you aren’t replying to directly, or we get pages and pages of the same stuff repeated over and over again.  And if you just want to address their whole post, hit “reply” as usual.

But mostly, folks, have fun. The Flat Chat Forum is living proof that someone out there is having a worse time than you. Log in and ask or answer a question yourself.

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