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  • #74786
    WoodWalker
    Flatchatter

      (10 unit complex in Canberra)
      Hi,

      What are the rules about including the wording of a motion in the notice (or agenda) of a General Meeting?

      Does it need to contain the exact wording of the motion to charge 3 owners the total cost of the general meeting ($2586.09) as a section 31 cost? i.e. work necessary because of an owner’s “wilful or negligent act or omission or … a breach of its rules”

      The background:
      In 2023 three owners requested a general meeting to get an update on the financial operation of the OC especially recovery of about $40k due to the bankruptcy of an owner. The strata committee responded by inviting an interestate lawyer and distributed a meeting notice with an agenda containing the following item:
      Consideration of cost recovery from [the strata scheme] members generating costs for [the strata scheme].

      After some shenanigans (e.g. multiple votes on different versions of motions), the May General Meeting passed a motion to charge the full cost of the general meeting to the 3 owners. No more was heard and 5 months later the 3 owners receive an invoice for $862.03 (total of $2586.09) due 1 day before the AGM. We suspect that the timing was a strategy to prevent us from voting in the AGM. We paid the cost, with annotation that “This payment should not be construed, in any way, as acceptance of a debt to The Owners … or diminish our capacity to seek a refund in future.” The AGM refused to accept the minutes of the May meeting due to errors in the minutes and the SM refusal to distribute the audio recording of the meeting as unanimously agreed by all owners.

      The 3 owers are now about to put a motion to the OC to recind the motion and refund the $2586 paid to the OC in Dec 2023. We now have a much more sympathetic set of owners and (in our opinion) a much more professional strata manager.

      Does anyone have any suggestions for strategies to get the motion rescinded and the money refunded.

      Keep warm,
      Woodwalker

      • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by .
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    • #74794
      Sir Humphrey
      Strataguru

        I think the Unit Titles (Management) Act only requires the text of a motion to be included with the notice of a meeting if it is a resolution requiring an unopposed or unanimous resolution (Schedule 3.7 (1)(d)).  However, I think it is very poor practice not to include the text of every motion.

        It seems odd that 3 owners out of 10 would be billed for the cost of a meeting when the UTMA has a provision that 25% of owners can petition the EC to call a general meeting. I would not think that you could be billed for doing something that the Act permits you (30%) to do: “… if the executive committee of an owners corporation receives a written request (a meeting request), stating the matters to be considered at the meeting, from people who are entitled to vote on all motions for units whose combined unit entitlement is at least 1/4 of the total unit entitlement in the units plan. … The executive committee must hold a general meeting, by notice under section 3.6, within 28 days after the day it receives the meeting request.” (UTMA Schedule 3.5)

        As for a motion to rescind a previous motion, that seems relatively straightforward: Motion X: That the owners corporation by Ordinary Resolution, agrees to rescind motion X of the general meeting of (date) and reimburse $862.03 each to the owners of units X, Y and Z.

        I assume the initial resolution was an ordinary resolution. Generally a resolution to rescind a previous resolution requires the same class of resolution unless the Act provides otherwise.

        All that said, with only 10 owners, and if the 3 owners wanted an update on a cost recovery action, was it not possible to just informally ask the members of the EC how things were going? Were they not forthcoming? Was it suspected that they were not acting and this was a move to force some action?  It sounds like there might have been more to this story.

        #74806
        WoodWalker
        Flatchatter
        Chat-starter

          Thanks Sir Humphery.

          Your suggestion is a good one. Given that 25% of members requesting a General Meeting to discuss an issue is a provision of the Act, it (probably) should not be regarded as a “billable offence” under section 31 i.e. “a wilful or negligent act or omission or … a breach of its rules”.

          All that said, with only 10 owners, and if the 3 owners wanted an update on a cost recovery action, was it not possible to just informally ask the members of the EC how things were going? Were they not forthcoming? Was it suspected that they were not acting and this was a move to force some action? It sounds like there might have been more to this story.

          There was much more to the story (as there almost always is). We asked but did not receive any information. The Act requires the EC to monitor the financial operation of the OC, but as far as we were aware it had no such oversight, or if they did, it was not communicated to other owners.

          We are now in a much better place.

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