Flat Chat Strata Forum Strata Committees Elections Current Page

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  • #59386
    sydney23
    Flatchatter

    Hi,

    In our building [fewer that the maximum number of owners] nominated themselves to be on the strata committee. All these years whoever nominated themselves, got automatically selected to be on the committee as By Laws  allow up to nine people to be on committee in NSW.
    For the first time we had a ballot  (emailed) asking owners, how many members they prefer to be on committee and owners (less than half the owners voted as most of the units are investment properties) chose [half the usual number] and voted for them making the remaining half ineligible to be on the committee.
    I feel this was planned by few owners and existing committee members so that, they can exclude others. This was done by door knocking and convincing few owners. Please see attached election form. When I questioned Strata Manager, she told me it’s the standard procedure. But we never had an issue like all these years in building.

    I want to go to Fair Trading to resolve this. Do you think I have a chance here?

    • This topic was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by .
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  • #59391
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I think you may have a case for having the election declared invalid and the status quo of the committee retained until such times as there is a valid election.

    The Fair Trading website on strata meetings says: “An election cannot involve a pre-meeting electronic vote.”

    There are other conditions attached to elections, including that the names of the candidates for whom each owner is voting must be written on a blank sheet of paper. The reason for that is to avoid incumbents giving themselves prominence on a voting paper.

    The logistics of applying election rules about nominations and voting processes to an electronic meeting are mind-boggling, which probably explains why you can’t have an election online, by mail or by email.

    It would seem to me that the active members of the committee have falsely created a situation where an election was required (by persuading owners to reduce the number of seats) then conducted an unnecessary and possibly invalid election to achieve their aims.

    The strata manager may have gone along with this as they will often go with the power group in a strata scheme because that secures their contracts for the future.

    I think you might well get a result at Fair Trading, although you may have to push this to the Tribunal to have the election rescinded.

    One other thought, with the power group on the committee having persuaded everyone to reduce the size of the committee on an invalid vote, what are the chances that if you eventually get to have a proper election, they won’t just do the same.  Or did this require a blind-side to be effective?

    FYI: You would probably raise the issue with Fair Trading under Section 24  of the Act which says:

    24   Order invalidating resolution of owners corporation

    (1)  The Tribunal may, on application by an owner or first mortgagee of a lot in a strata scheme, make an order invalidating any resolution of, or election held by, the persons present at a meeting of the owners corporation if the Tribunal considers that the provisions of this Act or the regulations have not been complied with in relation to the meeting.

    Good luck.

     

    #59416
    sydney23
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank You for your reply.

    I will proceed to Fair Trading and Tribunal as I got nothing to lose. At least I MAY have a chance to prove how wrong they are.

    Secondly I’ve requested Strata Manager to release the committee ballot results forms, so that I can understand what is happening. But she wants me to get an approval from committee, to release the ballot result forms. I wrote to committee twice but they are not responding to my emails and she doesn’t want to release them until approved by committee.

    I wonder does she really need their approval to release them? I have raised few other building issues but they are not replying deliberately. Are they allowed to sit dumb and not reply? What can I do to make them reply?

    Thank You very much.

    #59429
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    As an owner you are entitled to see all documents relating to the owners corporation and unless this was agreed in advance to be a secret ballot, you can see the votes.

    I would immediately seek mediation at Fair Trading, as a precursor to action at NCAT against the strata manager.

    As far as the committee dragging their heels, Section 232 (2) of the Act sets a limit of two months after which non-response will be taken to be a refusal by the committee to fulfill their duties. That, or a straight rejection, can then be challenged at the Tribunal.

    #59536
    spmanager
    Flatchatter

    Hi

    Jimmy covered it well.

    No committee can be elected electronically. Must be face to face meeting or a ZOOM type meeting.

    Your an owner; the committee can’t decide if you are allowed information (unless its a secret ballot) and thats is set out in the Act so not a committee or owners corporation call.

    The motion to elect a committee is invalid, as it was not face to face or ZOOM.  So there was no legal vote, there was no vote to set the limit on the committee.

    #60060
    sydney23
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    I am still waiting for a call from Fair Trading. Just want a little bit more clarification until then.

    We had the ballot emailed to all owners before the Annual General Meeting asking them “Please select how many members you would like first then tick which owners you would like to be elected to the committee based on the number you have selected”  please see the attached ballot form.

    In the Annual general meeting(ZOOM MEETING) strata manager announced only 4 of the 8 nominated members were chosen by owners and wrapped up the meeting after discussing other issues.

    As discussed earlier,this was planned by few existing committee members and they convinced/manipulated/influenced the lot owners to vote only for 4 out of 8 nominated people. It came as a shock to 4 of us as we didn’t expect something like this happening. If it was done face to face or by raising hands, nobody would have have dared to this.

    To clarify SPMANAGER’s post, we did have a zoom meeting and ballot results were announced in the Annual General Meeting. So do I have a chance here for a case?

     

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by .
    #60066
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Unless Fair trading has changed the law (and I don’t think they have) it seems you can’t have a strata committee election electronically.  Now, what this means is that the committee remains in place until such times as an election is properly conducted, which may not help your situation at all.

    But unless I am reading this entirely wrongly (which is always possible) the committee/strata manager has exacerbated the fault by providing a pre-prepared list.

    You could challenge this via mediation at Fair Trading if you think it’s worth it and then use the result of  that process as evidence in a more concerted effort to remove the committee or some members at some point in the future.

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