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  • #60214
    Mailbox
    Flatchatter

    G’day.  I’m catching up on some recent Podcast episodes, and I was struck when Jimmy said that the secretary is responsible to keep the strata roll updated.  As a secretary myself, I was never aware of this and it made me aware that I never got any information about what my responsibilities are as secretary.  Nor did any of our other office bearers: we just make it up as best we can.  Is there anywhere we can look to find out what our responsibilities are?
    I live in a small block (12 units).

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #60220
    Flame Tree (Qld)
    Flatchatter

    You likely have appointed a Strata Manager who will do most of this stuff for you – usually they will handle the Secretary, Chairman, and Treasurer roles and issue levy notices, help set the budgets, deal with prickly owner issues and other what-not that you pay them to do. They should also be advising you on things you are unsure of.

    As a volunteer in a service role you take on general decision making for the benefit of other owners. And that requires you to have an understanding of your state’s Act to help guide you. You definitely can’t just do what you choice on a whim if it goes against the related law and if another owner challenges your decisions on some aspect with authorities you are unlikely to be held personally liable but you can be over-ruled.

    #60229
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    How much the committee does and how much is delegated to a manager can vary from one place to another. Where some or all of the functions of the office holders are delegated to a manager, the duty of the office holder is to satisfy themselves that those functions are being carried out properly. For example, as a treasurer, I don’t have to do the banking, liaising with auditors or keep the accounts but I do regularly look over the accounts on-line to make sure that various expenses have been charged against the correct lines of the budget and that there is no income or expenditure that differs from what I expected. I prepare a draft budget for the committee to consider before it recommends it to the AGM for approval but I know that many places leave that to the managing agent as well.

    #60230
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    You likely have appointed a Strata Manager who will do most of this stuff for you – usually they will handle the Secretary, Chairman, and Treasurer roles and issue levy notices, help set the budgets, deal with prickly owner issues and other what-not that you pay them to do.

    That is a big assumption.  Many larger buildings have chairs, secretaries and treasurers as well as strata managers and many, many smaller blocks don’t have a strata manager at all.

    And, yes, some strata schemes do delegate the office-bearers’ duties to the strata manager,  but many don’t.

    On the question of Secretaries’ specific duties Fair Trading’s Strata Living Guide says this:

    • Secretary: arranges meetings by providing advance notice of them, prepares and distributes meeting agendas and minutes, and maintains the strata roll.

    The NSW strata Act says:

    43   Functions of secretary of owners corporation

    The functions of a secretary of an owners corporation include the following—

    (a)  to prepare and distribute minutes of meetings of the owners corporation and submit a motion for confirmation of the minutes of any meeting of the owners corporation at the next such meeting,

    (b)  to give on behalf of the owners corporation and the strata committee of the owners corporation notices required to be given under this Act,

    (c)  to maintain the strata roll,

    (d)  to enable the inspection of documents on behalf of the owners corporation in accordance with this Act,

    (e)  to answer communications addressed to the owners corporation,

    (f)  to convene meetings of the strata committee and (apart from its first annual general meeting) of the owners corporation,

    (g)  to attend to matters of an administrative or secretarial nature in connection with the exercise of functions by the owners corporation or the strata committee of the owners corporation,

    (h)  any other functions conferred on the secretary under any other Act or law.

    I strongly recommend you and your fellow owners download the Strata Living Guide from the link above and acquaint yourself with your rights and responsibilities, as they are today.

     

     

    #60246
    Flame Tree (Qld)
    Flatchatter

    Hi Jimmy, yes correct. My proviso was inferred in my introductory words ‘You likely have appointed a Strata Manager…’ and therefor: if not, you are on your own. Of course, having a Strata Manager doesn’t absolve you of the roles a committee member/s has volunteered to understand, and undertake. Thanks.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by .
    #60255
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Just another point that some people don’t realise: if the committee isn’t happy with what the strata manager is doing with their delegated powers, they can take them back just by holding a committee meeting and agreeing to do so.

    #60258
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Just another point that some people don’t realise: if the committee isn’t happy with what the strata manager is doing with their delegated powers, they can take them back just by holding a committee meeting and agreeing to do so.

    Agreed and even if they are generally happy with the manager, a committee might prefer to do some particular task themselves on some particular occasion, in which case they can tell the manager ‘Thanks, but we’ll handle this one ourselves.’

    #60272
    magpie
    Flatchatter

    From bitter and painful experience I recommend that anyone who is a member of a body corporate committee read the strata living guide that Jimmy has noted above. If you are in Vic the consumer affairs site has thorough information for body corps including the roles of committee members. If you need more info their contact people are extremely helpful. You can take control of work in neglected blocks but remember that you need to instruct the manager to act for you. Your works committee, by meeting, taking minutes, then circulating those minutes to all owners, can get work done. Be careful to keep the committee in good communication as well in case one member goes rogue and contacts other owners with misinformation of planned works. It can be very difficult to right a sinking ship so best to be proactive and keep owners informed. It can seem like a lot of thankless work if the majority of owners do not seem to care, never attend an AGM, do not reply to email, etc.

    #60274
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    …Be careful to keep the committee in good communication as well in case one member goes rogue and contacts other owners with misinformation of planned works…

    Yes. I have seen that happen too.

    #60275
    philjohnk
    Flatchatter

    I recently had occasion to explain to a committee member that the topic we were discussing was mentioned in detail in the Management Statement.  He then asked me if I had a spare copy because he didn’t have one!!!  It beggars belief that anyone would take on committee responsibilities without making themselves aware of those responsibilities – it ain’t that difficult!  As Jimmy advises there’s plenty of information in the Act or at Fair Trading NSW.

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