Strata Committee Member Voting.
The chairperson of any meeting should consult with the treasurer (or Strata Managing Agent) to understand who is financial and unfinancial (i.e. whether or not any contributions or levies are owing to the owners corporation or community scheme) for them to preside at the meeting and make determinations properly.
The source of truth is the financial records – not the attendees’ declaration (after all, when people are in arrears, they usually don’t know it).
Functions of the Chairperson
Section 42 of the Strata Schemes Management Act clarifies the functions of the chairperson, being:
(a) to preside at meetings of the owners corporation and the strata committee of the owners corporation, and
(b) to make determinations as to quorums and procedural matters at meetings of the owners corporation and the strata committee of the owners corporation.
Meeting Procedures – who is entitled to vote?
Schedule 2 of the Strata Schemes Management Act sets out the Meeting Procedures of Strata Committees.
- Clause 7 requires that a strata committee meeting notice must include a detailed agenda (with all the motions to be considered).
- Clause 8(1) requires the chairperson to preside at any meeting at which they are present (and clause 8(2) allows the committee to appoint another member if the chairperson is not present).
- Clause 9(4) excludes a member of the strata committee from being entitled to vote on any motion if:
- they are unfinancial as of the date that the notice of the meeting was given, and
- they have not paid the amounts owed by the time of the meeting.
- Clause 14 clarifies that a motion can only be moved by a person entitled to vote on it.
Note: if an owner nominated a strata committee member, the question becomes whether the owner who nominated them is financial.
The validity of decisions
Suppose there was an error with a vote count and declaration by the chairperson. In that case, it might not necessarily change the outcome of the decision.
For example, if four votes were cast in favour, one was against, and one was invalid (e.g. they were unfinancial), the outcome would be the same anyway as it is still 3 to 1.
The reason is that under section 24 of the Strata Schemes Management Act, the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal can make orders invalidating resolutions. However, section 24(3) states:
The Tribunal may refuse to make an order under this section only if it considers—
(a) that the failure to comply with the provisions of this Act or the regulations, or of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015, did not adversely affect any person, and
(b) that compliance with the provisions would not have resulted in a failure to pass the resolution or affected the result of the election.
The short answer
The chairperson of any meeting should consult with the Treasurer (or Strata Managing Agent) to understand who is financial and unfinancial for them to preside at the meeting and make determinations properly.
If a strata committee member is unfinancial when the notice of the meeting was given, and they had not paid the amounts owed by the meeting, they are not entitled to vote.
One must also bear in mind that strata committee members are nominated by owners (in most cases, the owner nominates themselves), so the question is whether the owner that gave that person the right to be a committee member is financial.