A Strata Committee is elected at the AGM to represent the Owners Corporation in day-to-day decision making. Committee Members can be elected from lot owners or lot owners’ proxies who nominate to be elected.
Committees in Victoria are obligated to act with a duty of care and diligence under the Owners Corporations Act 2006. Committee are tasked with making decision in relation all matters over which it has delegated authority – these namely pertain to the areas of repairs, maintenance, insurance renewal, enforce of OC rules, change of OC management companies etc.
Is a Strata Committee Mandatory?
In Victoria, a Strata Committee is mandatory if there are 10 or more occupiable lots within the Owners Corporation.
An owners corporation of less than 10 lots may choose to elect a Committee.
The Composition of a Strata Committee
Lot owners or lot owners’ proxies can nominate to be Committee Members – noting that there can only be one member of the Committee from any one lot. Unless resolved otherwise by the owners corporation, Committees are to have between at least 3 and no more than 7 Members.
The nomination to be a Committee Member can made in writing or orally at the AGM. If there are more than 7 nominees to the Committee then a ballot is held to elect who should be elected as Committee Members.
In Victoria, there are 2 designated roles within the Committee – the Chairperson and the Secretary.
The Chairperson has additional responsibilities with authorising the Minutes of Committee/General Meetings, approving insurance renewals, and exercise the casting vote when required. The Secretary is responsible for preparing notice/correspondence for the Committee, taking minutes (in absence of an OC manager), maintaining records, and obtaining quotes for projects.
What are the Functions and Responsibilities of a Strata Committee?
In Victoria, the majority of the time it is the professional owners corporation manager who oversees the daily management of OC maintenance, repairs, dispute resolution, and OC finances. The owners corporation manager will seek input from the Committee on matters such as:
- When to issue breach notices of OC rules;
- What action to take with regards to overdue OC levies;
- Which quotes to go with for repairs and maintenance;
- The approval of payments on behalf of the owners corporation.
The Interaction Between Strata Committees and Owners Corporation
The owners corporation manager is a paid professional employed to administer the owners corporation however can’t technically make all the decisions for the OC. The manager is most of the time requiring the input, decision making, and approval of the Committee before undertaking tasks.
Good governance structure (especially in Tier 1 and 2 OCs) is vital for a well functioning Committee. Committee decisions can be made either via a ballot or resolutions at a Committee Meeting. Committee ballots can made via a mailed form or via electronic means. A lot of the OC management companies we work with implemented voting through Committee Members clicking a button in a voting form.
What are the Benefits of a Strata Committee?
The advantage to any building and owners corporation in having a good Committee is the prompt response to issue and a streamlined decision-making process.
A really good Strata Committee knows their building and their residents – and they know that their approach needs to be tailor to the strata property management of their community.
How to Set Up a Strata Committee
These are the factors to consider when setting up a Strata Committee:
- The legal framework
- Determination of eligibility
- Calling for nominations
- Convening and running the AGM which includes electing the Committee.
- Provide guidance on best practices, the importance of effective communication, and the selection of committee members.
A collaborative and proactive Committee often equates to a well operating Owners Corporation. The key to a successful Committee are perhaps underpinned by these 3 factors:
- Selection of Committee Members;
- Effective communication between Committee Members and with the OC manager; and
- Adopting best practices, proper delegation of authority and spending limits, and setting a code of conduct.
Fundamentally, owners corporations in Victoria wouldn’t function without the input and collaboration of Strata / OC Committees. Owners and residents may not always agree with OC Committees however it’s always important to remember that they volunteer their time for the greater good.