Managing an Owners Corporation in Light of COVID-19

Introduction – Managing an Owners Corporation

You may be wondering what your obligations are in the current climate when it comes to managing an owners corporation. Although the situation is rapidly changing, ongoing management requirements mean many strata managers are being inundated with novel issues on a daily basis.

We have compiled our views on some of the most pressing issues in the current health crisis.

Can you have non-contact general and committee meetings?

Section 80 of the Owners Corporation Act 2006 permits a lot owner to attend a meeting by teleconference, proxy or other prescribed manner. This does not specifically include a manager who may be engaged to chair a meeting under s79(1). To circumvent this, you can attend the location of the meeting with the other attendees phoning in or emailing. Given an AGM must take place at least once every 15 months, consider whether the meeting can be postponed for any schemes.

A meeting that takes place by teleconference or other means still requires compliance with notice requirements, including notice of how the meeting will be run and instructions on how to vote on any resolutions.

Committee meetings do not require a resolution to be held via teleconference and indeed, often already are, given the committee’s broad powers under s112(11) to regulate their own affairs. Teleconferencing is permitted under s112(4). A committee resolution can be made by ballot (which can be in writing under s111) or another method under s112(2)(b), although the regulations do not prescribe any other methods. Section 112(1) deems a committee member who participates in a meeting via teleconference or other manner to have been present in person.

How do you vote?

Section 92(1) permits voting to be done alternatively than by a show of hands. Teleconferencing is listed as a non-contact option and conceivably online voting platforms, email and skype are all acceptable. A resolution under s92 authorising the nominated voting method must be passed, which can be done by the committee.

The approved proxy form appoints a proxy to ‘attend, speak and vote in person’ on behalf of another member. S 92(6) deems a committee member who participates in a meeting via teleconference or other manner to have been present in person.

Emergency repairs

Given the current government directives in place, you may face push back if you seek access to a lot or building for repairs. Section 50 of the Act empowers an owners corporation to authorise a person to enter a lot or building to carry out repairs or maintenance. Emergency repairs are limited to an interruption to an essential service, an urgent leak or a structural issue likely to affect the immediate safety of a building or person1. If repairs can be postponed, it may be prudent to do so.

Can you limit short stay accommodation in light of Covid-19?

No doubt some committee members will approach you for questions limiting short stay accommodation in light of the Covid-19 virus. Unless there is some change to the law because of the Covid-19 virus, there is presently no way to limit short stay during this time. However, given the virus has effectively shuttered tourism, this may not be an issue.

Takeaways

There are many issues which will continue to arise with the development of this pandemic. Should you wish to discuss a specific concern about managing an owners corporation, we invite you to contact us directly.

If you would like further advice on owners corporation management matters, Frank can be contacted by email at JCollier@moray.com.au or by telephone +61 3 9600 0877, Moray Agnew https://www.moray.com.au/ 

 

The content in this paper is intended only to provide a general overview. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute investment nor legal advice. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

 

Time to Change Strata Management Companies But Not Sure How to?

Strata Consultants Melbourne has been helping and guiding Committees on how to change owners corporation management companies since January 2014. We guide you on how to change body corporate management company and everything is done according to the body corporate rules and regulations. Speak to a Strata Consultant about changing owners corporation managers on 1300 917 848.

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