The administration of an owners corporation may be undertaken on behalf of all the lot owners by a committee. This consists of a group of owners elected at each Annual General Meeting who represent all the lot owners of the strata scheme, and is charged with making decisions on all matters which confront the owners corporation. These include the control, maintenance and repair of the common property. The committee also has the responsibility of enforcing the bylaws, and has the ability to make new ones. Depending on the state or territory, the committee is called an executive committee, managing committee, committee of management, the committee, or council.
Must a strata scheme have a committee?
Yes, except in South Australia and Tasmania where it is optional, and in Victoria where it is optional if there are 12 lots or less.
How do I join the owners committee?
By attending the Annual General Meeting where you can be voted in. All owners corporation committees must hold an annual meeting which is open to all lot owners.
Can I choose not to be part of the committee?
Positions on the committee are obtained through election at the Annual Meeting of lot owners. You don’t have to nominate yourself for a position. You also don’t have to attend the meeting. However, given you are a part owner, it is in your best interests to participate as much as possible.
I live in a strata apartment/townhouse. How do find out who manages it so I can contact them?
A strata scheme may be either managed by a professional strata manager or self managed.
If managed by a strata manager — they implement the decisions of the owners corporation, which consists of all the lot owners. The decisions are usually made on their behalf by a committee (a group of elected owners, or their proxies). However, some small strata schemes may not have a committee. In such cases, decisions are typically made by all owners, with one or more elected owners performing the duties of Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary.
If self-managed — this is usually through a committee of elected owners, working on behalf of the owners corporation. However, as previously mentioned, some small strata schemes may not have a committee, with the management decisions typically made by all owners, with one or more elected owners performing the administrative duties.
If the strata scheme is managed by a strata manager (who may be either a self-employed person, or someone who works for a strata management company), their name, their company and contact details will be on the minutes of the committee meetings. If you are a lot owner you must be sent these, and a copy of the minutes will be also attached to Contract of Sale of your lot. If you have any issues with your strata scheme the strata manager should be your first point of contact.
If the strata scheme is self-managed, the names and contact details of the committee titleholders (Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer) will be on the minutes. If there is no committee, and no meeting minutes, you will need to ask the other owners in your strata scheme who the go-to person is.
If you are renting and have an issue concerning the management of the block, you should contact the office of the real estate agent from whom you are renting, or your landlord if renting directly. They may contact the management on your behalf.
How do I find out who the members of the management committee are, and who the Chairperson and Treasurer are?
Their names will be in the committee meeting minutes.
How do I contact the owners corporation directly?
All owners corporations are required to keep a letterbox and/or a sign displaying their current contact details.
How do I obtain the phone number/email address/postal address of members of the committee?
Due to privacy laws you only have the legal right to obtain the postal address of lot owners, which you can request from the strata manager, or if the scheme is self-managed, the committee.
Records of the committee (which include the postal addresses of lot owners) must be made available for inspection by lot owners. If the strata scheme is managed by a strata manager, the committee (not the lot owner) may be charged a supervisory fee by the strata manager for arranging this. That’s because they need to supervise the viewing to ensure privacy laws aren’t breached in terms of allowing you to view the email addresses and phone numbers of other lot owners without their permission.
Nevertheless, in smaller self-managed schemes, it’s not uncommon for owners to agree to share their phone numbers and/or email addresses, but this should not be expected.
I don’t know what’s going on with the management of our block. How do I get more information?
Read the minutes of the committee meetings. You can also ask questions of the strata manager if there is one.