By Phillip Leaman

6 July 2020

It can be a thankless job, serving as a Committee Member of an Owners Corporation for a residential or commercial property.

 

Sometimes a proactive Committee Chairperson may think that making unilateral decisions to further the interests of the Owners Corporation is the most practical and quick thing to do.

 

But beware. Committees are democratic groups. A Committee must hold Committee Meetings and ballots to make decisions, and must do so by majority vote of Committee Members at a meeting or ballot with a quorum (50%) of Committee Members participating.

 

In Victoria, Committees must elect a Chairperson, but that Chairperson does not have any ‘additional powers’ from an ordinary Committee Member except for:

 

  1. The power to convene Committee meetings;
  2. At a Committee Meeting or general meeting, if the voting is equal, the Chairperson has the choice of exercising a second / casting vote – if the votes are equal and the Chairperson chooses not to exercise a second / casting vote – the motion fails;
  3. The power to convene annual general meetings or special general meetings or ballot votes of all lot owners;
  4. The ability to chair an annual general meeting unless the lot owners elect another lot owner or the manager to chair the meeting;
  5. Witnessing the Owners Corporation’s common seal being applied to an owners corporation certificate;
  6. To receive handover of the funds and records from a former manager (but only if there is no elected Secretary of the Committee).

 

The above Chairperson powers are the only ‘additional’ powers that a Chairperson has. The Chairperson does not have any other general power to make decisions on behalf of the Committee unless:

 

  1. The Owners Corporation has passed a resolution at a general meeting to delegate certain powers and functions to the Chairperson; or
  2. The Owners Corporation has by way of instrument, executed with the common seal in the presence of two lot owners, delegated certain functions and powers to the Chairperson; or
  3. The Committee has by way of instrument delegated its functions or powers to the Chairperson (in this case the Chairperson must be a lot owner).

 

A Committee has the power by majority vote to revoke the appointment of a Chairperson. In that case, the Chairperson still remains a Committee Member until the next Committee election. Also, in order for a Chairperson, or any Committee Member for that matter, to be eligible to remain as a Committee Member, it must not be in arrears to the Owners Corporation for any amount.

 

VCAT has the power under section 165(1)(h)(i) of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 to appoint or revoke the appointment of a Chairperson. However, such an application will likely require evidence that the Chairperson has acted dishonestly, in bad faith or failed to exercise due care of diligence, or made improper use of their position to gain, directly or indirectly an advantage for itself or any other person.

 

Tisher Liner FC Law have specialist expertise in providing owners corporations in Victoria with easy to understand legal advice. If you would like a quote please email the details of your matter to ocenquiry@tlfc.com.au.

Related Articles

View All
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

Owners Corporation legal case review- Air Conditioners and Owners Corporations Consent

Legal arguments not enough to get around the requirement to get your Owners Corporation’s consent to install...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

About to send a grumpy email to a Owners Corporation Manager? Take a breath and see our tips first

See our video on tips for lot owners in dealing with the Owners Corporations’ manager and committees: For an...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

9 Tips for Owners Corporation Committees in Victoria to Get Independent Legal Advice from Tisher Liner FC Law

Owners Corporation Committees are legally entitled to obtain expert advice about the Owners Corporation’s functions...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

Combustible Cladding – Partial Removal not accepted for Malvern Building

The Building Appeals Board has rejected a Malvern Owners Corporation’s application for a determination that...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

Unlawful Removal of Owners Corporation Funds by Manager: Wyndham Harbour A2 Pty Ltd v Your Body Corporate Pty Ltd

The full decision can be found here The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal considered the following issues: 1...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

For Transparency’s Sake: Respect the Rights of an Eligible Person to Inspect Owners Corporation Records Free of Charge

Owners Corporations in Victoria have a legal duty to make the records of the owners corporation available for...
Read More
Construction / Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

How the Lacrosse Tower fire prompted a shake-up of the Australian Building and Construction Industry

The State Government has committed to directly fund half of this $600 million package, and plans to introduce changes...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

Multiple Owners Corporations: Ever wondered how they are meant to operate?

The concept is easy, one plan of subdivision, creates different types of common property areas, and multiple owners...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata / Property & Development

Looking behind an Owners Corporation’s ‘special resolution’ to authorise legal proceedings

At an interlocutory hearing, the developer asked VCAT to dismiss the Owners Corporations’ proceedings on the basis...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata / Construction

“No Permit Building Work” in Victoria: When are owner legal claims ‘time-barred’ from being commenced?

However, there are limited situations where building work is carried out without a building permit:- Either the...
Read More
Owners Corporations / Owners Corporations & Strata

Combustible Cladding – VCAT’s Decision in the Docklands, Lacrosse Tower Fire Case

The following fact sheet provides a summary of the Lacrosse Tower decision: LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd “Docklands...
Read More