This Q&A about changing strata managers in NSW has been answered by Jamie Welbourne, SMS Strata Management.
Question: Our current strata manager is making it very difficult to change strata managers. Do we have the right to insist they do not attend the EGM and for the Secretary to chair the meeting?
The executive committee of our building is unhappy with our current (long term) strata manager and has been attempting to change strata managers for over a month now. Due to one piece of missing information at the AGM where this motion was being voted on, the motion was ruled “out of order” by the current Strata Manager and the vote to change strata managers did not proceed.
We are now arranging an EGM to vote on this matter. The Strata Manager is insisting they are entitled to attend this meeting and we cannot hold it without them being present. Is that correct? Do we have the right to insist they do not attend and for the Secretary to chair the meeting?
In addition to this, the Strata Manager has added a motion to our EGM Agenda that their Agency Agreement be renewed. The members of the Executive Committee (who are the ones dealing with this company) do not wish to renew this Agreement, however, there may be other owners within the building who vote for this company out of habit. Does the Strata Manager have the right to add an item to OUR EGM agenda?
Also, what action can we take if the old strata manager continues to obstruct the running of the committee by not co-operating with the handing over of documents etc?
Answer: There is no need for the outgoing manager to be at the meeting and I would use an agenda provided by the new manager.
Sounds like the outgoing manager is making it rather difficult. I suggest, if you already haven’t done so, find a replacement strata manager/ company.
Your chosen strata manager can then provide all the necessary documentation including motions and agendas as well as send out the notice of the meeting to all owners. There is no need for the outgoing manager to be at the meeting and I would use the agenda provided by the new manager.
The new manager can also draft a letter notifying your current strata manager of the situation and can attend the Special General Meeting if required to do so. A majority vote of unit owners present at the meeting is needed in order to change strata managers.
Once a decision has been reached, the new manager can notify the outgoing agent of the outcome by sending them a copy of the meeting’s minutes. The former manager will then be required to distribute a copy to all existing owners.
The newly appointed managers will start the handover and handle all essential paperwork to ensure a smooth transition.
It is important that records, documents, and any relevant information be handed over to the new management to enable them to get the show on the road.
The managing agent is the employee of the owners corporation. They can offer advice and direction, but final authority lies with the owners corporation. The owners corporation delegates the responsibilities it wants the managing agent to do on its behalf, therefore if the owners corporation or committee don’t want them to attend the meeting the manager has no right to be there. I would put this request in writing to the outgoing manager.
If the outgoing strata manages continues to be uncooperative about handing over documents, the owners corporation can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order for the agent to return the records.
This post appears in Strata News #245.
- NSW: Q&A The Procedure for Appointing a New Strata Manager
- NSW: Q&A Strata Manager Complaints and Bullying
- Q&A The Tender Process: Changing Strata Managers in NSW
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