These Q&A about the accuracy of body corporate committee meeting minutes have been supplied by Todd Garsden and Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal.
Question: What is the minimum requirement that our Body Corporate Manager has to put in our body corporate committee meeting minutes? At present, our minutes don’t include any correspondence, financial matters, or many other items.
What is the minimum requirement that our Body Corporate Manager has to put in our body corporate committee meeting minutes? At present, our minutes don’t include any correspondence, financial matters, or many other items. The results of decisions made are so brief that we don’t have any idea of the points put forward or against. We have around 50 lots and our minutes are two and a half pages long. We believe that the body corporate members are kept in the dark as to what the committee is doing.
Answer: Adjudicators have said there is no need to put forward general discussion of items.
Section 55 of the accommodation module sets out the requirements of meetings and provides that:
“The committee must ensure full and accurate minutes of its meetings are taken.”
The section then goes on to set out what that means.
Adjudicators have said there is no need to put forward general discussion of items. If owners do want to hear what that is then they have attendance rights at those meetings to be observers.
In The Cannery  QBCCMCmr 17, the adjudicator relevantly provided that:
“A minute must record a decision made by the Committee. General discussion and who said what need not be recorded at all. The minutes are not a transcript of what was said. The committee is free to discuss what it likes. However, where discussion is recorded it should be recorded fairly and accurately, which would suffice the requirement that the body corporate acts reasonably.”
In Pelican Heights  QBCCMCmr 167 the adjudicator relevantly provided that:
“Accuracy relates to the truth of what happened in the meeting or vote, rather than the truth of opinions or facts considered in the vote. The record is entitled to report what actually happened or views actually held regardless of the validity of what was done or considered.”
In relation to correspondence – it only needs to be recorded if it is tabled. In Parkwood Villas  QBCCMCmr 521 the adjudicator relevantly provided that (our emphasis):
“Correspondence or other documents should be tabled at a committee meeting (and then minuted) if a committee member (perhaps most commonly the secretary who would handle most correspondence) chooses to table it. In particular, documents would be tabled if they are the subject of discussion at the meeting. It is arguable that the mere discussion of a document amounts to its tabling such that it should be minuted if it is discussed at the meeting”.
This post appears in Strata News #255
Question: I’m questioning the accuracy of our meeting minutes as they do not include all the requirement by legislation. The other situation I am concerned about is the validity of voting outside of the committee meeting.
I am not sure whether the committee meeting or voting outside of the committee meeting are valid.
There a number of committee meeting minutes, but meetings haven’t been called and sent owners advice including the agenda.
There are also minutes that confirm the previous meeting. I’m questioning the accuracy of body corporate committee meeting minutes as they do not include all the requirement by legislation. Are the motions committee voted on valid?
The other situation I am concerned about is the validity of voting outside of the committee meeting. There are records, but notices of motions haven’t been sent to owners at the same time like to committee members. Records do not state when notices with motion have been sent to committee member and their name. Is the result of the voting on the motion valid?
Answer: I think people are much better served raising the substance of the issues voted on as opposed to attacking the manner in which it the votes were cast.
Where these arguments all ultimately get to is that technical deficiencies (if there are in fact any of those) are not worth challenging. That is because if the committee still consists of the same people, they will then just formally vote the way they did before and at the same time address whatever the technical deficiency was.
Votes outside the committee are still formal committee decisions, as much as we wrote about their overuse in 2010 (!!! yes that far ago) in this article: Claytons committee meetings.
I think people are much better served raising the substance of the issues voted on as opposed to attacking the manner in which it the votes were cast. The former is far more likely to be able to get an outcome than the latter.
This post appears in Strata News #219.
Question: I’m questioning our body corporate committee minutes of our AGM. I’ve found that although I did attend this meeting I was not included in the list of attendees of owners and committee members.
Last week I received the minutes of our Annual General Meeting and found that although I did attend this meeting I was not included in the list of attendees of owners and committee members.
Does that mean the meeting would be null and void in view of the incorrect numbers of votes recorded against each motion?
After objecting to the fact I was not named as being present in the AGM minutes and not receiving a satisfactory reply, I asked for a copy of the Attendance Register.
From this, I confirmed I had signed into the meeting with a signature against my lot number but I did not notice another column marked ‘Present’ where you were apparently required to print ‘yes’ if you were in attendance. (This is the first time this type of form has been produced).
I attended with a neighbour, she signed in as I had but she had seen the extra column and did print ‘yes’.
All other attendees only printed ‘yes’ as being present but provided no signatures. Anyone could put yes against any name and there would be no confirmation of same unless each individual wrote ‘yes’ in the presence of an authorised person. As it turned out, from sighting this attendance register, there was one person marked as present, who was not present.
When I received the email with the Attendance Register attached I was told I could lodge ‘an owner’s request to have the minutes adjusted to reflect your attendance’. Initially, I had been told – as I hadn’t printed ‘Yes’ in the present column I could not be counted.
I intend to point out to the Body Corporate Company that writing ‘Yes’ in the Present column does not make sense and I feel a signature at least is needed. I will also query the fact a person was counted who was not present.
As a result, if my name is adjusted on the Minutes as being present and also an adjustment/deletion is made of the person who was not present, does this mean the vote count would be correct?
With regard to the AGM minutes – would you please advise if they are to be on the Body Corporate letterhead or with a covering letter, on letterhead, to be professionally presented?
I also note the Minutes were not signed – is this permissible?
Answer: The minutes simply need to be a correct record of who was there and what went on.
I think the answers to all of these questions are that the minutes simply need to be a correct record of who was there and what went on. They don’t need to be signed or on anyone’s letterhead.
In terms of the actual voting, the owner should see whether they were recorded as voting on motions, even if they were not recorded as being in attendance and present. Owners can vote by voting paper and not be in attendance so if the voting paper was in, the owner’s vote would still have been cast and counted. Other than that, the minutes should simply be corrected. Mistakes happen.
This post appears in Strata News #194.
Question: What are the rules regarding closed-door discussions at committee meetings and the transparency of the body corporate committee meeting minutes in such circumstances?
Recently I attended my body corporate committee meeting. I’m not a committee member but have ensured I’ve attended the last 3 meetings (excluding the AGM). At a particular point in the last meeting, lot owners attending who weren’t committee members were asked to leave the room so the committee could discuss a by-law which I and several other lot owners are seeking to have amended or repealed.
When the body corporate committee meeting minutes were distributed to owners there was nothing mentioned in the minutes regarding the closed-door discussion or the fact that non-committee member lot owners had been asked to leave the room whilst the discussion occurred.
What are the rules regarding closed-door discussions at committee meetings and the transparency of the body corporate committee meeting minutes in such circumstances? I wrote to both our body corporate and strata manager advising I believed the minutes were erroneous and/or incomplete.
Answer: At a minimum, there should be a record that discussion about the issue occurred.
At a minimum, there should be a record that discussion about the issue occurred. Subject to what the issue of concern it is may be appropriate to leave the decision out of the minutes, but I think the chances of that are remote.
What the committee discusses, and decides, should be a matter of community record – even if the subject is controversial. Ultimately, proper decisions on matters of substance are reserved for owners in general meeting anyway.
This post appears in Strata News #113.
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