These lot owners from QLD are wondering about body corporate voting rules. Frank Higginson and Todd Garsden, Hynes Legal provides the following responses.
Question: We are looking for information about the body corporate voting rules for a committee at an AGM who was elected without counting votes.
A committee, at an AGM, was elected without counting votes. Two people were nominated for Chairperson and two people for Treasurer. The same person stood for both positions but was ruled out by the current Chairperson because he was not financial at the time of lodging the nomination papers. This then affected all voting for the other positions on the committee. The majority of lot owners at the AGM asked for this to be reversed and a new election to be held.
To keep this brief can a committee that was not elected (votes not Counted) be removed and a new election made. What would the body corporate voting rules be and what would be required?
Answer: It is the same process to change the committee regardless of whether there was a ballot or not.
It is the same process to change the committee regardless of whether there was a ballot or not. An ordinary resolution at a general meeting can remove or replace any committee member. So if the committee is not supportive of calling that EGM an owner would need to consider requisitioning one (which needs 25% of owners to sign a letter of support).
This post appears in Strata News #223.
Question: The body corporate manager and current committee members are advising lot owners on “how to vote”. This does not sound like it will produce an unbiased result. What are the body corporate voting rules about this?
I have recently moved into an “over 50’s Strata Title apartment in Southport, Qld. The AGM is looming shortly and owners have received a mountain of paperwork including two secret ballot papers (blue) as well as the normal voting paper (yellow). This is confusing at best of times, more so if residents are sometimes well over 50.
The Body Corporate manager for the units has made herself available to assist residents with any problems they may need to have clarified. I feel this is a great help and very reasonable.
However, I would like to voice my concern that current committee members have also been at this event and I have seen more than one case of a committee member folding and putting a yellow paper into its envelope and sealing it.
Although I have NO idea what other involvement (if any) the committee members have had or if they have identified themselves as “just helpers” or “part of the committee”, I have a strong concern that this situation could well lead to collusion.
Are there any recommendations or rulings on this? What are the body corporate voting rules? Having ONLY a body corporate manager and current committee members advise on “how to vote” does not sound like it will produce an unbiased result. Could you please enlighten me.
Answer: Lot owners must be able to exercise their votes freely and enthusiastically.
Where it gets to is that owners must be able to exercise their votes freely and enthusiastically. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be assisted to do so, but there is a fine line between that and being stood over by interested parties.
We wrote a full newsletter on what the meant here: Topping up management rights agreements – the contest continues.
Anyone, including the current committee, is entitled to lobby owners to vote in a particular way. There is nothing that can prevent that.
In terms of the paperwork, while it may be confusing I very much suspect that it is what the BCCM Act requires, so while it would be better if things could be simplified, I suspect it is not possible.
This post appears in Strata News #221.
Question: Do I vote for every person standing for election, or just for the people I want? To comply with body corporate voting rules, should each box be marked/ticked?
We reside in Queensland. Our voting paper for the election of Body Corporate committee advised that there were 6 candidates for 5 positions. It did not state whether each box should be marked/ticked.
To comply with body corporate voting rules, does an authorised voter have to vote for every person standing, or just for the people they want? I have received some unofficial advice saying you only have to mark the boxes of whom you want, not everyone. I think this is a Federal law also.
Answer: In Queensland, you can vote for as few or as many people as you want.
This has nothing to do with federal or state voting laws. Those are parliamentary election specific.
In Queensland, you can vote for as few or as many people as you want.
If there was a Melbourne Cup field of candidates you could vote for all 24. You could also vote just for one.
What happens at the end of the days is all of the candidates have their votes tallied and the person with the most votes is guaranteed the first spot and so on down until all the positions are filled. If the last spot or spots are tied, then the position is determined by a method of chance determined by the meeting. My experience is that when it is two candidates it is a coin toss and where it is more we usually draw straws!
This post appears in Strata News #176.
Question: Can a Body Corporate Chairman tell other owners how to vote at the upcoming AGM? What are the body corporate voting rules here?
We have a situation where our Body Corporate Chairman has informed the other lot owners how he would like them to vote at the upcoming AGM. Is this a reasonable course of action or does it go against body corporate voting rules?
Answer: Yes. A committee member or a committee as a whole can make recommendations to owners about voting.
Yes. A committee member or a committee as a whole can make recommendations to owners about voting.
The one thing that an individual committee member needs to be aware of when doing so is to clarify whether they are doing that personally in their own right or as a member of the committee – the distinction being important as to who is actually doing the recommending.
Question: A motion was changed by the incumbent – What are the Body corporate voting rules? What happens now?
We recently provided a proposal for the body corporate management of a scheme in Queensland. Our agreement was submitted to the AGM via an Owner\’s motion. The incumbent body corporate managers are a large company, and there were five companies included in the motion for owners to vote on.
Following the AGM, we were made aware that the current Body Corporate Manager had amended our quoted price on the AGM voting paper and the accompanying explanatory note by increasing it.
I would think that this is fraudulent, but not sure if anything can be done about it. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Answer: Alternative motions are a constant source of conjecture.
The games people play….
Alternative motions are always a constant source of conjecture. What the Module requires is that if there is more than one motion lodged for a meeting and the motions propose alternative ways of dealing with the same issue that they be combined. The former way would have been to put the one you wanted up first and if it was passed, rule anything later out of order.
So in a body corporate management context, the first motion would be that ‘the body corporate engage a body corporate manager.’ If that was passed, the next motion would list the alternatives. Manager A, Manager B and so on. The body corporate manager that wins is the one that gets the most votes from those that voted ‘yes’ to the motion to engage the body corporate manager.
Having said all that, other than crafting the motions to make sure they fit with what the Module requires no one should change what was submitted. If a motion was changed by the incumbent (particularly if it was changed to less favourable (i.e. higher)) costing, then that would be completely inappropriate.
If the owner who lodged the motion thought that materially affected the vote then they would well and truly have rights to challenge that conduct in the Commissioner’s Office seeking that an EGM be called to put forward the motions as submitted.
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