This Q&A article is about body corporate communications and electronic voting during the Coronavirus crisis in QLD.
Question: Before proceeding to engage in electronic voting, does the body corporate need to call an EGM to approve electronic voting?
I understand that some bodies corporate have effectively dispensed with AGMs and are now simply advising owners to vote online or lodge voting papers by hand, mail or email.
Even in this COVID era, with social distancing etc., is it permissible to dispense with AGMs in this manner?
Also, The Body Corporate Commissioner (Qld) has recently reminded us (with COVID-19 in mind) that “You can encourage owners to submit voting papers instead of attending the meeting personally (or to vote electronically if your body corporate has approved electronic voting) if your body corporate has approved electronic voting”. This is, of course, a requirement under the BCCM Act BUT some bodies corporate may not have approved electronic voting.
Before proceeding to engage in electronic voting, should those who have not approved electronic voting now move to rectify that situation by way of an EGM?
Answer: It would seem unnecessary as such a motion could simply be included on the agenda of the next general meeting.
As is the case with a number of issues – whether a general meeting is valid or not depends on the specific circumstances. The primary theme adopted by adjudicators is whether an owner’s right to vote was prevented and if so, would it have affected the result of the meeting.
Owners have a statutory right to attend and participate in general meetings. During the peak of the COVID restrictions, there was more flexibility afforded to bodies corporate in interfering with these rights. As restrictions are being relaxed, so too would the flexibility of bodies corporate interfering with these participation rights.
A body corporate can certainly recommend that owners vote in advance of a meeting without any real risk of reprisal.
It is really a question for the committee to determine whether it is worth the costs of calling an EGM just to approve electronic voting for the next AGM. It would seem rather unnecessary though as such a motion could simply be included on the agenda of the next general meeting.
This post appears in Strata News #379.
Have a question about communications and electronic voting in a QLD body corporate or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- NAT: Coronavirus & Strata – What Does the Legislation Say? Not Much
- NAT: Apartment Owners Ask: Do We Still Need To Hold Meetings In Person?
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.