We have been asked a few questions about proxy votes in Queensland strata schemes. This has been answered by Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal.
Question: I attended an AGM as a proxy for an owner. The lot owner did not attend but lodged a voting paper and proxy form. I was advised the system is either a voting paper OR a proxy. Is this correct?
I recently attended an AGM as a proxy for an owner. The lot owner did not attend but lodged a voting paper and the proxy form.
I was advised by the Chairman that in Queensland, the system is either a voting paper OR a proxy. I was allowed to stay, but only as an observer.
I understand there are some restrictions on what a proxy holder can do but have always assumed that generally, the proxy holder has all of the rights of the owner, including voting on procedural motions and asking questions about the agenda motions.
Answer: A proxy cannot overrule the rights of the owner to vote.
Section 109 of the Accommodation Module sets out how a proxy can be used at a general meeting.
One of those provisions is that a proxy cannot be used if the owner has cast a written or electronic vote on the motion. A proxy cannot overrule the rights of the owner to vote.
This post appears in Strata News #323
Question: How many proxy votes can someone hold at the Annual General Meeting for a small block of fewer than 20 units?
I own a strata unit in a small block of fewer than 20 units. I have been informed that I am not allowed to be appointed as a proxy for another owner who resides interstate and is unable to attend the annual meeting. The person who gave me this information says that no one person is allowed more than one vote. A lady in the group owns two units but she has been told she only gets one vote.
How many proxy votes can one person hold? What are the rules around voting with proxies?
The group is located in Hervey Bay in Queensland. It is being managed by a strata management company at the Sunshine Coast and the annual meeting is going to be held in Hervey Bay. Only two of the owners live in Hervey Bay. One is the lady with two units and the other owner is the man who has bought the management rights for the group.
I would appreciate your response and assistance.
Answer: If proxies have not been prohibited, as there are less than 20 lots, only one can be held.
Proxies are pretty simple really in a relative sense.
For schemes with fewer than 20 lots (like this one), an owner can only hold one proxy UNLESS the body corporate has prohibited their use at the general meeting. So you can hold one proxy and vote for yourself in your own right too. You cannot use proxies to vote on certain things – which includes the election of the committee.
If there are more than 20 lots, proxies are capped at no more than 5% of the lots if you are in the Standard Module and 10% of the lots if you are in the Accommodation Module and those same voting restrictions apply for committee elections etc.
Given there is three weeks notice for a general meeting, and everyone can vote by voting paper, it is usually much easier to make sure that voting paper is sent back and then the person has voted in their own right. The proxy (if you want one) can then be used on the day for any procedural motions from the floor (like overturning a chairpersons decision on a motion out of order or the like). We wrote about that here: QLD: What happens if a general meeting motion is out of order?.
So in this instance, if proxies have not been prohibited, as there are less than 20 lots, only one can be held.
This post appears in Strata News #158.
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