This Q&A is about lot owner access to meeting minutes, financials and contact details in WA.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: Our apartment building shares expenses with the attached hotel. We would like to look into the splitting of the accounts, but our strata manager will not allow us to involve a third party to check the financial records. Is this correct?
- QUESTION: What is a reasonable amount of time for the managing agent to provide minutes from the AGM?
- QUESTION: I am a lot owner. I’ve requested the strata manager provide me with the contact details of the Council of Owner members. They have refused. Am I have entitled to access this information?
- QUESTION: I’m no longer on the COO and no longer receive monthly Interim Financial reports. Should I be receiving this correspondence regardless of whether I am on the COO or as a lot owner?
- QUESTION: Is the Strata Manager required to put the Minutes from Council of Owners Meetings on the Portal for Owners to access?
Question: Our apartment building shares expenses with the attached hotel. We would like to look into the splitting of the accounts, but our strata manager will not allow us to involve a third party to check the financial records. Is this correct?
I would like to know our position in being able to look up our financial records, particularly charges.
As private apartment owners connected to a hotel, we share common meter charges with the hotel (which is classified as commercial). These charges are dissected up by our COO treasurer, who considers the charges fairly.
We would like to establish the break up of the accounts. For instance, what percentage are we paying and what percentage is the hotel paying? I would assume that naturally water and heating would be used in excess for everyday hotel guests?
We are concerned we are contributing an unfair amount compared to the hotel’s contributions. Our Strata Management tells us we can come in and look at the accounts in their office, however, she will not provide us with this information. She has also said we cannot involve a third party. We would like to engage a third party who knows exactly what to look for.
Answer: Under the new legislation the request is via an application to inspect the records using sections 107 and 16.
Without seeing the strata plan, by-laws and hotel lease agreement with the strata company it’s difficult to provide sound advice, but generally, the below would be the process. I’m unsure why the strata company would not just provide the information the owner has requested. This seems a little strange to me. The owner is completely within their rights to request this information from the strata manager or the COO members / Treasurer and they should provide this to owners upon request. It would be prudent to request from the strata manager. Is this her response or the response of the Council of Owners, firstly?
In my opinion, before even adopting a method the COO should have really proposed the method to a general meeting for approval as a motion to be voted on given the charges are common property related. I wonder if there has ever been a motion in the minutes prior which explains this for the owner.
If the strata manager is acting on her/his own authority and not the instruction of the COO, then ask her to put a formal request to the COO on your behalf and state you wish to have it on the agenda of their next COO meeting. She must oblige. Then you will have the decision in writing and reason hopefully from their minutes. You can then request a copy of these minutes. If it’s the COO being difficult then refer to below options and comments.
- Firstly, the COO are obligated to provide the information behind how they calculate the charges to the hotel if they have a method of on charging the common supply costs. This should have to only be available to an owner by inspection of records. They are obliged to provide such information upon request. If they do not then my advice would be to seek legal advice and perhaps issue a formal request through a legal representative.
- Or alternatively, make an application to SAT to seek an order for the strata company to provide the calculation method to owners and be transparent. Orders have to be requested through certain sections of the Strata Titles Act. SAT is set up to be a relatively easy process for owners to access by themselves. If the owner is having trouble with the paperwork and SAT is unable to help the owner make the application, a strata consultant or legal representative can assist with this application. SCAWA has a list of legal professionals and consultants to approach. Once in SAT a mediation would occur first and in this mediation session the member hosting the mediation would likely suggest to the strata company they simply provide the information to the owner to avoid the matter escalating.
- In regards to inspection of records, under the new legislation, the request is via an application to inspect the records using section 107. The relevant clauses are copied below. I can’t see why they won’t allow you to have another person take a look as long as both section highlight the ability for an owner to engage someone to do this and as long as they have authority in writing. This can be proven by providing a service agreement or contract you have entered into.
- Again, if the strata manager does not allow you to inspect the records once you quote the sections above then again you can make a SAT application to deal with this matter, as it also comes with hefty fines imposed if the application is not dealt with in the proper way legislatively.
Strata Titles Act 1985 – Section 107
107. Application by person with proper interest in information
- A person with a proper interest in information about a strata titles scheme, or a person authorised in writing by such a person, may apply in writing to the strata company for the scheme for —
- information under section 108; or
- inspection of material under section 109; or
- a certificate under section 110.
This post appears in Strata News #429.
Question: What is a reasonable amount of time for the managing agent to provide minutes from the AGM?
I am chairman of the council of owners and would like to know if there are guidelines for the amount of time it is reasonable for the managing agent to provide minutes from the AGM. At present, they are only made available for approval a year later.
Answer: There is no provision under the act that minutes need to be distributed, only that minutes need to be taken and keep for 7 years.
There is no provision under the act that minutes need to be distributed, only that minutes need to be taken and keep for 7 years.
It is not a matter for the strata manager to determine as to when minutes should be distributed to all owners. This should be at the direction of the council of owners. Strata managers only work on instructions from the CoO and should be a discussion between the two parties or part of the duties and functions of the strata manager within their contract.
As a former strata manager, I had in my contracts that the minutes would be distributed within 15 business days of the meeting. That was my choice and it worked well.
With the reforms very much about openness, fairness, accountability and good governance, I suggest that you as Chairman of the CoO have a discussion with your committee and strata manager and determine what best suits your strata company. Good management is also about keeping owners fully informed.
This post appears in the October 2020 edition of The WA Strata Magazine.
Question: I am a lot owner. I’ve requested the strata manager provide me with the contact details of the Council of Owner members. They have refused. Am I have entitled to access this information?
As a lot owner, I want the strata manager to provide me with the contact details of the council of owner members, however, the strata manager refuses to do so.
Can the strata manager legally refuse my request?
Answer: Lot owners have the right to be able to contact their council representatives.
In my opinion, the strata manager cannot withhold that information. The reasoning is that under the reforms the strata company is required to keep a Roll, section 105.
The roll has always being a requirement however under the reforms the required information has been expanded. Section 105 (4) (b) clearly states that:
“The particulars to be entered in the roll are” –
The name and address for service of each member of the council of owners, or officer, of the strata company
Section 107 – Application by person with proper interest in information, sub-section (a) relates to information under section 108.
Section 108 – Contact information, sub-section (a) states that a strata company commits an offence if it does not, within 14 days after being given an application under section 107, provide the applicant with the following as stated in the application – the name and address for service of a member of the council of the strata company.
The duties of at strata company in part is to control and manage the common property for the benefit of all owners.
The role and duties of the council of owners is to manage the functions and duties on behalf of the strata company. Also, the strata manager is normally engaged by the council of owners on behalf of the strata company and as such performs designated functions of the strata company.
Consequently I believe all owners need to know who their council representatives are and have adequate access. The reforms are also clear in relation to all meeting notices Section 129 sub-section (4) and I quote –
The owner of a lot may give written notice to a member of the council of an item of business that the owner requires to be included on the agenda for a general meeting.
It is clear owners have the right to be able to contact their council representatives.
This post appears in Strata News #378.
Question: I’m no longer on the COO and no longer receive monthly Interim Financial reports. Should I be receiving this correspondence regardless of whether I am on the COO or as a lot owner?
As a member of the COO I received monthly Interim Financial reports. I am no longer on the COO and the Strata Manager has ceased sending me these monthly statements. I feel they provided me with more of an accurate detailed list of expenditure rather than one statement at the AGM.
As a unit owner, I feel I should know where the money goes and this monthly financial reporting was very beneficial. Should I be receiving this correspondence regardless of whether I am on the COO or as a lot owner?
Answer: The strata company only needs to provide annual financial statements, and these would be tabled at your AGM.
Yes, as a member of the COO you would be receiving monthly financial statements as it is the role and responsibility of the COO to manager the strata company and to do that effectively that information would be needed. That right does not apply to all strata owners within a strata complex.
Section 101 of the amended strata titles act 1985 clearly states that the strata company only needs to provide annual financial statements, and these would be tabled at your AGM. Any interim statements would be a matter for the strata company to resolve. However, as an owner, you are also entitled to check the strata company records and obviously the financial position of the strata company would form part of those records.
This post appears in Strata News #366.
Question: Is the Strata Manager required to put the Minutes from Council of Owners Meetings on the Portal for Owners to access?
Answer: There is no explicit mention that a Strata Manager is required to upload council minutes to a portal for owners to access.
Under the Strata Titles Act of WA there is no explicit mention that a Strata Manager is required to upload council minutes to a portal for owners to access.
The requirement and bare minimum is that upon application made in writing to a strata company by a proprietor or mortgagee of a lot, the strata company should make available for inspection the minutes of general meetings of the strata company and meetings of the council; at such time and place as may be agreed upon by the applicant or his agent and the strata company and, failing agreement, at the parcel at a time and on a date fixed by the strata company under subsection.
That being said, some strata councils may instruct a strata manager to upload those minutes to the portal and have them readily available. This may be seen as best practice for transparency purposes, however, some strata councils may feel differently.
Please note this advice was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments and will be updated in due course.
This post appears in Strata News #352.
Have a question about access to meeting minutes in WA or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- WA: All things Strata and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
- WA: Relationship between Strata Manager and Strata Council
- WA: Reforms to WA Strata Legislation – As a Lot Owner, Should I Care?
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.