This article about how the reforms to WA strata legislation will affect the council of owners has been supplied by Andrew Chambers, Chambers Franklyn Strata Management.
How will the coming reforms in WA affect the way the Council of Owners operates? We cover the major changes you need to know about if you are a part of the Council of Owners in your scheme.
Functions and Constitution of Council
Section 135 (formerly section 44) is now where you will find the functions and the constitution of council. The functions of a strata company will subject to the Act and any restrictions imposed by an ordinary resolution be still performed by the council of owners.
Council of Owner Elections
One of the major changes is the way the Council is now elected, previously if an election was called the votes were counted by number, however now section 135 (3)(a) states that a person who is entitled to vote in the election and who is present in person or by proxy at a meeting may demand that the votes in the election be counted by unit entitlement of lots. This means that those who have a higher unit entitlement will have a higher voting capacity.
Section 135 (4) now formally states that one of the members of the council must hold the office as chairperson of the strata company.
It is also interesting to note that the previous word Chairman has now been replaced by Chairperson, which is more socially acceptable.
Declaring Conflicts of Interest
There is now more accountability for members of the council under the new legislation. Previously there was no formal requirement in the ACT for council members to act in the best interest of the strata company nor declare any conflicts (although common law would usually require this) the new ACT now addresses this under section 137 which now requires that a council member must at all times act honestly, with loyalty and in good faith.
They must also at all times exercise the degree of care and diligence in the performance of the functions that a reasonable person in the person’s position and the circumstances of the strata company would reasonably be expected to exercise, nor should they make improper use of their position to gain directly or indirectly an advantage.
In summary, council members must disclose any conflict of interest and not vote on any matter in which they have an interest.
Council Member’s Liability
Another very important addition is the protection of Council members (section 141) this states that a council member is not liable in any civil proceedings for any act that they do in good faith when performing the role of a council member.
So there is good news for members of the council in the new legislation which hopefully will encourage more owners to take an active interest in the running of their strata properties.
This post appears in Strata News #242.
- WA: Reforms to WA Strata Legislation – As a Lot Owner, Should I Care?
- WA Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018: duties of a council member and how to protect yourself from liability
- Landgate: Strata Reforms: I own strata
Are you on your Council of Owners and have a question or something to add to this article about the coming reforms? How are you preparing for the changes? Leave a comment below.