These WA Q&A’s provide information about strata council roles and responsibilities to provide correspondence.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: If an owner has an issue with the way the Strata Management company is dealing with a dispute, does the COO have to step in to try to resolve it when approached?
- QUESTION: If a strata unit is owned by a Pty Ltd company, can a director of that company or part owner who is NOT a Director become a strata council member?
- QUESTION: Who is responsible for ensuring that actions from AGM minutes are followed up on and actioned. Does the responsibility lie with the Secretary or Chairperson?
- QUESTION: Can one and the same person hold the position of Secretary and Chairperson on the strata council? From what I have read, this acceptable in QLD and possibly NSW, but is it permitted in WA?
- QUESTION: Although we have a Strata Manager appointed, we don’t know what they do. The Council doesn’t communicate what is going on or if there are any issues. Should we be informed about what is going on?
- QUESTION: As a strata unit owner can I attend the strata council meetings? This would not be seeking engagement in the meeting, but more on understanding the strata councils roles and responsibilities.
- QUESTION: Are there rules which regulates the communication process between the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer on a strata council? What are the strata council roles and responsibilities around this?
- ARTICLE: Roles in strata ownership, management, strata council and committees.
Question: If an owner has an issue with the way the Strata Management company is dealing with a dispute, does the COO have to step in to try to resolve it when approached?
If an owner has an issue with the way the Strata Management company is dealing with a dispute does the COO have to step in to try to resolve it when approached? If so, what section in the Strata Titles act refers to this? Is it not the role of the COO to act in the interest of the owners?
We have members of our COO that refuse to communicate directly with owners and have adopted a communications policy at the recent meeting of the council which sets out that all communication to and from the council should occur through the office of the strata manager. So any matters you wish to raise for the attention of the council will be responded to as needed and as they meet they will then issue instructions to the strata manager.
As you can imagine if you have an issue with the Strata Management Company then this way of communicating is not appropriate.
Answer: The strata council is the entity that runs the strata company and the Strata Manager is an employee of the strata company.
The email is unclear as to what the dispute might be about?
Is there just cause for the complainant to be in dispute with the strata manager?
The strata council is the entity that runs the strata company and the Strata Manager is an employee of the strata company.
Is the strata manager doing as they are instructed by the strata council?
It is not unusual for a strata council to adopt a communications policy of this nature and in some instances reduces the effect of spurious communications of a frivolous nature.
The aggrieved party has it within their power to lodge an Application at the Tribunal to seek relief.
Refer to section 119 – Objectives
Refer to section 137 – Council Members: general duties and conflicts of interest
This post appears in Strata News #453.
Question: If a strata unit is owned by a Pty Ltd company, can a director of that company or part owner who is NOT a Director become a strata council member?
Answer: Individuals associated with the corporation, be they owners or directors of the corporation, cannot be elected to the council as an individual.
In the case of the title for the lot being held by a corporation, it is the corporation that can hold the position on the council of owners if duly elected. Individuals associated with the corporation, be they owners or directors of the corporation, cannot be elected to the council as an individual. The corporation can however authorise that individual to be its representative on the council should the corporation be duly elected.
When the corporation sits on the council it may authorise an individual to perform on its behalf its duties as a member of the council and may revoke such authorisation from time to time. Any actions performed by the individual it is taken to have been performed by the corporation.
This post appears in Strata News #442.
Question: Who is responsible for ensuring that actions from AGM minutes are followed up on and actioned. Does the responsibility lie with the Secretary or Chairperson?
Answer: The Strata Titles Act of WA does not specifically delineate whose duty it is “for ensuring that actions from AGM minutes are followed up on and actioned”.
The Strata Titles Act of WA does not specifically delineate whose duty it is “for ensuring that actions from AGM minutes are followed up on and actioned”. The elected council of the strata company are equally responsible for ensuring that any action items from the general meetings are carried out. All items are a shared responsibility in whatever way the council sees fit, other than those explicitly detailed under the Schedule 1 Governance By-Laws.
This post appears in the October 2020 edition of The WA Strata Magazine.
Question: Can one and the same person hold the position of Secretary and Chairperson on the strata council? From what I have read, this acceptable in QLD and possibly NSW, but is it permitted in WA?
Answer: Sure can!
This post appears in Strata News #407.
Question: Although we have a Strata Manager appointed, we don’t know what they do. The Council doesn’t communicate what is going on or if there are any issues. Should we be informed about what is going on?
I am an owner of a survey strata lot of some 19 lots We have a Council of 3 members who are and have been since incorporated.
Although we have a Strata Manager appointed nothing has been disseminated as to what the Strata Manager does. They do not have a contract with the SM and we don’t know what the council has instructed the SM to do.
We also don’t know if there are any formal contracts with the people employed to carry out maintenance work on our common property or assets. The Council doesn’t communicate in any way what is either going on or if there are any issues.
Should we as lot owners be informed by way of a newsletter or some other means as to what?
Answer: You do have options but my overall advice is to get involved with the running and management of your strata.
This is an interesting question and I will deal with it in 4 parts.
You mention that the council of 3 have been there since day dot, not unusual but does indicate a lack of interest from other owners. With the reforms in place, the responsibilities now placed on owners and in particular council members this is an opportune time for owners to get involved. Council members are elected at every AGM it is a requirement under the act. Section 137 details the duties of a CoO member, they must act honestly, with loyalty and in good faith, also must at all times exercise a degree of care and diligence in the performance of their duties.
Concerning the strata manager, the reforms state clearly that a contract MUST be in place and their duties clearly defined. Section 143 defines that their functions need to be authorised and section 144 details education requirements, criminal record checks and contract responsibilities. The act also states that a signed contract MUST be in place by the 1st November 2020 and also must conform to the requirements of the act. No signed contract the strata manager will not be able to perform any functions on behalf of the strata company.
With maintenance work it is not unusual, i.e. for plumbing, electrical and general work not to have a contract, however, things like pool maintenance and other infrastructure that require regular servicing/maintenance it is a good idea and I would go further and say essential.
The fourth matter I will raise is to do with information on strata matters. Newsletters are an option but is dependent on the allocation of someone to that role, is it the strata manager, the CoO secretary. The act makes provision for the dissemination of information, the ideal is the AGM, owners can put motions on the agenda, they can ask questions and also under the act have the right to inspect the records.
Section 104 states that the strata must keep a copy of ALL contracts, in particular, the strata management contract. Also, section 107 allows for an owner to apply in writing for information under section 109 which relates to the records of the strata company.
You do have options but my overall advice is get involved with the running and management of your strata.
This post appears in Strata News #395.
Question: As a strata unit owner can I attend the strata council meetings? This would not be seeking engagement in the meeting, but more on understanding the strata councils roles and responsibilities.
Answer: I would leave it up to the Council of Owners to decide whether they wish for anyone else to attend.
Please note: this response was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments.
There is nothing within the Strata Titles Act of WA that either allows or prohibits this at this stage.
However, my personal opinion is that it would defeat the purpose of having a Strata Council. At the end of the day, I would leave it up to the Council of Owners to decide whether they wish for anyone else to attend.
This post appears in Strata News #334.
Question: Are there rules which regulates the communication process between the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer on a strata council? What are the strata council roles and responsibilities around this?
Is there anything written about strata council roles and responsibilities that regulates the communication process between the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer on a strata council?
As a general rule, one would think that when a Secretary is given a certain task they would inform the other Office Bearers (copying in the Chairperson & the Treasurer) as part of the process whenever an official letter on behalf of Committee goes out. Ideally, it would be best to present outgoing correspondence before being sent out – but let this aside.
Say the Secretary has been given a certain task but does not provide copies of his correspondence to outside communications to the other Office Bearers. He sees himself more as a Project Manager who delivers results. Most ordinary Council Members may not be interested to be informed of every step of the process, I assume that many Office Bearers do.
Answer: The content of correspondence from the Strata Council, in the absence of Strata Management Delegation, should be discussed by all Council members not just the Office Bearers.
Please note: this response was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments.
In the context of your Strata Complex, the Council of Owners or Council of Management or the Body Corporate or whatever name they go by, have complete power to act on behalf of the owners who nominated or voted them in, by ballot if required, at the last Annual General Meeting.
First, if you have strata management you may want to check your contract to see what duties are delegated to the strata manager (in the absence of other instruction), as this covers most of the secretarial and treasurers duties, as opposed to the strata council roles and responsibilities. If you are self-managed self-sufficiency is vital for good management regardless of what model you have.
Being such an important function of Strata, there are Schedule 1 by-laws covering most aspects of the election and running of the Council. Office Bearers is a term used in Company Law. One person can hold all three Office Bearer functions. Your Strata Insurance should have Office Bearers Liability cover. This is an industry standard but not a requirement. Office Bearers insurance will cover the Office Bearer or Bearers if a decision and or instruction turns out to be incorrect and is subject to a claim against the strata company. The Council, as long as they have acted in good faith, should be covered.
Roles in strata ownership, management, strata council and committees.
Please note: this information was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments.
There is frequent confusion about the division of roles and responsibilities in a strata community. We often hear owners asking: owners … the Strata Company … the Strata Council … the Strata Manager… who does what?
Here’s a breakdown of who should be doing what within your strata community.
An owner is a person or people or company that purchases a strata lot and is registered on the Certificate of Title. Your ownership in some ways is similar to being a shareholder, with certain rights and responsibilities relating to this ownership. You must pay your levies and comply with the scheme’s by-laws, which can cover everything from renovations to pets. You have the right to contribute to decision making, to stand for a position on your committee and generally be heard. As an owner, you also have a share of unlimited liability for anything that goes wrong within the scheme, which is why strata insurance is compulsory in every state and territory.
The Strata Company
AKA Body Corporate, Owners’ Corporation, Strata Corporation, Strata Scheme.
The Strata Company consists of all owners collectively, who together form a legal entity. All owners are automatically members of the corporation, but tenants are not.
The Strata Company has a legal responsibility to:
- Maintain all common property including the structure of any buildings on the land;
- Insure the whole of the property for the full replacement value;
- Administer the finances and common funds of the group of owners;
- Secretarial functions including the conduct of meetings of members, documentation of minutes, and dealing with correspondence; and
- Resolve disputes involving members of the Strata Company and enforce its rules.
The Strata Council
AKA Owner’s Committee, Strata Committee, Body Corporate Committee, Executive Committee, Managing Committee, Committee of Management, the Committee or Council.
Generally, the administration of a Strata Council is undertaken on behalf of all the lot owners by a Committee. A committee is a group of owners elected at each Annual General Meeting to represent all the lot owners in the scheme. The Strata Council provides governance and makes decisions on all matters that arise for the Strata Company, including the control, maintenance and repair of common property (in the absence of a Strata Manager).
Governance involves setting and monitoring the strategic direction of the Company, including setting goals and the course for management to achieve those goals. Strategic direction is usually documented in a Strategic Plan, which may have Strata Management and Strata company input but which will ultimately be the responsibility of the Strata Council.
The Strata Committee has other duties and discretionary powers that, when properly carried out, will in ensure compliance with the legislative Act and protect your investment. The Committee is responsible for such things as:
- Enforcement and making of by-laws.
- Managing and maintaining the common property for the benefit of all owners.
- Ensuring the strata company is sufficiently funded.
- Effecting proper insurance cover.
- Maintaining usual business records.
- Convening the required General Meetings.
- Appointing and supervising your Strata Company manager.
The Strata Manager
AKA Body Corporate Manager, Strata Managing Agent, Manager or Agent.
Strata Managers are engaged by the Strata Company or Council to assist the scheme’s Strata Council to manage the day-to-day affairs of the scheme. Strata Companies may make use of a Strata Manager to provide administration services, streamline processes and minimise conflict between owners; while others elect to self-manage. Many strata schemes are becoming larger and more complex, so owners find a Strata Manager manages the more time-consuming services and provide advice on:
- Financial management
- Maintenance of common areas as directed by the Strata Council
- Clerical and administrative support and follow up
- Ad hoc maintenance and contract support
- Implementation of the Strategic Plan
- Ensure requirements of the relevant legislation are met
- Advise on the legal requirements concerning the operation of the strata scheme
The role varies depending on the size and type of property and involves people management, requires someone who is organised and is able to handle difficult clients from time-to-time.
Hope that helps! If you’re still confused, you’re welcome to get in touch to ask questions.
Have a question about providing information about strata council roles and responsibilities or something to add to the article about the different strata council roles and responsibilities for providing correspondence in your scheme? Leave a comment below.
Note: this general information is an opinion only and suitable specialists in these areas should be sought for clarification and assistance on all points.
- WA: Strata manager or council of owners not acting in your best interest?
- WA Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018: duties of a council member and how to protect yourself from liability
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.
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