Back to Basics – Calling for Nominations
February 24, 2020
Getting the basic procedural steps right is essential to the smooth running of a Body Corporate, particularly leading up to the Annual General Meeting (AGM). If these basic steps are not followed or communicated in accordance with the requirements of the legislation, the year end process can be compromised and potentially invalidate the AGM.
In the next few articles we will be covering some of the steps that occur on an annual basis for all strata properties starting with calling for Committee nominations which is the first step leading up to and preparing for the AGM.
For simplicity we will be focusing on legislative provision under the Standard Regulation Module as the same provisions also apply to the Accommodation Regulation Module. Please note that there are different requirements for Commercial and Small Schemes modules
The regulations state that the secretary must serve a notice to each lot owner sent to the address for services of notices last notified and recorded in the Body Corporate roll. The notice issued inviting nominations is to required to clearly invite eligible owners and their representatives to make a nomination for committee membership.
The invitation must be issued at least 3 weeks before, but no earlier than 6 weeks before the end of financial year for the scheme. This can be a little tricky for scheme with a January financial year end as the notice needs to be issued before the Christmas holiday break or first thing after if there is time, which there usually isn’t!
If an owner wants to make a nomination, they must send their nomination back to the secretary by the end of the body corporate financial year. Again this can be a little tricky for schemes with December financial year end, particularly validating receipt before the new year during the holidays. To avoid the possibility of a dispute, we suggest it is best to return the nomination well before the holidays and not hold onto the form for a month leaving this business to potentially disturb your holidays.
There is no prescribed form for the invitation so the committee can choose how to write the invitation, provided it complies with the requirements set out in the Regulation Modules which includes:
- Stating that nominations are invited
- Setting out the owners right to nominate (eligibility)
- State that the owner, or a person nominated by the owner, is not eligible to be a voting member of the committee if the owner owes a body corporate debt in relation to a lot or lots owned by the owner at the time the members of the committee are chosen
When the secretary or Body Corporate Manager engaged to undertake the authorised powers of the secretary receives a completed nomination form, they must issue an acknowledgement. This acknowledgement must be issued ‘as soon as it is practicable’. When the secretary acknowledges the nomination, they are not required to state whether or not the nomination is valid however in our experience, they should. This allows the owner to remedy any issues identified with eligibility or otherwise and is another reason for owners to send the nomination in early to avoid the possibility of missing out.
In a prior article on Strata Manager Training we covered calling for nominations, providing suggestions on how to respond when invalid nominations are submitted by owners. The main message was to ensure adequate instructions are provided within the notice inviting nominations to assist with receiving valid nominations back on time. These instructions can then easily be referred to when queries arise and in case they are not read in the first instance.
This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Archers the Strata Professionals