May 2016 Newsletter
Welcome to the May Newsletter
Welcome to the May 2016 edition of The Knight News. In this edition we include The Knight’s guide to the election of a Committee of Management, include a video which provides some helpful hints on how to approach your neighbours in relation to a dispute and we include an article published by Resolute Property Protect explaining what Owners Corporation insurance covers.
With the latest Owners Corporation fee notices that were sent around we encouraged all Owners to download our Smartphone Application ‘App’ and highlighted the benefits of receiving all information and invoices via email. This has been very successful with downloads of our ‘App’ increasing greatly.
If you haven’t done so yet, we certainly encourage you to do so as the ‘App’ is free, provides information on your property and affords the ability for you to receive push notifications advising of particular Owners Corporation matters.
How to deal with your noisy neighbour
The video above is some helpful information on how to approach your neighbour when there is a noise dispute or other disturbance.
Before you approach your neighbour, plan what you are going to say. If you are pleasant and keep calm then they are more likely to respond positively.
Pick the best moment — try to find a time when you can remain calm and your neighbour will listen to, understand and resolve your concern.
The best approach might be to explain how the noise disturbs your need for peace, relaxation or sleep, and how this makes you feel.
Try to focus on what you are hearing, rather than what your neighbour is doing. You could suggest a reasonable action that may help solve the problem by asking ‘would you be willing to…?’.
If talking to your neighbour does not resolve the problem, or if you feel intimidated and worried they may be aggressive, you do have other options available.
The Knight’s guide to Election of an Owners Corporation Committee of Management
Section 103(4) of the OC Act 2006 states that a Lot owner or proxy can nominate for election to the Committee of Management in writing or orally if the Lot owner is present at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). However, to ensure that the AGM is run as efficiently as possible, should a Lot owner or a proxy for a Lot owner wish to nominate for election to the Committee of Management, The Knight requests that the completed Committee of Management Nomination Form is returned to the Owners Corporation Manager no later than 5 business days before the AGM.
Section 103(7) of the OC Act states that if a Lot owner is in arrears for any amount of fees or other amount owed to the Owners Corporation then the Lot owner or a proxy for the Lot owner is not eligible to be elected as a Member of the Committee. Accordingly, if you intend to nominate for election to the Committee of Management, you must ensure that you have paid all outstanding monies owed to the Owners Corporation prior to the AGM.
An OC affecting 13 or more Lots must elect a Committee at each AGM whereas an OC affecting less than 13 lots may elect a Committee at an AGM. A Committee must have at least 3 and not more than 12 members. A motion can however be put forward to reduce the number of Committee Members to a figure less than 12 but not less than 3. For reasons of effectiveness and efficiency it is recommended by Strata Community Australia (VIC) that a Committee of Management has a maximum of 7 members.
As per S.103(6) of the OC Act, the Owners Corporation may at an AGM or SGM resolve to add or remove a Committee member or replace or remove a Committee.
- Election of Committee of Management nominees where there is equal or less nominees to the number of positions
The election can be done one of two ways as follows:
- Motion to be put forward for all nominees to be elected onto the Committee of Management as a block. Should the vote receive a majority of ‘yes’ votes then all nominees are elected onto the Committee.
- Motion to be put forward that each nominee is elected individually onto the Committee of Management. In accordance with S.92(2) of the OC Act a nominee can only be elected if they receive a majority of votes cast at a meeting i.e. if there are 20 people at a meeting and 5 people wish to abstain from the vote then the number of votes cast would be 15 and therefore a nominee would require 8 votes in favour to be elected onto the Committee.
- Election of Committee of Management nominees where there are more nominees to the number of positions
There is to be a vote for each nominee and each nominee is to be elected individually as detailed above. Sometimes this can be easier to do by written vote. In accordance with S.92(1) of the OC Act a meeting can resolve to vote in writing rather by show of hands where there is one vote for each Lot.
Alternatively, it is to be noted that in accordance with S.92(3) of the OC Act, if a Lot owner or proxy for a Lot owner requests that a poll be taken then a written vote must be conducted where there is one vote for each unit of Lot entitlement.
If the result of a vote is that more nominees receive a majority vote than there are positions available, then the positions will be filled on a countback by those with the highest percentage of yes votes.
However, if there is more than one person tied for the last available position, with an identical percentage of yes votes, then the meeting will need to decide on one or a combination of the below options as to how to break the deadlock, as the OC Act is silent on what should occur.
- Ask whether anyone wishes to withdraw their nomination for the Committee.
- Put forward a motion to vote between the nominees tied for the last available position. The nominee with the most yes votes is to be elected on the proviso that they have received a majority of votes. If the motion results in a tie, the Chairperson will have a casting vote pursuant to S.93 of the OC Act.
- Suggest that a motion be put forward to reduce the number of Committee Members to a number that would ensure there is no tie for the last position.
By way of comparison, and what may be a final option if none of the above are agreed upon, section 27(12) of the Body Corporate and Community Management Regulation 2008 (Queensland legislation) states the following when it comes to 2 or more persons tying for twelfth spot:
‘If, on a counting of votes, 2 or more persons each receive an identical number of votes and the number of persons to be elected would be exceeded if the 2 or more persons were declared elected, the result of the ballot must be decided between the 2 or more persons by chance in the way the meeting decides.’
Once an Owners Corporation Committee of Management has been elected, unless there has been a specific delegation of powers made, the Committee of Management is automatically delegated all powers and functions of the Owners Corporation that are able to be delegated in accordance with S.11(5) of the OC Act.
Should you have any queries about the process for electing a Committee of Management, we encourage you to contact The Knight prior to the AGM so that any issues may be cleared up in advance.
Residential Strata Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions
The Knight office often receives questions from Owners in regards to insurance.
Each newsletter will cover a different aspect of insurance and hopefully this kind of information will be of value to Owners.
What is a building generally covered for under a strata insurance policy?
Strata insurance policies generally cover material damage as a result of an insured peril to structural fixtures including fixed plant, machinery and underground services. The policy also generally extends to provide cover for proprietors’ fixtures, fittings and improvements which form part of the building. Some of these items include built-in ovens, stovetops, kitchen cupboards, hand basins, baths, showers, spas and pools in common areas.
What is not covered under a strata building policy?
This policy specifically excludes contents within individual units such as carpets, curtains, blinds, light fittings and electrical appliances not actually wired into the premises. These items should be insured by your household or landlord insurance policy.
What if i rent out my unit?
Unit owners need to purchase landlord insurance as a separate policy to the strata cover. Landlord insurance includes carpets, curtains, blinds, light fittings and electrical appliances not wired into the premises, and any furniture provided. The policy also provides liability insurance protection for any third party property damage which may occur at the premises, and for which the unit owner may be legally liable.
What if i live in my unit?
As an owner occupier of a unit, you should arrange cover for your furniture, personal contents, jewellery, collections and other special items. Contents insurance policies provide liability insurance protection for any third party injuries or damage to third party property that may occur anywhere in Australia.
Building Replacement & Reinstatement
Provides cover for the building structure and any fixtures and fittings in common property areas.
Covers appliances, equipment, furniture, fittings and works of art in any common area for which the Owners Corporation is responsible.
Protection for the Owners Corporation against fraudulent embezzlement or fraudulent misappropriation of the Owners Corporation funds.
Loss of Rent and/or Alternative Accommodation
If a unit becomes uninhabitable as a result of an insured peril, the unit owner can claim for loss of rent or alternative accommodation during the period that the premises are unfit for occupancy, based on the rental value of the unit.
Covers the legal liability of the Owners Corporation. This does not insure the liability of the unit owner, except where liability relates to the owners corporation’s property or common contents.
Personal Accident for Voluntary Workers
Provides compensation to any person who voluntarily works on behalf of the Owners Corporation. The volunteer worker’s name must be recorded in the books of the Owners Corporation.
Protects the members of the committee where liability has arisen from an alleged or wrongful act, omission or breach of duty. Covers the liability and legal costs up to the sum insured.
Provides cover for sudden or unforeseen physical destruction or damage to machinery.
Provides an additional sum insured where the building is considered a total loss or partial loss due to a catastrophe where a state of emergency is declared such as an earthquake, bushfire, tsunami or cyclone.
This resolute brochure is not intended to be advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice. Please contact resolute pty ltd abn 53 157 850 827 licence number: 425 966 for further information or refer to our website.
Email Communication & the App
With the last quarter’s Owners Corporation fee notices The Knight sent out correspondence explaining how each person can do a little to save their Owners Corporation money. By encouraging all Owners to sign up to receive fee notices and correspondence via email this will reduce the costs of printing and postage.
This has been a success with many Owners changing the method in which they receive invoices and correspondence especially.
There are numerous benefits to receiving communication from The Knight via email including the saving on postage and printing costs, the speed in which you receive information, the reduced harm on the environment and that you always have the record of the email instead of misplacing the paper fee notice.
Also, if you have downloaded the ‘App’ and saved your property you will receive push notifications when there is something of use for you to know. This could be a reminder of when the Annual General Meeting is going to be held or works that are taking place at the property.
If The Knight has your mobile number on file you will also now receive a text message reminder if your Owners Corporation levies are overdue.
With more than a quarter of the year gone The Knight would like to welcome on board all Lot owners who have bought into properties managed by us and to Owners Corporations who have engaged us as their Owners Corporation Manager this year.
The properties shown above equate to just some of the fantastic buildings we have had the pleasure of taking over in 2016. These buildings highlight the range of properties that The Knight manage, ranging from 6 Townhouses in St Kilda to 91 Apartments in South Yarra The Knight provides professional Owners Corporation management to all.
Shown above, clockwise from top left are:
828 Burke Road, Camberwell
‘Yarra House’, 18 Yarra Street, South Yarra
‘Evie’, 63-69 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne
6 Charlotte Place, St Kilda
‘FRD’, 2 Morton Avenue, Carnegie