Not surprisingly, one of the most common inquiries received by the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management is about general meetings of a body corporate.
The queries are often about the timeframes involved as well as some of the more basic processes.
Given that a general meeting is the primary forum through which lot owners are able to get involved in decision-making for their scheme, it is essential that these things are clearly understood.
With this in mind, I intend to explore some common issues over three parts. In this first part, I will spell out some of the key timeframes and basics for an annual general meeting, which I’ll refer to as an AGM. In parts two and three, I’ll provide some AGM tips.
Firstly, this article covers key timeframes and basics of the AGM process. The scheme’s financial year will determine the timing of the meeting. Importantly, “financial year” in this context is not necessarily the standard July – June financial year. For further information about how the financial year may be determined, visit https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/body-corporate/committees-meetings/general-meetings/annual/when-to-hold. Bear in mind also that a scheme’s financial year may have been changed by order of an adjudicator on application by a body corporate.
The AGM is then required to be held within three months of the end of the financial year. As per my previous point, an adjudicator’s order may be sought to hold the AGM outside of the required timeframe if there are reasons to warrant that.
Unless there have been changes to the financial year or AGM via an adjudicator’s order, then there really should be no surprises to a lot owner or committee about the timing of an AGM each year and thus, owners and committees have the ability and time to plan for how they will engage with the AGM.
In relation to other formalities of the process, the secretary calls the AGM and should be calling it three to six weeks prior to the end of the financial year, together with a call for nominations for the committee as well as for any motions to be placed on the agenda.
This is the opportunity for owners to put forward any motions they want other owners to vote on at the meeting.
Remember, agenda items can’t simply be raised from the floor at an AGM – they must be submitted in advance, so that all voters can consider them.
At least 21 days prior to the AGM, the secretary must send out the relevant papers, including the notice of meeting with the agenda, committee ballot paper and other documents as required by the relevant regulation module.
There is a requirement for the agenda to include statutory motions, in other words, motions which body corporate legislation requires must be considered at every AGM. An example of a statutory motion is a motion about whether to have an audit undertaken.
If the body corporate is distributing papers via post, then it is important they take postal timeframes into account to ensure it meets that “at least 21 days prior” requirement.
Decisions purportedly made at an AGM can be declared void by an adjudicator if this time period is not complied with.
All of the previous information is for schemes that are already established and operating. For new schemes, the first AGM must be held within two months after the first of either the following events:
- More than 50 per cent of lots are no longer owned by the original owner (developer); or
- six months after the establishment of the scheme.
This article is only a basic overview of AGM processes. It is not meant to be comprehensive advice and there may be several other aspects of these meetings of interest to your scheme.
For further information please contact the Information and Community Engagement Unit of my office on 1800 060 119 or visit our website www.qld.gov.au/bodycorporate.