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General Information and FAQ’s

What is an Owners Corporation?

An Owners Corporation is a body that collectively manages a multi-occupancy subdivision of a building or land. An OC is created when subdividing any property into two or more lots. This includes properties classed as residential, retail, commercial, industrial or mixed use.

The term Owners Corporation is the new term for the old familiar Body Corporate. The Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) came into effect on the 1st January 2008. The Act introduced a new framework for the management of multi-occupancy subdivisions and introduced the term ‘Owners Corporation.’ The change of name was intended to bring the Victorian legislation into line with the terminology used in other states and to emphasise that an OC existed to represent the interests of lot owners.

Guide to Owner Corporations

Please see this useful download publication which summarises the rights and duties of residents under the Owners Corporation Act 2006. ‘Guide to Owners Corporations’ –published by Consumer affairs Victoria

Learn more about the role of a Committee Chair

An owners corporation committee must elect a chairperson.
Your committee may not be legal if it fails to elect a chairperson.
The chairperson also becomes the owners corporation chairperson.
The chairperson’s role is to run meetings in a way that encourages decisions. The chairperson should allow fair and open discussion of matters and stick to the agenda, so that decisions can be made.
If there is no committee, the owners corporation chairperson must be a lot owner.
The chairperson:

  • does not have any decision-making powers unless delegated in writing by the owners corporation or committee. Delegated powers recorded in the minutes and set out in an Instrument of Delegation.
  • can prepare or supervise preparation of notices, agenda, ballot papers and minutes.

Duties

A chairperson must:

  • be the chairperson of both the committee and the owners corporation
  • act on the directions of the owners corporation
  • act on the directions of the committee
  • act honestly and in good faith, exercise due care and diligence and not make improper use of his or her position
  • if there is a committee, present its report at the annual general meeting
  • be a financial member of the owners corporation.

Powers

The chairperson has the power to:

  • convene the annual general meeting
  • convene a special general meeting
  • arrange a ballot
  • make the casting vote at a general or committee meeting when the count is equal.

The chairperson does not have any special powers to make decisions on behalf of the owners corporation, committee or lot owners. But the owners corporation can choose to delegate powers to the chairperson.

Skills required

The role of a chairperson requires significant care and skills including:

  • time management (for example, starting and ending a meeting on time)
  • people management (for example, keeping control of meetings)
  • a high level of organisation.

The chairperson should also have a sound knowledge of the Owners Corporations Act 2006, the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018, and any other relevant legislation.

Tips to be an effective owners corporation chairperson

  • Always have all relevant documents at the meeting. This includes a copy of the Owners Corporations Act 2006, Owners Corporations Regulations 2018, the rules of your owners corporation, a copy of the plan of subdivision and the minutes of previous meetings.
  • Make rules or set clear, mutually agreeable guidelines for conduct before the meeting.
  • Be prepared and keep to the agenda.
  • Place reasonable limits on discussions.
  • Break large tasks down into smaller tasks, for review at a later meeting.

Who can chair a general meeting?

The chairperson of the owners corporation is required to chair a general meeting, but if this person:

  • is absent, then your owners corporation can elect a lot owner or the owners corporation manager to chair that particular general meeting
  • does not wish to chair the meeting, another lot owner or the manager may be elected by the lot owners present to run proceedings.

The owners corporation can also authorise the manager or a lot owner to assist the chairperson. But responsibility still rests with the chairperson.
Decisions to authorise a lot owner or the manager to assist or act as the chairperson must be recorded in the minutes.

Who can chair a committee meeting?

If the committee chairperson is absent or unable to act, the:

  • committee members may appoint another lot owner to act as the chairperson
  • owners corporation manager can assist the chairperson.

Such a decision must be recorded in the minutes.

Removing the chairperson

Where there is no committee, the chairperson of an owners corporation can only be removed by an ordinary resolution at the annual general meeting or a special general meeting.

Where there is a committee, the chairperson can be removed by a majority vote of the committee. Removal of the chairperson does not affect their committee membership.

Learn more about the role of a Committee Secretary

Your owners corporation may have a secretary.

The secretary is responsible for tasks including managing correspondence and organising meetings.

If an owners corporation has a committee, the secretary of the committee is also secretary of the owners corporation. If there is no committee, a lot owner can be elected as secretary of the owners corporation.

Owners corporation committees must have a secretary. This can either be a member of the committee or the manager of the owners corporation. The secretary can also be chairperson.

Your owners corporation manager can assist the secretary. The owners corporation can nominate others to assist the secretary. This must be decided at the annual general meeting and recorded in the minutes.

Role

The title of secretary identifies the person who is legally responsible for specific duties.

The secretary:

  • organises meetings and acts on the owners corporation or committee’s instructions
  • sends notices, minutes and other correspondence within deadlines. Failure to do this could mean important decisions are open to challenge
  • receives petitions against an interim special resolution
  • receives ballot forms at general meetings or via post, telephone or electronic means consistent with the owners corporation rules
  • receives proxies from lot owners
  • prepares the notice and the agenda for committee meetings
  • gives three days’ notice of committee meetings
  • does not have any decision making powers unless delegated by the owners corporation or committee. Delegated powers must be recorded in the minutes and set out in an Instrument of delegation.

Duties

The secretary must:

  • act on the directions of the owners corporation
  • act on the directions of the committee
  • keep minutes of committee meetings
  • collect records and funds from a manager if the manager has been removed
  • certify and record rules with Land Use Victoria
  • act honestly and in good faith, exercise due care and diligence and not make improper use of his or her position.

Powers

The secretary has the power to:

  • convene the annual general meeting
  • convene a special general meeting
  • arrange a ballot.

Skills required

The role of secretary requires detailed knowledge of the Owners Corporations Act 2006, the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018 and other relevant legislation.

The role requires:

  • strong organisational and administrative skills
  • good interpersonal skills
  • sound writing skills (for taking minutes and correspondence).

Tips for being an effective secretary

  • Make sure minutes are settled and distributed within 14 days.
  • Keep accurate minutes.
  • File past minutes for easy reference.
  • Prepare agendas for meetings with the committee and the manager.
  • Keep and file correspondence.
  • Inform the committee and owners corporation about correspondence, issues, complaints and actions taken.
  • Maintain accurate contact details of the committee and have these handy.
  • Always have necessary documents at meetings, including a list of financial and non-financial members, lot numbers and previous minutes.
  • Bring all other relevant documents to meetings, including the Owners Corporations Act 2006, Owners Corporations Regulations 2018, Subdivision Act 1988, owners corporation’s rules and a copy of the plan of subdivision.
  • Ensure you have received and checked all proxies, and allocated responsibility for taking minutes and supervising ballots.
  • Ensure that members know well in advance when the next meeting will be held. It is helpful to set the time and date for the next meeting, and the closing date for submitting items for the next agenda, before the meeting closes.

What if the owners corporation secretary is not available?

If the secretary is absent, or there is no secretary, the chairperson or the manager can act as secretary.

Removing a secretary

If the owners corporation has a committee, it may remove the secretary by majority vote. However, if that person is a lot owner, removal as secretary does not affect their committee membership.

If there is no committee, the secretary can only be removed by an ordinary resolution at a general meeting of the owners corporation.

General Information For Owners

As an owner you are responsible for:

  • Your apartment, and, if relevant, your balcony, courtyard, car park or storage unit. On the plan of subdivision, the apartment, flat, car park or storage unit is described as a “lot”. The boundaries of your apartment are also set out in the plan of subdivision.
  • You also own a share of the common property, as a tenant in common with all other lot owners.

As an owner you have the right to:

  • Be involved in your Owners Corporation by attending general meetings.
  • Vote at general meetings and in postal ballots, unless you are ineligible to vote due to unpaid fees.
  • Inspect Owners Corporation records at any reasonable (and agreed) time.

Your obligations include:

  • Pay all owners corporation fees and charges.
  • Maintain and repair your apartment, balcony, courtyard, car park and, if relevant, your storage unit.
  • Comply with the Owners Corporation Act 2006, Owners Corporation Regulations 2007, the Rules and other laws.

Obligations of the Owners Corporation include:

  • Manage and administer the common property.
  • Repair and maintain the common property.
  • Take out required insurances.
  • Comply with and take any action necessary to ensure compliance with the Owners Corporation Act 2006, Owners Corporation Regulations 2007, the Rules and other laws.

Owners Corporation Rules:

For your information, please refer to the rules of your Owners Corporation. If you need a copy, please contact us. We also remind you to please:

  • Report immediately to the manager any damage to the building.
  • Report any risks to safety and security to residents and the building to your manager.
  • Ensure the entrance gates are kept closed at all times.
  • Advise your manager if you are going to be away from your apartment for a long period of time.
  • Law requires that you notify the Owners Corporation if you are going to be away for more than three months.
  • Keep clean the entrances and walkways. Owners and tenants must clean up any mess or rubbish they have caused or caused by their visitors. Do not leave it to others.
  • Notify the manager 14 days prior to the making of an application for a building permit or planning permit.
  • Also notify the manager 14 days prior to the commencement of renovations as some renovations cause disruption or have the potential to affect the security of other residents.
  • Do not make unreasonable noise between the hours of midnight and 8.00am. Please consider your neighbours.

Copies of the plan of subdivision and an Owners Corporation’s rules can be obtained from Land Victoria:

570 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000 (03)8636 2010 or www.land.vic.gov.au.

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