Buying an apartment or investment property is an exciting time but there is a lot of responsibility which comes with owning this type of dwelling.
Because of the communal nature of apartment living, collaboration, cooperation, organisation and administration is required. This is especially the case for a block with over a dozen properties.
To ensure chaos doesn’t break out, every multi-residential complex in Australia is governed by an executive committee. This group includes owners and their representatives plus the strata management company.
What does an executive committee do?
In an apartment block, the owner of each residence collectively forms the owners corporation (also known as the body corporate).
A small owners corporation can make decisions together. When there is a large number of properties, it makes sense for a smaller overseeing ‘executive committee’ to make decisions on behalf of the owners and tenants. The executive committee determines who will manage the property. It makes many important decisions to ensure the building is taken care of.
Each year, the owners corporation is required to elect members to the executive committee. The committee then takes responsibility for making decisions regarding the management of the complex and its funds.
Joining the executive committee
If you are concerned about the way your building is run or want to have more of a say, put your hand up to join the executive committee.
An executive committee can have up to seven members, even for a block of units with over 100 properties.
The restrictions around joining the executive committee include:
- You can be the property owner
- You can be a company nominee of a corporation that is a sole owner of a lot in the strata scheme
- You can be an individual who is a co-owner of a lot or a company nominee of a corporation that is a co-owner of a lot in the strata scheme, if the person is nominated for election by an owner who is not a co-owner of the lot or by a co-owner of the lot who is not a candidate for election as a member
As the sole owner of a lot, you may nominate yourself to be elected to the executive committee. An owner that is a corporation may nominate the corporation’s company nominee, for election as a member of the strata committee.
When the nomination is submitted, you may be asked to confirm you have no family or business connections to the building manager or developer. You may also be asked to confirm there will be no other conflicts of interest as part of your role on the committee.
If there are more than nine people who wish to join the executive committee, the owners corporation will vote on your appointment at the complex’s annual general meeting.
If you are named as part of the executive committee, you may then also be given the position of treasurer, secretary or chairperson. This is decided after the executive committee is elected.
There is no legal requirement for how often an executive committee meeting is held and the Secretary can organise a meeting at any time. As a member, you can get together with two other members to request a meeting when you feel it is necessary.
During meetings, the executive committee will go over issues such as budgets and expenses, requests from tenants and owners, and maintenance issues. The committee may need to choose a strata management company and will liaise with its representatives to ensure tasks are carried out.
Why join the executive committee
In a strata complex, while an individual committee member can’t make decisions on behalf of the owners corporation’s, the whole committee can.
If you’re concerned about the way your building is operated, it is best to put your hand up to be part of the executive committee. This will give you the power to influence decisions in the best interest of yourself and your fellow apartment owners.