The word agenda derives from the Latin word, agendum which means “something to be done”.
Sometimes when we think of an agenda, we instinctively think negatively “they must have an agenda”. Everyone has their own internal agendas, but whether negative, positive or just a to do list, when we get together at a meeting, if we don’t have a shared agenda, then things simply won’t get done.
Every meeting has an agenda.
In a body corporate management sense, a proper agenda, breaking down the legislatively required topics to be discussed, considered and voted on, along with any other items to be tabled by the Members is vital.
If you are not familiar with Strata Management or Community title management here in South Australia, or haven’t been a part of any other formal meeting, then proper construction of your agenda and the details there-in may seem confusing or to some even pedantic, however adhering to proper process and detail is the only way that the business of the meeting can be transacted.
The Strata Titles Act 1988 and the Community Titles Act 1996 both require the Strata Corporation or Community Corporation to hold at least one Annual General Meeting (AGM) and allow for other meetings to be called and held as required such as Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM) and even Committee meetings. These same South Australian Acts further outline set items that must be discussed, important things such as financial reporting, appointments of Officer Bearers and Committees, and the striking of contributions to fund the groups outgoing costs.
As a member of the Corporation a meeting is your opportunity to present business and seek a vote on matters important to you and the group. However, if your business is not properly documents on the agenda then not only might it not be voted on, but it might not be discussed at all. Items you might want to raise at a meeting could include:
- request for a pet
- request for an addition or attachment to your private subsidiary (shed, pergola, enclosure, fence)
- an improvement such as a changed style of fence, rendering, or other change to the complex from what is currently in place
- consideration for certain maintenance to be prioritised and/or funds raised for the same, maybe you believe it is time to paint, or add annual gutter cleaning or pipe servicing to the budget
In every instance, the other Members of the group need to be given the opportunity to consider the matters that you raise prior to the meeting in order to give it proper consideration. If a unit Owner/Members appoints a proxy for this meeting, and they weren’t aware that you wanted to consider changing the colour scheme to the complex, their representative wouldn’t know how they should vote. It is imperative that all Owners know in advance what the discussions are to be about, so that they can do their due diligence and ensure that they cast a vote.
It is also very important to be precise in the details being put forward on the agenda. For example, if you would like to erect a fence and the agenda lists your request to “erect a fence on the northern boundary”, how do those Members know if the fence proposed will be colorbond, iron, timber, brick, etc if its not noted. Will the fence be cream or green? 1.8 metres high or 2.1? Will there be 4 solar panels or 16?
It may be beneficial to supply supporting documentation to assist the other Owners in being able to visualize your request. For example, a marked-up plan of where the pergola will be erected, a drawing of the newly proposed carport showing heights and materials to be used, a colour chart, etc.
The more information provided to Members, the greater chance of approval. If other Owners are unsure on what is being proposed, they may not vote favorably, simply because they have insufficient information to give you the answer you desire. Even with a very detailed proposal of course, your request may be rejected, however you have given it the greatest chance of success, by communicating and detailing your proposal.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin.
For self-managed groups compiling all the agenda items from Owners (and legislatively required, will be compiled and circulated by your Secretary (Office Bearer). For groups under management, compiling and circulating the agenda and other documentation for consideration and circulation will be handled by your professional Strata Manager.
If you are unsure what information a specific agenda item should include, your Manager at Stratarama will be able to assist you in preparing the item or resolution to be considered.
If our Team are asking you for more detail, it isn’t to be painful. It is to actually give your request the best chance of being considered and possibly approved.
We understand on occasions, particularly if you are new to apartment, shared complex living/ ownership, that you may not even know what does or does not require approval. Don’t hesitate to send us an email at email@example.com to seek some guidance with respect you your specific group and your query.
Remember that there are notice periods that must be given when circulating any AGM or EGM meeting notice to the Members, so if your Manager calls for items you want on the agenda for an upcoming meeting, don’t delay, compile and then send to us asap so that your request doesn’t miss the agenda. Without the proper notice period, your item will miss the upcoming meetings agenda and won’t be able to be voted on. Your Manager or Secretary can’t simply delay sending the notice/ agenda for the meeting, because you haven’t yet sent through your request (and in most instances, once the agenda is sent, it cannot be changed), otherwise the appropriate notice designated in the relevant Act will not have been provided. This would then not be a properly convened meeting and the discussions/ decisions would not hold up.
We are here to help. If you are unsure, speak to Stratarama.
It’s your Community.
This article and the information provided represents general advice and does not take into account any specific financial situations, objectives or needs of an individual or Body Corporate/ Strata Corporation.
Want to learn more? Check out our other articles:
- Why Communication Is Vital In Strata
- How Do I Call a Strata Meeting in South Australia?
- What makes a Good Strata Manager?
- What happens if I don’t pay my Body Corporate Fees
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