As you would be aware the COVID-19 outbreak has now been declared a pandemic. With this the WA Government has imposed a self-distancing law and could be at the point of declaring complete lockdown and our industry body; SCAWA and our insurers have urged us to ban face-to-face strata meetings
We Abode Strata and other business leaders in our Strata Community considered holding off the strata meetings that are scheduled or fall due over the next few months. However, some Strata Companies need to pass governance motions, adjust the budget and levies, and deal with other matters that cannot be held OR would not be possible to see a good attendance if held in the latter half of the year. Adding to this is also the limited scope for meetings as the latter half of the year will be booked up.
Current legislation compels owners to ensure a meeting is held within 15 months of the previous annual general meeting, therefore meetings cannot be delayed. Current legislation also does not allow for teleconferencing unless your strata company has an electronic/teleconferencing by law, however in saying that the majority of properties that we manage do have an electronic/teleconferencing by law. The new Strata Titles Reform expected to be commencing the 1st of May 2020 will automatically see that electronic meetings are allowed.
The following is the process that Abode Strata have implemented to assist you and your strata company progress with “business as usual” whilst this may seem an unusual approach at this present time, after COVID and the new reform this will be a standard process.
Attendance by teleconference/vote by proxy.
Upon receipt of written instructions form the Strata Council to call and hold the AGM as follows;
Hold the general meeting in our office with only the Strata Manager as Chairperson of the meeting in physical attendance. If one of the Council members really wants to attend, they could do so.
Advise all owners that as a result of COVID and the need for social distancing, owners can:
Participate in the meeting by teleconference; and
Vote by using a proxy form.
Owners will not be able to physically attend the meeting.
Owners have the option of specifying in their proxy form exactly how they want to vote on each motion (this is a Directed Proxy):
By attaching a list of the motions and what vote they want cast for each motion to the Directed Proxy Form; or
For owners who want to listen to the discussion on each motion during the meeting before choosing how to vote, those owners can sign a Directed Proxy Form which states they will direct the proxy to vote as the owner directs during the meeting (the direction can be given by email, text, phone or other electronic means).
If owners do not mind about how they vote on motions, they can appoint the Chairperson under a normal, undirected proxy.
Provided there are sufficient proxies held by the Chairperson to form a quorum, the meeting can go ahead.
Please note there is nothing in the default Schedule 1 by-laws or the Strata Titles Act 1985 (Act) preventing you from taking this approach, provided the Council agrees.