The committee is an essential component of all bodies corporate and is required by the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCMA).
Here we will give you a brief overview of Chapter 3 of the Act, outlining who can be on the committee and how the committee is formed, how the committee makes decisions and some of the differences between the main regulation modules.
Excluding bodies corporate is governed by the Small Schemes Module Regulations, committees have three positions that must be filled:
This can also be one person being able to hold two or more of these positions.
The other type of position that is eligible to be a voting member is Ordinary Member. Your Body Corporate Manager and Caretaker (if your scheme has one) are members of the committee but cannot vote. There can be up to seven voting members on the committee and no fewer than three, however, if your scheme has less than 7 lots, there may only be the same number of committee members as there are lots e.g., 4 lots mean only 4 committee members maximum.
Eligibility to be a committee member is again subject to the governing regulation module, however in the majority of schemes an individual is eligible to be a committee member if they are one of the following;
- an owner of a lot within the scheme
- a direct family member of the lot owner or acting under a Power of Attorney
- or is; the director, secretary, or another nominee of a corporation if the lot is owned in the name of a corporation
Invitations to nominate for committee positions are issued between 3 and 6 weeks prior to the end of the body corporate financial year and must be received by the body corporate secretary prior to the end of the financial year. Keep in mind that nominations from owners that owe a body corporate debt at the time they are received are considered void.
How the Body Corporate Committee is formed?
The new committee is appointed at each annual general meeting. If only one person has been nominated for a position they are appointed automatically, however, if multiple eligible nominations have been received there will be a ballot for the position.
On the other hand, if no nominations have been received then nominations will be called for from the floor of the meeting. All executive positions must be filled otherwise a valid committee will not be formed and an EGM must be called if the body corporate cannot form a valid committee.
Committee Meetings and Decision-making
To the chagrin of some, committee decision-making is a democratic process with no individual member having the power to make decisions on the behalf of the body corporate and all decisions are made by way of a committee meeting or at a Vote Outside of a Committee Meeting, sometimes known as a flying minute. A motion resolved outside of a committee meeting requires a majority of all voting members to be in favour to be carried, however, at a committee meeting the motion only requires a majority of voters present if a quorum is formed.
Your body corporate manager takes instructions from the committee and will require directions from a majority committee decision to carry out duties on the behalf of the body corporate. Unlike other types of committees, the Chairperson does not get a casting vote if there is a stalemate.
All lot owners have the right to submit motions for committee consideration and the committee must do so within 6 weeks of receiving the motions and as soon as it could be considered reasonable to do so. The committee cannot sit on a motion received from an owner for 5 weeks and then make a decision if it could reasonably be voted on at a committee meeting or by a VOCM at a sooner date.
Lot owners are also welcome to attend committee meetings, but only in the capacity of an observer. Further to this, any non-committee member-owners must leave the meeting if the committee is discussing or voting on by-law contravention, starting legal proceedings, or a dispute between the body corporate and a lot owner, body corporate manager, or caretaker. Minutes of a committee meeting will only record the decisions of the committee and not any additional conversation that was prior to or after a vote on a motion.
As mentioned earlier, there are some variations between the regulation modules. Always be sure to review your Community Management Statement or ask your Community Relationship Manager to confirm which module applies to your scheme. The key differences are the following:
- The Standard Module allows for a notice of opposition for committee resolutions, whereas Accommodation and Commercial do not.
- The Standard and Accommodation Modules set a spending limit for the committee, usually $200.00 x number of lots unless changed by ordinary resolution at a general meeting. The Commercial Module does not have this limit.
- Caretakers cannot be voting members of the committee under the Standard and Accommodation Module. Caretakers can be nominated by lot owners to be voting committee members under the Commercial Module.
- An EGM must be called to fill vacancies if a quorum can no longer be formed under the Standard Module, however, the committee can fill vacancies without a quorum under the Commercial Module.
On a final note, bodies corporate under the Small Schemes Module Regulations have their own set of rules to follow. In these schemes, there are only two committee positions available:
There is no Chairperson or Ordinary Members here. The roles of Secretary and Treasurer can further be held by one or two people. If the committee is filled by two people and one is ineligible to vote, for example by owing a body corporate debt, the other committee member makes the decision for the committee.