The strata committee (also known as a body corporate committee or owners corporation committee) plays a key role in the smooth running of the owners corporation (also known as the body corporate).
The committee makes important decisions about the operation of the strata scheme (also known as a body corporate scheme or owners corporation scheme), overseeing some of the administrational decisions of the property on behalf of the owners.
As an owner it is a great idea to get involved in your property’s committee. This way, you can have a greater say in the way your community is managed.
Our guide explains what the committee is all about, and how it can help maintain a successful scheme.
What is a committee?
The committee is made up of a group of people, each elected by the owners corporation (also known as the body corporate) to make decisions about the scheme.
The committee members represent the property owners within the scheme. Their task is to support the owners corporation, to ensure the scheme runs effectively.
States may have varying requirements for minimum and maximum numbers, so check with your state’s Strata Community Association (SCA).
Why do you need one?
A committee is central to most schemes, helping to ensure the buildings are well maintained and relationships within the community are harmonious.
Many strata committees are assisted by a strata manager (also known as body corporate manager, owners corporation manager or community manager), who is appointed by the owners corporation to help run the scheme.
The owners corporation tasks the committee with ensuring the scheme’s legislative duties and functions are met.
What are their rights and responsibilities?
The committee is limited in the way it makes decisions, with the relevant legislation specifying exactly what a committee can and cannot make decisions on. The owners corporation can also pass motions at an AGM placing limitation on what the committee can make decisions on (e.g., putting limitations on the financial decisions a committee can approve on behalf of the owners corporation).
Most committees are given the power to decide on a range of areas, including:
Spending to support the daily running of the scheme, such as insurance, emergency repairs, maintenance, and renovations.
Managing bylaws and compliance with building regulations, such as approval of applications to renovate.
Issuing notices to ensure owners comply with bylaws and building rules.
Record-keeping and management of meetings.
The committee also plays a vital role in resolution of disputes and complaints within a scheme. Owners often consult and submit complaints about various aspects within a scheme (such as a possible breach of bylaws or scheme maintenance), which are then reviewed and considered by the committee for appropriate action. You can learn more about how to manage disputes between neighbours here.
What are the roles within the committee?
Members of the committee will select one or more members for the following roles.
- Chairperson – to run meetings, oversee administration and keep order.
- Secretary – to arrange meetings, prepare and distribute meeting agendas/minutes, keep the strata roll updated, issue relevant notices and carry out administrative tasks.
- Treasurer – to manage accounting records, update books and issue levy notices.
These roles will sometimes be referred to as executive committee roles. You can learn more about each of these roles here.
When filling these office-bearing roles, it is important to consider people with the relevant financial and organisational skills. Please note that when a strata manager is engaged for the scheme, the manager may undertake the majority of the above duties, to assist the scheme in its smooth administration.
How to become a committee member?
The committee is elected by the owners corporation at the annual general meeting (AGM).
Owners are permitted to nominate one person for election to the committee, for each property they own in the strata scheme.
As an owner, you can nominate yourself or another owner. You can also nominate someone who lives in the complex but does not own a property, such as a tenant or the tenant representative.
In most states, certain people cannot be nominated for, or become a member of the strata committee. These include:
An agent responsible for leasing any property in the strata scheme to tenants
Any owner owing money to the strata scheme (such as levies) at the time the AGM is held
The building manager, or any previous building manager of the scheme
Any person with connections to the original owner or developer
In some cases, a previous owner, developer or building manager, may be considered if their connection to the scheme is disclosed in writing prior to election.
Should a committee member leave the committee and a committee vacancy arise, a replacement committee member can be appointed. In some states this can be voted on by the committee or may require a owners corporation vote at a general meeting.