215. Waiving interest on levies | polls and electronic voting | effective Zoom meetings

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This week, Reena and I are coming to you directly from our live Happy Hour chat recently held over on the Facebook page.

We cover:

  • waiving interest on overdue levies: can the strata committee resolve to do this? 
  • is it possible to conduct a poll vote via pre-meeting electronic voting? 
  • our tips for successful Zoom meetings

Links mentioned:

3 Comments. Leave new

  • There are parts of the SSM Act which when enlivened leave other sections with no application in the circumstance. The best example being the appointment of a compulsory manager and the resulting outcome for all the provision surrounding meetings and voting.
    In the case of pre meeting voting it may be best to consider the provisions surrounding a poll to be no longer of application.
    A few reasons to adopt this interpretation are:
    It appears to be the case that if a person wants to call a poll they can do so before or after the vote. After the vote has been considered to be after the vote and before the next item is put to the meeting for debate (citation missing). A person does not have ‘forever’ after the vote to call a poll.
    In addition it is not the intention of the Parliament to cause inconvenience, although at times it does (Timbarra Protection Coalition v Ross Mining NL (1999) 46 NSWLR 55 Court of Appeal NSW.
    If the provision to call a poll is interpreted to mean the power to call the poll still exists during or after pre meeting voting has closed then this would cause a significant inconvenience.
    As much as I currently feel a poll has no reasonable application during or after pre meeting voting the best practice might be to simply have ever item on the agenda called as a poll (before the vote) as it appears a poll is a more rigorous form of voting anyway.

    Reply
  • Emiliana Estanislao
    May 29, 2020 2:48 pm

    I am at a lost as to how an owner in our strata plan of 25 units has owed us more than 17k in levy arrears and expenses of more than 7k (ongoing) in legal fees that empties our admin fund. When the strata manager rang me in 2017 asking to get a debt collector for arrears nearing 3k, I approved it readily. I thought everything was attended thereafter. The next year AGM2018 had no mention about it.
    At our AGM in 2019, however, the manager disclosed that such owner’s outstanding arrears has reached more than 10k. Asked why, her excuse was the belief that the owner whose name of the property is listed ‘passed away’. Further, she asked if we had seen the resident/s, the daughter of that owner in that unit. The notice couldn’t be served apparently because there was no one to receive it. There was an ‘extensive’ search to locate the resident/s of that property that she claimed to be unsuccessful. As such the application for default bankruptcy was unsuccessful too.
    I thought they should employ a sheriff to lock the property. But, they did not. The daughter was still accessing common property service asking the gardener to cut her plants in her unit’s backyard.
    Then, one day, I diverted my way to nose around that property located north and unseen from mine. Voila, the boyfriend’s car was parked in the unit’s car space. I readily asked my secretary to take a photo of the vehicle as part of our sleuthing activity for this strata manager to enable her to nab the residents and serve the notice that is needed to be dispensed. Don’t know if this was followed up.
    Then, a month after, during our EOM in August 2019, the alternate strata manager took over. When I interrogated her about the progress of this levy defaulting owner, she was hesitant to answer. Cornered by the other EC member who turned out to be a lawyer and did bankruptcy cases, she asked why was the application for bankruptcy rejected by court. Hesitatingly, this alternate strata manager succumbed and coyly admitted that there was no application for bankruptcy done at all. We had been lied at by the first manager, who is the senior of the replacement.

    It was only after that EOM of August 2019 when the application for bankruptcy was really done. Caught by COVID 19 crisis, the hearing has been postponed a number of times until the 14th of May 2020 . The last update from the solicitor after 14 May given to us a week later was that the hearing was vacated as the process servers have not been able to successfully serve the debtor. That solicitor did additional searches to determine whether the debtor is deceased. On her view, he is not and should still be residing at the address.
    In the meantime, our OC is the one bankrupt.
    Would you know what could have this managing agent done better to relinquish our strata plan from this mess? There is a deficit of more than 9k that a special levy needed to be struck to recove. Yes, at this time when we are supposed to give consideration to owners on ‘hardship to pay’ due to the global sweeping pandemic. At any rate, I hope my story helps other owners .

    Reply

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