If you’ve received notice of your strata scheme’s next General Meeting and you’ll be out of town or unable to attend, you still have the chance to contribute to your scheme’s important decisions. There are potentially two options available to you: remote voting or proxy voting.
The Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 makes it simpler for owners corporations or strata committees to approve alternative ways of voting at their meetings, so you may be able to vote remotely. These methods can include telephone, email, video-conference or other electronic means, which might be possible either before or during the meeting. If your by-law permits it, you may not even need to be in the same country to vote at your General Meeting. It will be important to check with your strata manager or secretary to see if this voting method is available to you before the meeting takes place.
If your strata scheme has not resolved to allow remote voting within its by-laws, you will have the option of nominating a proxy vote to allow someone to vote on your behalf at the General Meeting. This proxy can be anyone, including your tenant if you so choose. There are some restrictions in place so parties cannot extend their own terms or make personal gain from the proxy process. For schemes with 20 lots or fewer, a person can hold one proxy vote. For schemes with more than 20 lots, a person can only hold proxies for 5% of the total number of those lots.
To appoint a proxy, you will need to fill in the proxy form available on the Fair Trading website and return this to the secretary of your strata scheme before or at the meeting. In large schemes of 100 lots or more, this will need to be submitted at least 24 hours before the meeting. You can choose to nominate the proxy for just the one meeting or any period up to 12 months. If you attend other meetings in person, the proxy vote will not be counted at that meeting.
Remember, as an owner within a strata scheme your vote is one of the most important ways to improve and maintain your enjoyment of the property, so it’s certainly worth taking the time to make sure you’re represented when important decisions are made. If you have any questions about remote voting or proxy votes, you can contact your strata manager at Real Property Services.