As an individual owner, you have full autonomy to decide how you want to maintain, manage and even design your private property. However, in some cases, like apartment buildings, owners have shared spaces or common properties. Victoria defines common property as any parts of the land, buildings and airspace that are not lots on the plan of subdivision. It may include gardens, passages, walls, pathways, driveways, stairs, lifts, foyers and fences. The common property is collectively owned by the lot owners. Because it is collectively owned, it’s important that the owners make decisions together as it would ultimately affect everyone. Additionally, there is also a financial factor related to the maintenance and management of these shared spaces. All these decisions, plus so much more are discussed in an AGM.
AGM stands for Annual General Meeting. As the name suggests, it’s a once-a-year meet (usually held every 12-15 months) where lot owners convene and discuss a series of topics related to the shared spaces or common property. An AGM covers a whole range of topics relevant to all the lot owners and the shared spaces within the owner’s corporation.
These meetings are open to all owners or their proxies and usually starts off with attendance checks, to see if a Quorum* is met. An AGM provides owners with the opportunity to review the financials of their Owners Corporation, set a budget for the new financial year, discuss matters relating to their property’s insurance, general repairs and maintenance items and any other general business that owners would like to raise. At this meeting, a committee and/or chairperson of the Owners Corporation is also elected. This committee and/or chairperson will represent the rest of the owners throughout the year.
* a Quorum is the minimum number of members needed to transact business at a meeting. The quorum for an annual general meeting is at least 50 per cent of the total votes or if 50 per cent of total votes are not available then 50 per cent of lot entitlements.
But why do you need to attend an AGM, even if you have Strata Plan to guide you?
5 Reasons to attend your Annual General Meeting (AGM)
1. Learn more about how your property is managed.
As mentioned above, the AGMs cover topics related to the maintenance and management of your shared property. Attending an AGM not only is a terrific learning experience as a property owner, it also shows an in-depth look into how the financials of the Owners Corporation work. Think of it as an extension of your investment in your property. You’ve already invested in your own property, make sure to invest time in common property as well! Ensuring that your shared spaces are properly managed also helps secure the investment you already made in your private property. During AGMs, Strata Plan reviews previous budgets and processes and provides guidance on how you might be able to save costs and improve efficiencies.
2. Best chance to be heard
Just because there is a committee and Strata Plan is your Owners Corporation Manager doesn’t mean you don’t have a say. The common properties are collectively owned by the lot owners, which means you have a say- or to be more cliché’- your vote counts!
If you have concerns about how common property or shared spaces are managed, or if you have suggestions on how to improve how it’s managed, this is the perfect opportunity to raise them in front of your fellow owners and your Owners Corporation Committee.
Fact: Strata Plan, your Owners Corporation Manager- do not make these decisions. Only owners can make decisions. Strata Plan reviews the previous years’ financials, maintenance items and general business actions and provides recommendations but acts on the decisions made by the Owners Corporation during these meetings. And that includes your decisions- so make sure to attend!
3. Take control of important decisions 5 Reasons to attend your AGM
Say your idea to add more plants around the pool area is something that your fellow owners agree on, then your AGM is the perfect setting to have these ideas followed up by actionable solutions. However, these ideas and decisions have financial factors to make them happen – who will purchase the plants, how many will you get, who will water them, maintain them, replace them if they die? All these factors need to be considered and that is why it is important to attend your Annual General Meetings, so that these decisions can be finalized by the owners and acted upon by your Owners Corporation Manager.
4. Secure your investment
Properties are and investment, and a good investment requires good maintenance. Oftentimes owners ensure their investment in their private property is well taken care of but forget to participate in the maintenance of shared spaces. Every lot owner has a responsibility to the shared spaces and having an active role in your Owners Corporation ensures that your investment is well managed.
If no one shows up to an AGM, Strata Plan will be forced to carry over the same budget from the previous year. If building budgets are not enough to satisfy the cost to maintain the property, then the Owners Corporation could find itself insolvent and unable to pay for routine maintenance work and upkeep. This is ultimately to the detriment of the owners but, if this is what is happening to your Owners Corporation, this is an excellent opportunity for you to show up and play a leading role in making your strata community an amazing life space.
5. Meet your fellow owners and get to know your Owners Corporation Manager
Again, your Owners Corporation is an eco-system- a community who interacts in a shared space. However, it doesn’t always mean that your eco-system is working in harmony. Sure, you have Strata Plan as your Owners Corporation Manager, but like any thriving community, its members must work together too.
Meeting the other members of your Owners Corporation and getting to know your Owners Corporation Manager can give you the insight on how the property is managed in a way that cannot be explained in paper. Developing relationships and promoting a sense of community and teamwork within your Owners Corporation ensures that your ecosystem can thrive. Not only that, Strata Plan strives not only to maintain your shared spaces, we aim to enhance Life Spaces. And the best part? Right now, Strata Plan are hosting all AGM’s virtually and via phone, so really, there is no excuse for you to not attend!
Not sure when your next AGM is? Missed your previous AGM and want to know what’s been discussed? Give us a call! (1300 278 728)