Proxies in Owners Corporations: What are they and why do they matter?
At Strata Plan, we truly believe that active ownership is the best ownership.
Sometimes, personal circumstances – such as living interstate or overseas, medical conditions or emergencies – mean taking an active interest in your Owners Corporation isn’t directly possible.
Appointing a proxy is an effective way to ensure your voice is heard.
Every Owners Corporation is a unique community with unique elements and personalities, and the only way to drive outcomes which benefit all is to work collaboratively on all issues the body corporate faces.
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving this is poor attendance at important meetings of the Owners Corporation.
Owners have a collective responsibility to ensure their properties are well services and maintained and everyone will have a different opinion on what that looks like.
When owners do not attend meetings, their thoughts are often not heard or considered – unless they have been explicitly raised with a fellow owner or Strata Plan.
The other option is to appoint a person as proxy.
WHO CAN BE PROXY?
Any trusted person can hold your proxy.
At Strata Plan, the most commonly appointed people we see appointed as proxies by our customers are typically managing agents, a lot owner’s adult kids or the property’s Strata Manager.
Once you’ve appointed your proxy, they will be entitled to attend meetings on your behalf and vote on any motions at those meetings.
A proxy empowers a person of your choice to attend a meeting in your place and case your vote at the meeting.
A proxy can also be appointed at any time to take your place in responding to general correspondence or business of the Owners Corporation for a 12-month period, unless you withdraw your proxy at an earlier time.
If you have decided that you wish to appoint a proxy, it is always worth checking the minutes of your last Annual General Meeting to see what issues were discussed and what was voted on.
If you need further clarity on any of the issues that came up, call your Strata Manager to get a run-down of the topics and issues that have been of importance to your building.
You should also check your Owners Corporation’s online portal to catch up on any important building notices.
Once you are across the important issues, it’s important you brief your appointed proxy on the issues that matter to you most.
After all, this person will be representing you and casting your vote, so it’s important they know your opinion of certain issues.
If you have ideas around the budget, let your proxy know so that they can voice that opinion at the meeting.
WHAT POWERS DOES THE PROXY HAVE?
A proxies main responsibilities following their appointment are as follows:
- Attend Owners Corporation meetings on your behalf
- Speak and/or vote on your behalf at Owners Corporation meetings
A proxy can also represent you on the Owners Corporation committee, if you wish your proxy to nominate for election and your proxy is capable of keeping up with the requirements of being on a committee.
These can be serious responsibilities, so it is important that if you do wish to appoint a proxy, you appoint someone you can trust to legitimately represent you and your interests.
Once you appoint a proxy, that proxy is valid for 12 months, unless you specify you wish that authority to cease at an earlier date.
Of course, you can always terminate the proxy at an early date by informing your Strata Manager.
Once a proxy has been appointed, that person is unable to transfer their proxy powers to another individual.
Only the lot owner can appoint or change a proxy.
If a lot owner appoints a new proxy within the 12-month window of a previous appointed proxy, then the most recent authorisation is what counts and the previously appointed proxy will automatically lose their proxies.
So, if John Smith appoints his brother Bill as proxy in June 2017, but appoints his sister Sally as proxy in January 2017, then Sally’s proxy is the only valid proxy and Bill automatically loses his previous authority.
HOW DO I APPOINT A PROXY?
Appointing a proxy is simple.
There is a prescribed form you have to fill out, which is available on our website HERE
Once you have filled out the form and added your signature, you can submit the form via our website.
PLEASE NOTE: Once you submit the form, you will receive a confirmation email to the email you have disclosed on the form. Your request will only be completed once you have verified your email address by clicking on the link in the confirmation email.
When filling out a proxy form you must name an individual person (no businesses or trusts allowed).
Be assured that if upon receiving your Proxy Form, Strata Plan will review its contact and get in touch if any errors have been made.
Of course, if you’d like some assistance in filling your form out, you can always contact Strata Plan for further advice.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
If you are keen to have your say, unable to attend a meeting in person but unwilling to trust another person to represent your views, you still have some options.
Strata Plan’s Strata Managers are very accommodating when it comes to helping you to attend your Owners Corporation meetings.
Most Owners Corporation Annual General Meetings Strata Plan runs are held at our offices, located at 222 Kings Way, South Melbourne.
If that is not convenient for you, you are always welcome to call at any time of the year and ask your Strata Manager to look for a local venue.
Some Owners Corporation members even make their home available for the meeting.
Of course, any change of address would have to be run past committee members and/or regular attendees. If a consensus is reached and a suitable location is found, the meeting can be moved.
Our Strata Managers are not mind readers. If you want to change the location of the meeting, start a conversation today.
If you live interstate or if you are unable to attend for any other reason, you can always phone into the meeting.
Phoning in is becoming an increasingly common way for absentee owners to listen in and contribute to the Annual General Meetings and other meetings of the Owners Corporation.
Where there is a will, there is a way and at Strata Plan we strive to open up the doors of Owners Corporation to everyone, no matter the method.
If you have never attended an Owners Corporation meeting before, or would just like to chat more about your Owners Corporation and how you can get involved, contact Strata Plan today to start a conversation.
Learn more about other #StrataPlan Wins here.