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BALLOTS

Owners Corporations usually make decisions via motions at a meeting, putting the motion to a vote, and then recording these motions as Resolutions in the event that they are carried.


Owners corporations can also vote on resolutions via a ballot.


We have covered the process of simple ballots via email for the committee to use here. These are particularly useful to speed up the decision making process for committees.


However, ballots are not just limited to committees. An owners corporation may wish to put a ballot to all members for maximum transparency and accountability, or to increase the chance of success of a Special Resolution.


The Owners Corporations Act states that a general ballot;

  • Must be sent to all owners; and

  • May be undertaken via email, post, or phone; and

  • Owners have up to 14 days to respond - that is, from the date that the ballot is sent out, to the closing date of the ballot, must total 14 days.

General Ballots are usually run for extraordinary items which are not required to be at an AGM. Sometimes these are the subject of an SGM, but a General Ballot has higher rates of success than an Special Resolution put to an SGM - we’ll explain this further below.


Items which must be tabled at an AGM: Items suited to a General Ballot:

  • Financial statements Approval for major maintenance works

  • Insurance policy Any item requiring a Special Resolution

  • Proposed annual budget Approval to lodge legal proceedings

 

What are the advantages of conducting a ballot instead of holding an SGM?


An SGM requires meeting attendance from members or proxy holders. Many owners are busy, or disengaged, and often will not attend. While for a General Resolution this can be okay because the motion can pass as an ‘Interim Resolution’ , it is impossible to pass a Special Resolution at an SGM unless a quorum of owners is present. If you need a Special Resolution, and there is no quorum, then the resolution will instantly fail.


Holding a Ballot allows owners corporation members, or the manager, 14 days to contact all owners to encourage them to vote, from the day that the ballot is sent out, until the day that the ballot closes. Owners corporation managers can’t tell owners which way they should vote, but they can call owners, confirm that the ballot paper has been received, and remind them to fill it in and return it. This also leads to greater engagement and discussion between owners on the topic.

All in all, it leads to greater voter participation, as owners can vote at any stage during a 14 day period, and the vote is not contingent on owners being available for a single meeting at a time that may not suit them.
 

Please note: there is explict legislation around how ballots are conducted in The Owners Corporations Act. If the laws are not followed correctly, the ballot result can be struck down later in a court. Contact Melb OC for a free consultation on how to ensure that your ballot is compliant with all the necessary governing documents, and make your resolutions legally binding.

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