At a strata general meeting, specific individuals have the right to cast a vote. They include the lot owner whose levy payments are not in arrears and the mortgagee or covenant charge of a lot as noted on the strata roll.
If an owner cannot attend the strata meeting, then they have the option of appointing a proxy – who can be any person they deem appropriate.
The process for appointing a proxy is relatively simple.
The NSW Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010 includes a template form that can be used to officially appoint the proxy.
The form gives you the option of authorising the proxy to vote on your behalf for one meeting, several meetings over a period of time that’s no longer than 12 months or two consecutive annual general meetings.
You can also specify the types of votes that they can exercise their authority over. And it must state how the proxy should vote should there be a motion for the new appointment or the continuation of a Strata Managing Agent.
The form must contain the date it was made and must be, “given to the secretary of the owners corporation at least 24 hours before the first meeting in relation to which it is to operate (in the case of a large strata scheme) or at or before the first meeting in relation to which it is to operate (in any other case).”
According to the NSW Department of Fair Trading it’s important to note that, “A proxy cannot be used by a caretaker, a strata managing agent or an on-site residential property manager to obtain a financial or material benefit for the proxy holder. Material benefits include the extension of a term of appointment, an increase in remuneration, and a decision not to proceed with or to delay legal proceedings involving the proxy holder.”
If, as the owner, you decide to attend the meeting after submitting the form to the secretary, then the form is redundant and the proxy has no vote.
Most decisions are decided by a majority of lot owners or their proxy agreeing to the motion with each owner/proxy having one vote.
For specific cases, a poll may be required. Under this scenario, the weighting of each owner’s vote may vary depending on the nature of the resolution and the size of their lot. Therefore for certain votes, an owner whose lot is proportionately larger may have more voting power than an owner with a smaller lot.
There may also be motions that require a unanimous resolution. This can only be obtained with everyone voting in favour of the motion.
For more information regarding voting practices at general meetings, contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.