On 1 March 2021, the new Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulation comes into force. The new regulation clarifies and adds provisions to the existing regulation to provide for more flexible and contemporary arrangements within body corporates.
The changes are split into three categories – Committees, General Meetings, and Other. In this article, being the second of a three part series, the changes being made to general meetings are explained.
These changes are identical to the changes in the Accommodation Module. There is an additional modification in the Accommodation Module which will be identified and explained at the end. However, please note the section numbers are specific to the Standard Module, and may not correlate exactly with the other modules.
Only some of these changes apply to the Small Schemes Module and the Commercial Module, and there is an additional modification that will be identified and explained at the end. The changes which do not apply to the Small Schemes Module and the Commercial Module will be identified.
Motions at the First Annual General Meeting
In addition to the requirements set out in the existing regulation, the new regulation requires the agenda for the first AGM to include any motion submitted by a member of the body corporate before the first annual general meeting if it is practical to do so.
Documents required at the First Annual General Meeting
The new regulation adds to the list of documents required to be given by the original developer at the first AGM. Set out in section 96, the new additions are:
- A copy of the development approval;
- A copy of the community management scheme recorded with the community titles scheme;
- Copies of documents relating to any claim made against an insurance policy taken out by the original owner for the body corporate;
- A copy of the fire and evacuation plan if required for the building;
- Copies of any contracts or agreements for the supply of utility services to the body corporate;
- Copies of any documents relating to warranties for: buildings or improvements forming part of scheme land; common property plant and equipment; and any other body corporate asset;
- A copy of any proxy form under which the original owner is the proxy for an owner of a lot; and
- A copy of any document under which the original owner derives the representative capacity for an owner of a lot.
These documents must be provided in hard copy and electronic form.
Same issue motions
The new regulation created a specific section for “same issue motions” to streamline and simplify the process of dealing with motions that discuss the same issue.
A “same issue motion” is a group of motions that are alternative ways of dealing with the same issue. The motion that passes is the motion that receives the highest number of votes.
Section 99 of the new regulation introduces a provision that allows the body corporate to vary the percentage of voters required to make a quorum.
Under ordinary circumstances, a quorum is at least 25% of the voters, whether in person, by proxy, or other means of voting.
This new provision allows for the quorum to be modified by special resolution to a percentage of voters between 10% and 25%.
Powers of Attorney
The new regulation restricts the use of power of attorney for voting in general meetings. Section 101, previously section 83, now restricts the use of power of attorney for more than 1 lot so that it can only be used if the owner of the lots is the same person or the power of attorney is appointed under section 211 or 219 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act.
Previously, this restriction did not apply. This has been introduced to stop the inappropriate use of powers of attorney.
This change does not apply to the Commercial Module.
Electronic voting at general meetings
The regulation provides for voting at general meetings to be done through electronic means. In order for the body corporate to use electronic voting at a general meeting, the system used must be able to reject a vote cast by someone who is not eligible to vote or has already voted.
Additionally, the votes must only be able to go to the secretary. The method of electronic voting used may allow for voting to occur during the meeting, and an electronic vote may be withdrawn at any point before the result of the motion is declared.
Previously, there were no provisions for electronic voting.
This change does not apply to the Small Schemes Module.
Proxies at principal scheme level
Voting by proxy at a general meeting of the principal body corporate in a layered arrangement of schemes is permitted if the person giving the proxy is the owner of a lot at the principal scheme level.
The prohibition on exercising votes using proxies given by representatives of subsidiary schemes at the principal scheme level has not changed in the new regulation.
This change does not apply to the Small Schemes Module.
Reasons for ruling a motion out of order
The new regulation requires that the minutes of a meeting at which a motion was ruled out of order include the reasons for that ruling.
Number of proxies (Accommodation Module only)
The new regulation for the accommodation module, in section 118, prohibits a person holding more than 5% of the proxy votes when there are 20 or more lots in the scheme. If there are fewer than 20 lots in the scheme, a person may not hold more than 1 proxy. These are new provisions.
Restrictions of proxy voting (Small Schemes Module only)
The new regulation for the Small Schemes Module gives the body corporate the power to restrict the use of proxies by a special resolution.
This restriction may apply to specific issues that are set out in the special resolution, or it may restrict the use of proxies all together.
Further details and all of the relevant provisions relating to these changes can be found at https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/asmade/sl-2020-0233.
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