Take note! The Strata Property Act has specific requirements for strata meetings. These requirements help guide strata corporations when they are conducting important business, and ensure they govern themselves democratically.
Minutes of strata council meetings are part of this regulated process. Minutes must be taken. Furthermore, they must be available for review two weeks after a strata council meeting, an annual general meeting (AGM), or a special general meeting (SGM) has occurred.
Meeting minutes act as a written record of anything that was discussed or decided upon during meetings, which is why they are so important.
Why are minutes recorded?
As previously stated, minutes are taken as a way to record discussions and decisions formally. While there are no rules about who must take the minutes, the strata council secretary often takes on this responsibility.
The minutes are a record of council business. They will help to remind councillors of anything that they have agreed to do. Well written minutes can be extremely valuable if disagreements or disputes arise later on; they are the best available “evidence” and can be used to settle arguments objectively.
Minutes of a meeting are not meant to be a transcript of every word that was said. The important stuff, such as decisions, approvals, and motions, is what needs to be included. On the other hand, these notes shouldn’t be so brief that owners who did not attend the meeting can’t make sense of them.
There should be some sort of format for the minutes. The document should be legible, easy to understand, and consistent from month to month. As a best practice, points should be laid out clearly and succinctly to avoid confusion or misinterpretations.
Order of business
If you’re new to strata meetings where voting is involved, here’s a very brief idea of how they are organized and carried out. This will also help you get a sense of what will need to be recorded if you’ve been tasked with taking notes:
- Certify proxies and corporate representatives
- Issue voting cards
- Determine whether there is a quorum
- The president of the strata council generally chairs meetings. If the president is unwilling or unable, then the vice president may act as chair. If neither one is available, then eligible voters should elect a chair from among the people present at the meeting
- Proof of the Notice of Meeting or the Waiver of Notice is presented
- Approve the agenda
- Approve the minutes of the last annual or special general meeting
- Address unfinished business
- Address reports of council activities and decisions since the last AGM
- Ratify any new rules made by the strata corporation
- If this is an AGM, review the report on insurance coverage
- If this is an AGM, approve the budget for the next year
- Discuss new business
- If this is an AGM, elect a strata council
- Conclude the meeting
What to include in the minutes
Taking strata council meeting minutes takes some practice. You don’t want to record too much, but you need notes that are detailed enough so that they will be useful to council members and owners. The items below should make it to your record of meeting minutes.
- The strata corporation’s number
- The date, time, and place that the meeting was held
- Who was present at the meeting (this includes board members, management representatives, and guest speakers)
- Indicate that a quorum of the board is present
- A note about the adoption of the most recent strata council meeting minutes
- A note that the most recent financial statements were reviewed
- Information about action items (who agreed to do what, and deadlines associated with items)
- Any rules that were voted in
- Document important discussions with owners
- Any decisions pertaining to fines, warning letters, etc.
- Take note of the date and time that the next council meeting will be held
- The time that the meeting was adjourned
The council must approve the official minutes. Once this happens, all other supporting notes, including audio or video recordings that were used to create the final copy, should be destroyed.
Keep minutes organized
Minutes need to be well organized and accessible to those that have the authorization to review them. Electronically storing minutes is one of the best ways to keep them safe and organized. Keeping them in an online file library ensures they can be reviewed at any time, from anywhere. Numbering each council meeting, and using a file name will help to keep them in order.
Questions and answers about privacy and strata council meeting minutes
Minutes are intended to capture the most essential and important parts of meetings. But sometimes, names and unit numbers will need to be taken down. Finding a balance between maintaining privacy and keeping detailed records can be tricky. When in doubt, ask yourself if including personal information is necessary in order for someone to understand an issue or decision.
Can any personal information revealed in a strata council meeting be included in the minutes?
The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) does not clearly state what personal information should and should not be included in a strata corporation’s minutes. Therefore, strata councils should ensure that only the least amount of personal information required to provide an accurate account of its decisions is recorded in the meeting minutes.
When strata council members or guests attend council meetings, they provide an implied consent to have their name and unit number or strata lot number recorded in the minutes. Similarly, the names of strata managers, or other authorized personnel, can be documented in the minutes.
How should minutes be prepared when someone who is making a motion objects to having their name written down?
When someone makes or seconds a motion, they provide implicit consent for collecting their personal information, says PIPA. If the person chooses to withdraw their consent, then they cannot move or second a motion.
Can council meetings be recorded?
For the most part, strata council meetings and general meetings should not be recorded by the corporation or an individual. That being said, PIPA does not apply to the acts of a private individual. As such, your corporation may wish to pass a bylaw forbidding any audio or visual recording device to be used at a council meeting or general meeting without prior approval of the majority of eligible voters who will be present in person or participating by proxy.
If the majority of owners or strata council members pass a resolution in favour of this documentation method, meetings can be recorded with video or audio.
New South Wales, Australia
Can strata meetings be recorded?
A strata meeting is considered a private meeting because members of the public can’t attend. Therefore, everyone participating in the meeting would need to consent to the recording.
In order to mitigate confusion, the strata would be advised to pass a new bylaw that allows strata meetings to be recorded using an audio device. However, this would require a special majority vote, which would be difficult to achieve without firm support from other owners.
Is it necessary to record the names of people who make or second motions?
There is no explicit requirement in the strata legislation to record these people’s names; however, for the sake of clarity, it is advised that their names be recorded. Their names would be listed under attendees anyway.
Minutes are a key part of the formal meeting process. It is important that the strata council minutes clearly document the major items that were covered in the meeting, how resolutions were reached, and the outcome of any votes. If you are unsure whether you should add details or comments to the minutes, err on the side of caution and only include what is necessary to understand what occurred during the meeting.
Download our free strata meeting minutes template