Spontaneity is not often wanted or welcomed when it comes to strata corporation meetings. Agendas help ensure meetings are carried out in an organized, systematic manner. They also enable strata council members to properly prepare for questions or issues that will take precedence during the meeting.
When strata owners are sent an official notice of an annual general meeting (AGM), the agenda is attached to the package, and is accompanied, if necessary, by a copy of supporting documents so that owners know what to expect. The agenda must be specific and clear in order to ensure the smooth conduct of the AGM (or other meeting, such as a special general meeting, for that matter).
Subject to receiving a written demand, the strata council creates the entire agenda. Your strata corporation may have specific rules about how agendas need to be prepared and distributed, so make sure to check them before creating your own system.
Annual General Meetings
In British Columbia, the strata corporation must hold an annual general meeting (except as provided under section 41). The AGM must be held no later than two months after the strata corporation’s fiscal year-end. Similarly, in Victoria and other Australian states, the owners corporation must have an AGM each year. The time between the AGMs for an owners corporation must not exceed 15 months.
The AGM covers key issues that impact the corporation, including:
- Income and expenditure of the corporation during the past financial year
- Assets and liabilities of the corporation at the end of the past financial year
- The budget for the upcoming year
- New rules made by the corporation
- New business
- Maintenance work, projects and upgrades, and plans for this work
- A report from the council/committee
- A report from the corporation manager, if applicable
- Complaints and emerging issues
This is also the time when owners elect new council or committee members.
Special General Meetings
Special general meetings (SGMs) can be used to discuss important or unusual issues, make decisions, and resolve matters. Like AGMs, SGMs have specific legal requirements.
Special general meetings can be called by strata council members or by owners. A group that holds at least 20% of the strata corporation’s votes can call a special meeting by taking the following steps:
- An owner must present the strata council with a written demand signed by people holding at least 20% of the corporation’s votes
- Once the request has been presented to the council, it has four weeks from the date of the request to hold a special general meeting
- If the petition requires the strata corporation to consider a winding up resolution (termination), the corporation must hold the meeting within eight weeks after the demand is given
- The resolution or issue that needs to be discussed must be the first item on the meeting’s agenda
- If the meeting is not held within the allotted amount of time, the people who have signed the demand for the meeting may host the meeting (unless all eligible voters, waive the need to hold it, in writing, and consent to the resolution)
Preparing for a general meeting
Strata corporations must follow certain rules and processes when preparing for and hosting an AGM (they are legally obliged to do so). There are also legal requirements for voting, including the voting process and types of votes. Take a look at your corporation’s bylaws for the order of business. This will generally guide you when you are working on the agenda.
Leading up to an AGM, strata corporations must choose a date for the meeting to take place. In BC, this date must be within two months of fiscal year-end. The council should get started on the upcoming annual budget about month ten of the corporation’s fiscal year. Next, get quotes for planned capital projects. Write drafts of motions, and if a council member’s term is up and they don’t plan to run again, identify potential candidates who would be willing and able to fill the vacancy.
The following documents must be prepared for an AGM:
An agenda. As mentioned earlier, the strata council determines the agenda, but a resolution can be added to it if approved by at least 20% of the corporation’s voting members.
A budget and financial statements. Owners have a right to see the numbers. Make statements as clear and useful as possible.
Special levies and expenditures. The exact wording of resolutions that need to be passed by a 75%, 80%, or unanimous vote, including any special levies and expenditures from the contingency reserve fund.
What goes on the agenda?
Your strata’s agenda will be determined by the corporation’s governing documents, and the purpose of the meeting. For an AGM, many agendas will go something like this:
- Certify proxies
- Issue voting cards
- Determine that there is a quorum
- Elect a person to chair the meeting if someone has not already been chosen
- Present proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice
- Approve the agenda
- Approve minutes from the last AGM
- Address unfinished business;
- Review reports of council activities and decisions made since the last AGM
- Ratify new rules made by the strata corporation
- Present information on insurance coverage
- Approve the budget for next year
- Address new business
- Elect a council
- End the meeting
Give proper notice
In addition to scheduling the meeting for a specific time, stratas must also give owners, and anyone else permitted to attend the AGM, adequate notice of the meeting.
Many states in Australia require strata corporations to provide notice of the annual general meeting in writing. Notices are to be handed or sent to owners between 14 and 21 days prior to the date of the meeting. The notice must include:
- The date, time and location of the meeting
- The general nature of business and any resolutions to be discussed (the agenda)
- Any special or unanimous resolutions to be decided
- Financial statements
- The proposed budget for the new year
- A statement explaining that owners have a right to appoint a proxy
In British Columbia, a strata corporation must give the notice two weeks ahead of time, or four weeks in advance of the meeting if the agenda includes a winding up resolution. Every strata owner, mortgagee who has filed a “Form C: Mortgagee’s Request For Notification”, and every tenant who has been assigned a right to vote, has a right to receive notice.
Once in a while, the strata council may find that they cannot get the notice to someone. For example, an owner might not live on the property, and will not give the corporation their current offsite mailing address. As long as the strata has made reasonable attempts to give the notice, no vote taken at an AGM will be deemed invalid due to the fact that someone had not received the notice.
The notice must include:
- A description of matters to be voted on (the agenda)
- The exact wording of resolutions that need to be passed by a 75%, 80%, or unanimous vote
- The proposed budget for the new year
- Financial statements
- All matters or resolutions that are on the agenda by the written demand of at least 20% of eligible voters
Using agendas for council meetings
Strata council meetings also require agendas for many of the same reasons that AGMs require this document. In this instance, the agenda is developed by reviewing the previous strata council minutes to see what unfinished business remains. Those items are added to the agenda, along with financials, reports and new business.
The agenda gives council members, owners, and anyone else participating in a strata meeting, a clear idea of what will be discussed and what needs to be accomplished during the meeting. Think of it as a roadmap to help keep everyone on track. Time is precious, and an agenda helps stratas make the most of it.
Download our free strata agenda template