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Should the Chairman chair meetings rather than the Strata Manager?

One of the most interesting practical considerations of Strata Management is whether the Chairperson should chair the meetings of the Owners Corporation and Strata Committee, or if the Strata Manager should.
Section 41 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (SSMA) states that the Strata Committee members must appoint a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer of the Strata Committee. Section 42 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 states a function of the Chairperson is to preside at Owners Corporation and Strata Committee meetings. To preside, according to the Oxford dictionary, is to ‘be in the position of authority in a meeting or other gathering’; or (preside over) ‘be in charge of (a place of situation)’.
Further, Section 13(f) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 provides further clarity that the Strata Manager can be delegated functions including of ‘conduct of meetings of the Owners Corporation’.

 

For many years, the SCA Strata Management contracts known as the ‘Strata Management Agency Agreement’ has included a clause providing the Strata Manager with the delegation on behalf of the Owners Corporation to act as Chairperson of meetings. This is the basis that Strata Managers have accepted the role of Chairing a Strata Meeting.
A fair, experienced Chairperson is a critical to ensuring effective outcomes for your strata scheme. The legislation framework in NSW is set up so that duly convened meetings are the mechanism for decisions in Strata Schemes. This is to ensure that the democratic majority of owners / strata committee members have their say and fairness prevails in each decision made for the Owners Corporation.
To ensure that all the facts are provided and heard so that all the members are well informed of the issues at hand is critical. Effective leadership from a capable chairperson guides the members towards making sound decisions.
But finding such a person is not always easy. In many cases, these types of men and woman are busy running businesses and/or households! Which is why many strata schemes prefer that the Strata Manager chair their meetings.
In practical terms, an effective Strata Manager is more likely to be clinical when performing the role Chairperson. The Strata Manager does not have ownership within the scheme so are less likely to be impacted by politics and more likely to be well versed and adhere to strict procedures in Strata meetings. This reduces the likelihood of decisions being overturned by the NCAT on a technicality.
What the team at The Strata Collective thinks is best practice for a Strata Scheme is that an effective Chairperson chairs the meeting and if that person doesn’t exist, empower the professionals – find a great Strata Manager and work with them to achieve great results for all owners. To perform our health check on effective meetings click here.