A Strata Committee: What It Can and Cannot Do

According to the NSW Office of Fair Trading, a “strata committee represents owners or owners’ nominees. The committee is responsible for the day-to-day running of the strata scheme and is elected at each annual general meeting (AGM).”

But what can a strata committee do and more importantly, what can’t it do?

There are specific laws in the state of New South Wales governing the functions and duties of strata committees. Rather than trawl through the legislation, we’ve created this handy guide.

This guide is a quick reference tool to help you better understand the functions of a strata committee, the duties of committee officers, their responsibilities and their limitations.

The Strata Committee

A strata committee falls under the owners’ corporation and each committee member owes a duty of care and diligence when considering matters for the owner’s corporation as specified under Section 37 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.

The owner’s corporation holds several powers over the strata committee, including:

  • Determining the number of elected strata committee members at each AGM
  • Dismissing some or all of its strata committee members
  • Employing a strata managing agent and/or building manager to fulfil some or all of the duties of an elected strata committee

Strata committees may range from 1-9 members. In a two-lot scheme, both lot owners must be committee members and in a large scheme, strata committees must have at least three members. Once elected, three office-bearer positions must be appointed. These are:

  • Chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

An individual committee member may hold more than one office-bearer position. In the event an officer passes away, resigns or ceases to be a committee member, a new officer must be appointed to fill the role until the following AGM.

The Chairperson

The chairperson presides at both general meetings and strata committee meetings. While they are responsible for determining quorums and procedural matters, such as ruling a motion out of order, they do not have a casting vote.

The Secretary

The secretary is responsible for all the administrative and secretarial duties of the strata committee and owners’ corporation. Their core responsibilities include:

  • Managing the strata roll
  • Convening meetings for the strata committee and owners’ corporation
  • Providing notices of meetings
  • Providing minutes of meetings
  • Enabling inspections of accounts and other committee records
  • Giving information to an individual for the owners’ corporation under section 184
  • Answering all correspondence addressed to the owners’ corporation

The Treasurer

The treasurer is responsible for all the financial duties of the strata committee and owners’ corporation. Their core responsibilities include:

  • Sending levy notices
  • Receipting, banking and recording for any money paid to the owners’ corporation
  • Preparation of any strata information certificates under section 184
  • Maintaining all accounting records and preparation of financial statements

For more information about the roles and responsibilities of the strata committee, click here.

Limitations on Strata Committees

While strata committees represent the owners’ corporation, they don’t have the authority to make decisions on all matters. There are a number of restrictions on strata committees and these are in place to ensure all lot owners may vote on these matters at general meetings.

In New South Wales, strata committees cannot:

  • Improve or enhance common property (must be approved by special resolution)
  • Set levy contributions (must be approved by ordinary resolution)
  • Spend more than 10% above the budgeted amount for any item (unless approved prior by ordinary resolution)
  • Commence or obtain legal advice, unless the anticipated costs are less than $1,000 multiplied by total lots, or $12,500 (whichever is lesser)
  • Approve by-laws (must be approved by special resolution)
  • Terminate the strata manager (must be approved by ordinary resolution)
  • Obtain less than two quotes for any works exceeding $30,000 (for large strata schemes comprising more than 100 lots)