The current COVID-19 public health emergency has had a substantial impact on everyone’s lives and the ACT Government has been considering what action Owners Corporations should be taking to help reduce the risk of exposure to their owners, occupiers and managers. An important way of helping achieve this is to avoid face-to-face meetings, such as Executive Committee meetings, the annual general meeting of Owners Corporations and any general meetings Owners Corporations would normally convene to make decisions about the management and administration of their units plan.
What is happening?
In response to this issue, the Minister has made a new regulation which exempts unit plans from having to conduct face-to-face meetings during a public health emergency. This will apply from now until the Government declares the public health emergency is over.
How does this work?
Under the existing Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011, there are already discretionary functions that allow Owners Corporations and Executive Committees to determine processes and make decisions that are appropriate and in the best interest of all owners. The exemption regulation is designed to work in conjunction with these functions and provides Owners Corporations and Executive Committees the ability to determine the most effective and practical approach appropriate to their individual unit plans at this time. This includes holding meetings via teleconference or videoconference.
What do Owners Corporations need to do?
The new exemption regulation only removes the requirements for Owners Corporations and Executive Committees to hold face-to-face meetings. Owners Corporations and their Executive Committees will still need to follow processes in regards to notifying owners of matters where decisions will need to be made, when they need to made by, how they are to be decided, and provide the opportunity for all owners to cast their vote on matters where eligible, including still using absentee or proxy voting forms.
The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020 includes new electronic voting and meeting procedures that Owners Corporations and Executive Committees can use as a guide for the meeting and voting processes they could adopt at this time. This will also provide an opportunity for units plans to trial the new methods ahead of commencement of the new provisions when the new reforms begin on 1 November 2020.
What about the upcoming Unit Title Reforms?
The reforms that were passed on 18 February 2020 under the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020 are still scheduled to commence on 1 November 2020.
Work is continuing preparing the information and materials for the upcoming reforms. This information will be made available to the community on the Build Buy Renovate website before the new legislation commences.
- Media release - Virtual meetings to keep owners’ corporations functioning during physical distancing
- Talk to your managing agent to help prepare and send information to owners to let them know of the changes to meetings as well as start organising the best way for your Owners Corporation to keep in contact while social distancing rules are in place.
- Read more about unit title reforms
- Owners Corporation Network ACT
- Phone Access Canberra on 13 22 81
- Submit a question online