Noticeboard not enough – keeping owners informed

| February 17, 2012

In the communication age we currently enjoy it is important for strata laws to reflect our level of connection. Strata manager Natalie Fitzgerald calls for greater distribution of correspondence to ensure all owners are given a fair opportunity to participate in the running of their strata schemes.

Successful strata living is created through the successful creation of a community which in turn is fostered through communication. And yet only those buildings defined to be a ‘large scheme’ – meaning they number more than 100 lots are obligated to provide minutes and agendas to all owners. With large schemes making up only approximately 0.08% of all strata schemes in NSW – that’s a lot of owner’s left potentially in the dark.

Given that all major decisions that are within the power of the Executive Committee are made at Executive Committee meetings, surely all owners, no matter the size of the building should be given not only the opportunity to attend those meetings, but are entitled to receive the minutes that detail decisions that are going to impact directly on them – without needing to ask.

It is unrealistic and even unfair to expect that placing agendas and minutes on a noticeboard constitutes proper notice to owners in relation to minutes. Without even debating the somewhat possible dubious placement of noticeboard – what of the many investor owners, who in some schemes often out-number the owner-occupiers? Large expenses impact not only large buildings but all buildings and the obligation to send out minutes – thereby communicating with owners should be one placed on all Owners Corporations.

Not only would owners in general be more informed in relation to the operation of the building but they would become enlightened as to the work and effort contributed by the Executive which in turn becomes clearer and more transparent. In the age of digital communication the distribution of information is simple and cost effective. There seems to be no reason not to keep all owners informed all of the time.

The personality of a building, its livability – is formed undoubtly through the strength and sense of community. It is an often discussed opinion that apathetic owners through their disinterest impact negativity on the sense of shared ownership and responsibility in relation to a building. However – it’s very possible that what is often seen as disinterest is simply a case of not knowing. By obligating through law that all owners are sent the minutes – that all owners are informed and given a genuine opportunity to be involved we may well experience a shift in the positive towards more harmonious strata living.

Natalie Fitzgerald is a Senior Strata Manager at McCormacks Strata Management where she is responsible for the management of large and complex strata schemes in Sydney’s CBD and Lower North Shore. With her career in strata spanning over eleven years Natalie is an advocate of consumer rights and involvement within the strata sector. In 2011 she was awarded the ISTM (now SCA (NSW)) Schindler Strata Industry Awards for Excellence – Young Strata Manager of the Year.


Strata Consultation Questions:


Q1. What are the main areas of the existing strata and community scheme laws you would like to see changed?

Q2. Can you see any future issues that need to be addressed in the legislation?

Q3. How could the management of strata and community schemes be improved?

Q4. Are there any changes needed to the way disputes in strata and community schemes are resolved?



  1. billen ben

    February 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

    knowing before the fact

    I actually feel it is more important the owners get a detailed agenda than it is they get minutes. Minutes aren’t much chop if there was something decided by the EC that the owners didn’t really want the EC doing. If owners get the agenda, proper notice and cl11 of Schedule 3 of the SSMA is a footnote on the agenda then there is at least the opportunity to possibly veto the EC; if the owners want to.

    "It is unrealistic and even unfair to expect that placing agendas and minutes on a noticeboard constitutes proper notice to owners ……"
    Not only is placing agendas on a noticeboard unsatisfactory notice but it makes using the veto of cl 11 of Schedule 3 of the Strata Act very, very difficult for several reasons. Cl 11 of Schedule 3 is the only tool the owners have to control the EC. Knowing what the EC wants to do is a higher priority than knowing what they have done. Knowing both is the best outcome for owners.

    "It is an often discussed opinion that apathetic owners through their disinterest impact negativity on the sense of shared ownership and responsibility in relation to a building."
    It is more than just an opinion, for many SP’s it is a fact of their existence. I can say from experience that in large SP’s the sending of agendas and minutes does little for "a shift in the positive towards more harmonious strata living".

    • RayD

      February 28, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Schemes since 1997 have to mail notices to owners

      I am continually dismayed by the lack of knowledge by so called industry experts.

      The Act (or more specifically, the Regulations) has already addressed this problem 15 years ago by effectively removing the use of notice boards from schemes registered since 1997. The Act says, in all cases of displaying notices, words like “if the owners corporation is required by the by-laws to maintain a notice board” otherwise mail the stuff out. The model by-laws offered since 1997 DO NOT have the requirement to maintain a notice board.  Even the Office of Fair Trading’s Strata Living booklet makes this point.

      Even if the notice board has been installed, unless the by-laws require one, the notices have to be mailed out.

      Because the by-laws in force for a strata scheme are the by-laws adopted at the date of registration [s 41(2)] schemes older than 1997 have to repeal the old by-law 18 to bring them into step with more modern schemes.

      • Natalie Fitzgerald

        Natalie Fitzgerald

        February 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm

         Speaking in strictly

        Speaking in strictly general terms there are a very large number of strata schemes that were registered prior to 1 July 1997 and which will have in place the Schedule 1 by-laws –which require that the Owners Corporation maintain a noticeboard. And it would seem likely that a great number of them have not repealed by-law 18.  

        Practically speaking, small schemes (and perhaps at times incorrectly) are relying on the provision in Schedule 3 that allows for notice to be served via the noticeboard (and yes, provided the by-laws provides for one to maintained).
        It seems warranted to suggest that this matter can be simplified – an amendments to the Act that requires all schemes give personal written notice and minutes to all owners of Executive Committee meetings, regardless of size (or by-laws).