Fight For Your Extension

22 May 17

 I have had a number of managers come to me very concerned that their committee will not support an extension of their caretaking and letting agreements. They have the distinct impression that, if the committee does not support the “top-up”, any extension will not happen.

 

Obviously, a top-up which is supported by the committee will invariably be passed at a General Meeting of the Owners Corporation/Body Corporate. A top-up that is not supported by the committee is going to be much more difficult to pass.


However, don’t despair! As an owner of a lot, you have a right to place a motion on the agenda of an AGM to top-up your caretaking and letting agreements. Provided you lodge the motion within the required timeframe, the motion must be placed on the agenda and the final decision rests with the owners. All you need is an ordinary resolution (a majority decision) in your favour. If the committee are not supportive of your extension request, they will no doubt lobby against you. Consequently, you must fight for the extension and do your own lobbying.


I am always reminded of the battle that David and Honi Ranieri had at Riviera Apartments in Sydney. They had a committee who would not support their extension and they spent a long time trying to convince this committee otherwise. In the end, they resolved to move past the committee and go direct to the owners. They soon learned that the committee are irrelevant when it comes to the extension.


The Ranieris’ argument was that onsite managers had a long-term view and the committee a short-term view and, in some cases, personal agendas. Their argument to owners was that the continuity of experience that the management rights system provides was the best system available for the building (when compared to hired caretakers or committee-run management). They used a combination of social media (including Facebook and Twitter), email newsletters and organised information nights to communicate their message to owners.


A key element of the Ranieris’ approach was that, at all times, they remained respectable to the committee and praised their volunteer status, but explained that committees can change every year and no-one has more experience and knowledge of the complex than the onsite management team. This approach took the “personal” out of the debate. Overall, they did seven information nights with PowerPoint presentations and achieved an overwhelming “yes” vote at the AGM.


How the Ranieris achieved their top-up at Riviera Apartments is easy to replicate as long as you are prepared to roll your sleeves up and fight for your extension. In my view, the Ranieris’ approach is an example of what every manager should adopt when they encounter a difficult committee who will not support their top-up.

 

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
Disclaimer – This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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