Take control of the issues you want your body corporate to resolve by submitting an owners motion
When the body corporate legislation changed in March 2021, body corporates were introduced to the idea of owners’ motions – proposals owners can submit to the committee that must be voted on within a fixed period.
The idea is a positive one for both owners and committees as it provides a clear formal pathway for owners concerns to be voted on at committee level.
In theory, the motions provide an easy way for body corporates to sidestep prolonged debate and move matters to the point where a definitive position can be established.
In practice, the idea doesn’t really seem to have caught on with many owners either unaware of this area of the legislation or unwilling to use it when asked to do so.
Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Legislation can be complex and many owners don’t feel confident expressing themselves within the parameters required. It remains easier to send an email and hope someone else will fix your issue than take action to fix it yourself.
The push to encourage owners’ motions may now sit with body corporate managers and committees by emphasising their capacity to bring matters to a head. For Committees, there is a particular advantage in advocating for owners motions when dealing with challenging owners. The process can help minimise the need for debate while putting pressure on the owner to define and present their issue.
So what do you need to know?
Firstly, all owners have a right to submit a motion.
When owners do submit a motion, the committee is obligated to make a decision on the matter within six weeks of receipt of the motion. They can make this decision either at a committee meeting or via a VOC.
The committee must either provide the owner with a decision within six weeks or give them a reason why and nominate an additional time period of up to a further six weeks for the decision to be finalised. If there is no decision after 12 weeks, the motion is considered defeated.
From an owners perspective, submitted motions need to be clear and enforceable. They need to be an issue that can be dealt with by the committee – otherwise, a general meeting may be required. If costs are involved, they may need to submit quotes so that the committee can vote to approve them.
Writing a motion can be a bit daunting, however, you are not expected to be a lawyer – just an owner with a clear proposal that can be voted on. If you need some help drafting a motion, you can always ask your body corporate manager for assistance. You might also look to AI for assistance. While researching this article, we ran some motion writing tests on ChatGPT. Of course, the responses weren’t perfect, however, they provided a starting format that could easily be adapted into something more suitable.
Of course, not all submissions will bring the response the owner wants, but that’s how the process works. Committees are appointed to make reasonable decisions and this includes saying no as well as yes. For an owner who has had an idea rejected, at least you know where you stand. There are pathways to follow as a next step if you want to take the matter further.
Our sister site, LookUpStrata, regularly receives questions from Queensland lot owners about owners motions. We’ve provided many of the responses and you may find some of the Q&As helpful – QLD: Q&A AGMs, Motions in Strata and the Obligation to Act.
If you have any questions, ask your manager for assistance:
Tammy Lynch: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 0466 156 765
Samantha Morrison: email@example.com P: 0434 670 058
Kelly Borell: Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org P: 0435 766 852
Will Marquand: email@example.com P: 0427 125 656