Voting in a body corporate: General meeting resolutions

Voting at an AGM

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Many body corporate decisions are decided by vote at either an annual general meeting or an extraordinary general meeting. 

This article looks at the different types of resolutions and the criteria required to determine an outcome.

Ordinary Resolution

An ordinary resolution is the most common resolution at a general meeting and serves as the backbone for decisions in a scheme.

An ordinary resolution is carried by a majority vote – if there are more yes votes than there are no votes, then the motion is carried. If there are more no votes than yes votes, then the motion is defeated. If the vote ties – so an equal number of yes and no votes, the motion is also defeated.

If a voter abstains, it is not included in the count, meaning their decision neither helps nor hinders the resolution’s passing.

When a motion is included on the agenda, all lot owners have the right to vote by casting a YES, NO or ABSTAIN vote as the motions are tabled. For a vote to count, the lot owner must be financial. This means they do not have any form of body corporate debt against their lot before casting a vote.

Each lot has 1 vote on a motion, however, a poll vote can also be used to decide an ordinary resolution. Instead of attributing each vote as 1 for or against a motion, a poll vote counts the entitlements of the lots voting on the motion.

For example, if:

  • Lots 1 to 5 have 1 lot entitlement each
  • Lot 6 has 3 lot entitlements
  • Lot 7 has 4 lot entitlements

In an ordinary resolution poll vote, lots 6 and 7 voting yes would pass a motion against lots 1 to 5 voting no, because their combined lot entitlements would be greater. 

Poll votes are not automatic. By law, they are only conducted at the specific request of a lot owner.

Ordinary resolutions can approve maintenance and repairs over the committee’s spending limit, set annual levy contributions, and adopt the administrative and sinking fund budgets.  

Special Resolution

Special resolutions are for significant decisions requiring strong support.

To pass a motion through special resolution:

  • at least two-thirds of the votes cast must be in favour of the motion
  • the number of votes against the motion is not more than 25% of the total number of lots
  • the total lot entitlementsof the votes against the motion is not more than 25% of the total contribution schedule lot entitlements for all lots in the scheme.

All 3 conditions must be met for the motion to pass. If a voter abstains, it is not included in the count, meaning their decision neither helps nor hinders the resolution’s passing.

Special resolutions can consent to change a by-law (excluding exclusive use by-laws), approve common property improvements exceeding $2,000 per lot, and to approve the body corporate’s financial statements to be audited.

Resolution without dissent

For a resolution without dissent to be carried, all votes cast on the motion must be a YES vote in favour of the motion. Any NO votes render the motion defeated regardless of how many YES votes are cast.

If a voter abstains, it is not included in the count, meaning their decision neither helps nor hinders the resolution’s passing.

The most common motions requiring a resolution without dissent deal with changes to exclusive use allocations, changes in entitlements and leasing and purchasing of common property for private use.

Any owner who is unfinancial, meaning they have a body corporate debt against their lot, can still vote on a resolution without dissent. It is the only decision a non-financial lot owner can vote on.

Majority resolution

While less common, majority resolutions pass if more than 50% of entitled owners vote in favour of a motion. Votes must be in writing, and proxies aren’t allowed. If a voter abstains, it is not included in the count, meaning their decision neither helps nor hinders the resolution’s passing.

A majority resolution is required to transfer management rights to a letting agent.

Secret ballots

Some motions may also be considered by secret ballot regardless of the resolution type. When a secret ballot is required under the legislation, the body corporate must appoint a returning officer – an independent party who scrutinises the validity of all votes cast, prior to determining the outcome of the motion.

The most common examples of a secret ballot are entry into caretaking and letting agreements and variations to caretaking and letting agreements.

See our article Secret Ballots in Body Corporate Decision Making.

Proxy voting

When voting at a general meeting, owners who are not present or not able to vote, and who are financial and without any debt on the lot, may appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf.

Proxy voting can be achieved on most resolution types except for motions that deal with entry or variations to the caretaking and letting agreements, engagement of a body corporate manager or the engagement of a service contractor, as defined under the Act.

Voting by the rules

The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 outlines rules for counting votes for each resolution type. These rules ensure fairness and transparency in the decision-making process.

When a motion is included on a general meeting agenda, the voting paper must say what type of resolution is needed to pass the motion. If no resolution type is given the committee may be able to decide the issue, or it can be managed by ordinary resolution.

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