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Can you vote at an AGM?

When you live in a sectional title scheme there is a voting process that takes place at Annual General Meetings, special meeting and general meetings. Most tenants or owners choose not to attend, but if they do the process is as follows; Management rule 60 deals with voting procedures at a general meeting. Most resolutions will be decided by a show of hands in which each person who is entitled to vote will have one vote. If an owner has more than one unit it the scheme he will have more than one vote, for example, if an owner has 4 units in the scheme, he will have 4 subsequent votes.

Ordinary resolutions are usually decided by this method of voting, unless any person entitled to vote, either before or on the declaration of the results of a vote, demands a poll. If this is the case, voting will have to be decided by a poll based on participation quotas, unless there is a system of nominated values that differ from the participation quotas and is enforced by the scheme. Some developers set out nominated values when establishing the scheme, when this is done every unit pays a set levy or charge regardless of the size of the participation quota.

These values are described in section 23(4) of the Sectional Title Act and may have been nominated by the developer prior to establishment or in exceptional cases, by the body corporate by special resolution after establishment. Where such values have been set, they will be used for all voting and levy purposes. They must not be confused with nominated participation quotas in combined commercial and residential schemes. Nominated values do not amend or replace the participation quotas within a scheme. The only apply to voting and other obligations within the body corporate.

If a body corporate wishes to implement nominated values instead of using the usual participation quotas a special resolution of all the members must be obtained. If a member of the scheme is adversely affected in any way, the member must still agree in writing even if the required percentage vote was obtained. If this is the option chosen, body corporates, developers and trustees should seek expert counsel and advice before attempting to introduce nominated values.

If as an owner you are in arrears with your levies or if you are in breach of the conduct rule, you will be unable to vote regardless of how many sections you might have, but you are still allowed under the management rule 64 to vote on special and unanimous resolution votes which affect the greater scheme. If your unit is owned by one or more person, the joint owners will be entitled to only one vote. This could be in the case where a company or organisation own part of a unit. A managing agent is normally given a proxy vote in this case to attend meetings on behalf of the company to cast their vote.

Most schemes think that the chairman of the trustees has the deciding vote, this is however incorrect. The chairman, like any another section owner is only entitled to the amount of votes he has based on the amount of sections owned.