A proxy form is a way of you being able to have your say when you cannot attend the annual general meeting of your apartment complex. You may give a representative of whom you trust or who lives in the complex to have your say for you. This can be if you have items to address or if voting for something in particular the person holding your proxy form may vote on your behalf.
What is an apartment proxy form? Good day, it’s Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists. In this podcast we will be talking about proxy forms. These are the forms that enable you to have your say at an annual general meeting, which is the meeting that discusses matters about your apartment complex.
A proxy form is a way of you being able to have your say when you cannot attend the annual general meeting of your apartment complex. And there are two forms with which this can be done.
One, which is the first one here. As you can see here, it is when an owner nominates a person to attend the AGM and vote on their behalf. Generally, it would have been a discussion with the owner and the person who is attending the AGM. In this case, it was me and what is going to be discussed at that meeting. How they wanted to vote and if they want to voice an opinion on anything they think that needs to be brought to light.
Here you can see, it has got the date that it’s attended, the name, their unit number, and obviously the person’s address who actually owns the unit. This person comes from overseas and they gave me their proxy to attend an AGM on their behalf to represent their interests. Their unit was 4H and the representative is me and that’s the date. That’s also their signature and it’s pretty simple.
Another way of doing the proxy form which enables you to actually vote on what they call motions or decisions that are being made in that AGM. Now, in the previous broadcast which I talked about what happens when you can’t attend an AGM and use a proxy form. I gave an example of what happens if there’s a decision where these people want to rebuild the pool and they want to have it completely be heated. For example, this overseas owner may not want that to occur because they’re not going to be able to use the pool. And they don’t live in the particular apartment complex. There will be decisions that needs to be made and so on that decision they want to vote no.
What happens here is that this one is for another complex, where an owner who was not an owner-occupier gave me their proxy form. They allowed me to represent them on their behalf. But what they have done is, they have also put down what their decisions are. So, there was going to be a resolution here and in this case it was as per agenda item. On the agenda that was posted out, there will be a decision and this one is for that decision or against it.
They were for all the decisions being made on the top part of the agenda. They have signed it and put the date there. Obviously that is their signature and all that kind of thing. The details and other important information about expiration. I hope that helps. That is basically the two forms of how a proxy form comes out, which enables you to have your say at an annual general meeting if you’re unable to attend.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
If you can’t attend your AGM, you can get someone to attend on your that person with a proxy form can have input or alternatively a proxy form can be emailed/posted to the committee.
As an owner you will be notified when the meeting is earlier on in the year and then closer to the date of the meeting you will be notified of the meeting minutes.
From there you can add other suggestions for the minutes as well as either getting a representative or proxy from to the committee so you can have your say.
After the meeting there will be Body Corporate meeting minutes that you will have access to and you will continue to be up to date with what is going on in your building.
What happens if you cannot attend your Annual General Meeting for your apartment complex? You could be a person that is about to purchase, and you know you are not going to attend them i.e. you are overseas, or you are out of Auckland, or you simply just cannot make it. How do you stay in touch with what is happening with your apartment and your complex, and still have your say?
Good day, it is Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. Today, we’ll be talking about what an owner can do to make sure that they know what is going on in the building. If they cannot attend the Annual General Meeting. What happens is, about two weeks before an Annual General Meeting, it will be announced. When it is going to be happening before that but they will send out what is called an agenda. The agenda will include all the topics that will be tackled at the Annual General Meeting. In this case, which I would have called April AGM. Which is also the abbreviation through this podcast.
In the agenda, we will know that they are going to be talking about the manager’s report. What has been happening in the year. Then they are going to be talking about certain decisions. For example, is there certain maintenance that needs to occur. An example maybe they are thinking about heating the pool and that is going to come at an extra cost to all the owners. Because it means it is going to have to be rebuilt and all that kind of thing. Everybody has to take a vote on whether they should or should not heat the pool.
There could be lengthy issues that need to be discussed – a whole host of things. So, this will all be in the agenda and it will be posted out to you or emailed. Therefore, whether you are going to attend the AGM or not, you can go open that agenda so you’re prepared for the AGM when it comes. Now, if you can’t make that AGM, there are two options. The first option is you can assign what is called your proxy, which means your vote to a friend, family or real estate agent.
Somebody you trust to go and represent your opinion at that AGM, and voice or vote however you want to vote. Or you can post in a proxy form, which fills out basically what your decisions are on what they call motions. For example, that pool which I mentioned before. What is your opinion on it? You may not live in the complex and you do not think it is going to increase the rent for your tenants.
Now, why should you have to pay for any of the pool if you are not going to use it. It is going to bring no benefit to you. Your opinion may be no and you would tick on that particular motion. Your decision is no and you may have something that you want to bring up because your tenants have been complaining about behaviour or noise in the complex, or the tidiness of the rubbish room. You want to voice that opinion, so you would put that in the proxy form.
Anyway, I hope that helps and to just let you know there is a system in place for you to be able to be heard and still keep an eye on what is going on in that Annual General Meeting. After the Annual General Meeting, what will happen is you will get posted out or emailed out the latest body corporate minutes. You can then read through what has been happening in your building. You can still keep up-to-date with what is going on.
If you have any questions just put a comment below or flick me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How significant is a body corporate minutes to an apartment owner, buyer or seller? Andrew Murray shows some of the essential details that you need to look for in an AGM minutes. Find out more from this video.
Good day, Andrew Murray here for Apartment Specialists. Today, I will be talking about body corporate minutes or AGM minutes. What to look for if you are a purchaser or a vendor or an owner? What things you may want to look into further to make sure you’re making either the right decision? if you’re a purchaser or an owner, you should be aware of everything that’s going on.
Here we can see the property is at 71-73 Bond Street. This is the Regency Apartments and the Annual General Meeting here. Firstly, you have to know who’s present, then you have to elect the chairperson. That’s something that’s quite important. Here you can see, I am the chairperson of the Regency Apartments. Now, when you see something in the body corporate minutes. When it say “moved” here, then Derek Paine seconded it and also Christian Larsen. What that means is, you’re in the AGM where there’s all these people, and someone goes: “Yes, I pass that motion.” It needs another person to go, “Yes, I agree,” and everybody on the floor to go, “Okay.” Then the motion is passed.” What I’ve done is I’ve highlighted areas of note, which you should be aware of. Important notes and maybe that require as a purchaser to look into or an owner to maybe question.
Apologies and proxies : A proxy is where somebody can’t be at the meeting at the AGM , so knowing they can’t. They give their right or their vote to another owner. In this case, we had the building manager held a proxy for Peter Tindall of Unit 2D and apologies for Patricia of Unit 2E, for not being there from the complex. There are 41 apartments in the Regency, so that’s pretty good. What you want to look here, is if there’s a particular individual that’s holding a lot of proxies. That may or may not be a good thing and you may want to look into that. That only means they have influence at meetings.
You have body corporate committee. It gets elected. As you can see, you’ve eight members here, including obviously myself, being Chairman. Anne Wood goes through minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting, as you can see here. They were moved and approved. Then the accounts and this is an important part. This is when you want to see the accounts. Here the financial accounts were gone through. At that AGM, go through them all virtually line by line. Everything that’s spent and that includes income and expenditure. Making sure that’s all in order. That was passed and seconded and that was all in order.
You also got the evaluation and insurance. Now, this is always talked about. Why? Because it’s generally the biggest ticket item; the most expensive part of the budget. This is when you’re talking about the valuation of the building. What are the terms of insurance and that is a lot. Something like car insurance. You can either have a higher value, which means you have to pay a higher excess and that kind of thing. It goes into the specifics of what the insurance covers, which is generally, for example, if there was flooding in the unit.
What would the insurance be? What would the insurance company pay out with regard to rent, if there’s an earthquake? What would happen on common maintenance matters?
Now, this is very important. This is probably the most important part of the minutes. It is when you are seeing what issues are happening or if there are any issues. That kind of thing and here you can see the lift. First thing, th lift is an expensive thing. As soon as you see the lift, just think: “Okay, I need to look into this.” It was noted here that, “The committee may wish to look at another brand of lift. The committee has previously agreed to engage Lionel Senior, who’s a lift expert, to evaluate lift options. It was agreed to put aside $50,000 each year for the next two years, for the lift refurbishment/replacement.”
It was been done in the long-term maintenance plan, but it is being moved forward a little bit. You want to look at that. You would look at the contingency fund or what it used to be called, the second fund. You can see that there is money in place and it is going to be raised by 2016. In this case, you definitely want to look into that. As soon as you see that, as a purchaser, you want more information, so ask the agent. Also, get through the body corporate or the owner, for more information on that matter.
You also want your lawyer to look through it. You then see an external repaint should be done around 2018-2019. Well, that is a good thing because it is going to raise values to the building. It is showing that the committee or the body corporate are focusing on how to raise values. Which means they must have enough money going on, otherwise they’d be looking to and producing it on issues. It could say, “External paint quality was seen as satisfactory, but the issue was the colour.” Now, that’s purely aesthetic, it’s purely about raising the values. That is a very good sign in the body corporate.
As you can see in the budget. It’s moving forward for the next 12 months and here you can see the largest ticket items being the building manager’s fee. The insurance as I mentioned earlier and the long-term maintenance fund. It is good because nearly one of the most expensive parts is actually money being put away for the long-term maintenance plan. To enhance and to maintain the building. This is also a very good sign and so when you see that in those kind of figures.
You will be looking at the body corporate levy and seeing that is quite safe. You will also be looking at the long-term maintenance plan and obviously the lift. The whole painting of the building about to be done. Once that’s done, it looks like you’re going to have a lot more money in the kitty and maybe the levies will reduce. It would be a very good sign or put to other areas to enhance values. As you go through, there’s not too much of note here. It is just talking about levies being paid. If they are not paid, then what does the body corporate do? All that kind of thing.
It is always very important, it talks about, “The long term maintenance plan, as prepared by Opus, was tabled at the meeting.” As soon as you see that or “where is the long-term maintenance plan? You want to ask the agent, to go through the body corporate to get that long-term maintenance plan, so you can have a look at it. You see through here, not too much of note. Utility interest and ownership interest, then there’s the body corporate operation rules. If there were changes, then what were that changes?
It is talking about the ability to remedy the availability to the body corporate. The body corporate shall be entitled to a cover from a defaulting owner. Any fees, costs or expenditure and these sort of things. Basically, giving with body corporate power to assess the damage and go straight to basically a debt agency to raise funds. If there’s any damage caused by another owner. That was due to an owner that was now overseas and there was a leak from their shower; they didn’t replace it in time and they kept on not attending to the matter. It says, “Tenants have damage to the unit below, and we should be able to go after them for the costs,” which we have. I’ve just put my name in to make me feel good and “Christian Larsen thanked Andrew Murray for great work as Chairman.” There you are, it has no relevance to what we’re talking about at the moment.
Going through this is all about more issues being brought up. This is the building manager’s report here. He is talking about the roof of the left pit lock’s corroded and may need repainting or replacing. This is the very top of where the lift is. I noticed there was a little space there, which was slightly corroded. That either needed to be painted or replaced. What was done, it was just a little seal that was put on top. It wasn’t a biggie. But if I were a purchaser or owner. I’d want to look into that a bit further because being new, if that was a bigger problem than it sounded like.
Another matter that was brought up was an issue with the sound of banging pipes between units I and H. Plumbing is very expensive, so you might want to look into that. At the end of the day, it was not what was called water hammer. I’d never heard of this before and that’s when your pipes bang because of the pressure. That was all sorted out, so it wasn’t a biggie. But as a purchaser and owner, you may want to look into that further. You can see what was at the end of the meeting. It was obviously closed at 7:30 PM and the points to be actioned was, “BCA to follow up with Lionel Senior, who’s that lift expert- to obtain an evaluation of the lift.” That goes to you, as you can see that money’s being raised to do that by 2016.
Which is online with the long-term maintenance plan, so that all fits and “The BCA to raise an extra $25,000 for two consecutive years.” This tells you that the body corporate levy is probably going to increase slightly and you’re probably going to look at that. Ask your real estate agent to give you information on the body corporate and what kind of increase that would be. It only ended up being a couple of hundred dollars, but as a purchaser, you’d want to be aware of that.
Anyway, that is in a mouthful but it gives you an example of when you are reading through those body corporate minutes: what to look out for, what is happening and as things come up when to ask questions, when to look further? Not just go, “Okay, I’ve read the minutes. I’m fine.” But you need to address them and do your all your investigations to make sure that body corporate of the property that you’re looking at buying into is a healthy one.
Every building by law is required to hold an AGM every 15 months – this is usually done annually, hence the name.
Topics that are generally spoken about cover the financial statements for the year and the budget movement for it, i.e. what is expected to happen next year, what are all the expenses coming up.
The long-term maintenance plan looks at what is coming up in the next ten years. These should be discussed every Annual General Meeting. It has to be reviewed by law every three years, but it should be discussed.
A large part of the meeting will be around insurance as it is the biggest ticket item. Then all the other expenditures like your building management contracts, service contracts, cleaning and lift maintenance.
The building manger will have their review and then voting for the chairman will occur too. Voting who will be on the committee will happen too. This is very important because you have got to vote on who you want to represent you, especially if you’re in an apartment complex of 100 or 200 people. You are not going to have these meetings five, six, seven times a year, so you elect a committee to make decisions on your behalf on the day-to-day stuff.
What is an apartment AGM? Now an apartment AGM stands for Annual General Meeting. By law, an apartment complex has to have an Annual General Meeting every 15 months. Generally, it happens every year hence why it is called Annual General Meeting. Now this is really important and it will include AGM minutes or body corporate minutes. This is the written recording of these meetings, which is called the Annual General Meeting.
What happens in these meetings? What do they talk about? I will give you some of the topics that they generally speak about. They will talk about the financial statements for the year and the budget movement for it, i.e. what is expected to happen next year, what are all the expenses, that kind of thing. They will also be talking about the long-term maintenance plan. What will happen in the next ten years. Things like these should be discussed every Annual General Meeting. It has to be reviewed by law every three years, but it should be discussed.
You are often shuffling things around because unexpected things come up. This is like, the lift actually needs maintenance in five years because it is shaking a bit. Why don’t we look at bringing it forward two years? Another one is insurance, which is always talked about because it is the biggest ticket item. You often, as a body corporate, go out and talk to the different insurers.
What your body corporate company does for you on your behalf and you come back with different quotes and find out which is the best for your building. As I said, it is probably the largest expense on the budget. You have got other expenditures like your building management contracts, service contracts, cleaning, lift maintenance. Depending on how big the complex is and how many service contracts you are going to have. Picking up the rubbish is just one of these things.
Another one is your building manager review. A building manager will come and give a review each year. What were the good things? What were the points that were difficult? What are the things that can be improved and what is your opinion? What is the ground view or the ground-floor perspective? What is happening in our complex?
These are really important when it comes to owners who do not live in the building, because the building manager is their eyes and their ears to a degree. The next one is obviously voting for the chairman and the owners’ committee. This is very important because you have got to vote on who you want to represent you especially if you’re in an apartment complex of 100 or 200 people. You are not going to have these meetings five, six, seven times a year, so you elect a committee to make decisions on your behalf on the day-to-day stuff.
For example, the rubbish collecting contract. If the garbage guy’s been late, he’s not been doing a good job. It is put on notice or find a new provider. Any major things have to be discussed at an AGM. If it’s a building management, it has to be discussed at an EGM which is when you basically get all the owners back together. That’s really important, in that the biggest thing is if there’s any issues that come up. They’re discussed at the AGM and that’s why it’s really important from a purchaser’s point of view. The purchase need to go through the body corporate comments, because the AGM is the recording of this. AGM for a purchaser is like your health check.
What I am going to do is go over the body corporate minutes and how important they are. An example is the body corporate minutes and understand what to look for, what not to look for. I hope that helps.
It is important as an apartment owner that you know all of your responsibilities. Ideally you need to learn it before you own an apartment.
Paying your Body Corporate levies and costs on time is the most important thing to do. If you don’t pay it, you’re going to get penalised, but the big one is, you’ve got no vote. You have no say and you cannot actually complain or do anything.
Adhere to the Body Corporate rules. These are things like you are not allowed to be washing on the balcony.
Make sure your tenants and guests adhere to the Body Corporate rules.
If your tenants are not adhering to the Body Corporate rules, you are going to be liable.
Make sure your apartment does not affect the buildings of other apartments. For example, structure. You cannot make modifications to your apartment that affect the structure of the overall building.
Allow access to your unit, if the Body Corporate requires. This is an important one as a couple of times a year the Body Corporate has to do certain checks. Those checks have to be in place for you to get your insurance and your building insurance.
Informing Body Corporate of your contact details for any changes.
If renting your apartment, you need to give them your property manager’s details. You do not want the body corporate ringing you if there is a problem with the tenants.
What do apartment owners have to do? Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. You are about to own an apartment. So what does that mean? What are your responsibilities?
It is really important you understand and it is pretty simple, but there’s a few you may not be aware of. However, you really need to know all of your responsibilities. Obviously, you need to learn it before you own an apartment. I’ve got my nine main points of the things you have to do. You can do more than that if you want to be part of the committee, so you’re more involved in running your building. But as an owner, if you just want to live in the building and do the bare minimum, these are the things you have to do.
Number one: Pay your body corporate levy and costs on time. Obviously, the money goes to the budget, which will run the whole building. If you don’t pay it you’re going to get penalised, but the big one is, you’ve got no vote. You have no say and you cannot actually complain or you can’t do anything. Make sure you pay your body corporate levy.
Number two: Adhere to the body corporate rules. These are things like you are not allowed to be washing on the balcony or don’t put washing on your balcony. Number two, if you’re not allowed to paint your balcony, which in most cases is a definite no. You do not go and paint the balcony pink, because your owners are not going to be very happy.
Number three: Make sure your tenants and guests adhere to the body corporate rules also. Realise that if you are renting your apartment out, you are the person in the firing line. If your tenants are not adhering to the body corporate rules, you are going to be liable. Make sure your tenants and your guests do.
Number four: Make sure your apartment does not affect the buildings of other apartments. What comes into this is, for example, structure. You cannot make modifications to your apartment that affect the structure of the overall building. Going back to what I said before, that is the reason why you cannot paint your deck pink. Because it is not going to make the whole building look very good. It affects the value of the building. There are other ways of looking at apartment complex and you got one balcony that is completely painted pink. The other ones are white and that is not going to look good.
Number five: Allow access to your unit, if the body corporate requires. This is an important one, because for example, a couple of times a year the body corporate has to do certain things like checks. Those checks have to be in place for you to get your insurance and your building insurance. Things like checking that all the fire alarms work, and you’ll have ones in your unit or the sensors for example.
Number six: Informing body corporate of your contact details for any changes. If something happens they need to contact you. For example, if the pipes from the unit above start leaking and they are going into your tenants apartment. They will need to contact you immediately.
Number seven: Advise your body corporate of your change of ownership. Generally, your lawyers can do that, so that probably comes in when you sell your apartment.
Number eight: If renting your apartment, you need to give them your property manager’s details. Now by law, if you have a contract for more than three weeks, you have to have a property manager. This is really important, because you are paying your property manager a fee, or a percentage of the rent. The manager will look after your apartment. You do not want the body corporate ringing you if there is a problem with tenants. Make sure you give them your rental manager’s details.
Number nine: I’m just going to go out and actually, I have already mentioned it before. Just remember, pay your body corporate levy otherwise you have no vote at your AGM. It is like you are not even part of the body corporate. I know I repeated that one there, but it is obviously the most obvious one.
I hope that helps. Obviously, you can get more involved in your investment, your apartment if you want to. I would highly encourage you to do so. I’m on various committees of apartments I own. Which is obviously, going to the committee, get involved in the day-to-day operations. It’s not that much work, but it’s about putting time back in and you will get a lot out of it. When you are involved in how to enhance your own buildings value and improvements.
Now I hope that helps, Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists and talk soon.
What exactly is a Body Corporate? What is its significance to apartment buyers? Andrew Murray will provide his insights and why it’s an essential factor in every apartment building. Learn more from this podcast.
What is a Body Corporate?
A lot of people will buy an apartment thinking a body corporate is a company. They think, “Oh, because it is body corporate, I do not have control.” That is actually not the case. A body corporate is not a company. It is not an external company that looks after your complex or your apartments. A body corporate is actually you. When you buy an apartment, you actually become, automatically, part of the body corporate.
These body corporate companies that you hear about, like Strata, The Crockers, BCA or Body Corporate Admin or Strictly Body Corporate. All these kind of companies, they are actually employed by the body corporate, which is decided by the owners. Because as an owner, you are the body corporate. The first thing you need to know is the distinct difference between buying a house and buying an apartment.
Buying a house, you are in charge of doing the lawns. You are in charge of doing the rubbish. You are in charge if the house needs to be repainted. The roof needs to be redone every fifteen years. With a body corporate, the body corporate as a whole has to be in charge and you can not just let it go. You can not just go, “Ah, yeah, I’ll do it next year. It’s not too bad.” Everything has to be looked after spick and span, which is actually better.
That is where you have got to understand the big one. Just because you are in the body corporate, it does not mean you have control. Everybody has a vote and you all elect a committee to represent you, which is also voted at, what is called the AGM, the annual general meeting, which happens once a year.
The body corporate is actually responsible for, not the individual – like inside each person’s apartment. The body corporate which is, you know now, collectively you are all responsible for the maintenance and the up-keep of what is generally called the common property. The common property are the corridors, the lifts, the actual building structure. You know, if you have got a pool, if you have got a tennis court, if you have got land, if you have got a garden – things like that. When you buy an apartment, you have got to understand that you are actually becoming the body corporate. You are becoming part of that body corporate. And that is really important.
Now, what I will do in the next podcast is actually go over what does a body corporate actually do? What are their key responsibilities?
I will help you understand more of what a body corporate does. It will help you understand how to look, when you are looking at an apartment to buy, how good is your body corporate. It is almost like a health check. That’s what these body corporates minutes are. So you’ve got to know what a body corporate is to be able to judge if it’s a good one. Okay, Andrew Murray, apartment specialist, hope that helps, and talk soon.