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Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 123

Summary:

When you cannot attend an Annual General Meeting, you have the option to get a proxy. However, you will need to get an apartment proxy form for this purpose. What exactly is a proxy form? What are the information being asked on the form? All these questions will be answered in this podcast. Get all the details from this video.

TRANSCRIPTION:

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 andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz.

Cheers, bye.

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 122

Summary:

How do you stay in touch with your body corporate when you cannot attend an AGM? How do you know what is happening in your apartment complex if you’re not in the meeting? This podcast answers these questions and provides an alternative solution if in case you cannot attend the AGM. Watch the video to get some essential tips from the apartment specialist.

TRANSCRIPTION:

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 andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz.

Cheers.

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 115

Summary:

What exactly is an Annual General Meeting (AGM)? What is usually discussed in this meeting? Being a part of the body corporate, it’s one of your sole duty to attend the AGM. This podcast will discuss the importance of this meeting and why every owner should attend it. Get the full details on this video.

TRANSCRIPTION:

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.

Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. Talk soon.

Cheers. Bye.

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 90

Summary:

What is a Quorum for a Body Corporate Meeting ? Why is having a quorum important?  What is its significance? Get all the details by watching this video.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. Talking about questions I get asked about Auckland apartments. Apartments that are for sale. And a question that I get asked from time to time is “What is quorum?”

Now it’s a word that I couldn’t even guess when I first heard it. Now what quorum is, is the legal amount of people that are present to make a body corporate meeting legal. Or an owner’s committee meeting legal. So you have three general types of meeting involved with apartments. You have A.G.M. which is an Annual General Meeting. You have an E.G.M. which is an Extraordinary General Meeting and you have an Owners Committee Meeting.

Okay so an Annual General Meeting, obviously by the name, happens once a year. That’s when all the owners get together and make a decision. They”ll elect their committee. They’ll elect their Chairman, and they’ll make a decision on passing of financials and things like that. Now for that meeting to actually take place and actually be legal to represent all the other owners, you need to have at least 25% of all the owners present. And that’s what’s called a quorum.

Now then you’ll have an E.G.M. And that’s an Extraordinary General Meeting. Now that’s when a meeting happens when something needs to be discussed, it’s very important about the building and it can’t wait the next, sort of 12 months – or actually it’s more like 15 months – for the next A.G.M. Okay and that has to be 25%.

Then you have an Owners Committee Meeting. Now in an Owners Committee Meeting, there isn’t actually set rule that at the A.G.M. they decide what a quorum is. So at the A.G.M. and Owners Committee Meeting’s, so the member that get elected with a Chatirman and they decide how many member’s that’s going to be. Whether it’s eight, nine, six, ten, things like that. And then they’ll decide what a quorum means so how many members have to be present from that Owners Committee to be able to make decisions on behalf of the other apartment owners.

Now generally it’s 50%, so they’ll say there will have to be 50% of the people on that Owners Committee present to be able to make a decision. And they can legally represent all the other owners. But they could say only two people have to be present. But I don’t really see that as being fair because then you can obviously have people very influential and other parties, their feelings may not be presented properly.

So in a recap, a quorum is what a legal number of people that have to be present to make a decision to represent other owners in an apartment complex. Whether that be an A.G.M. an E.G.M. or an Owners Committee. Now there’s one small thing I will add. That the owners don’t have to be physically present, they can put in proxies, that means they can have another representative attend those meetings and vote on their behalf. Which also counts towards those quorum numbers.

Anyway I hope that helps you understand what that word quorum actually is and what it means in the apartment number industry. And anyway, thank you and I’ll talk to you guys soon.

Cheers.

how do agms and egms effect apartment owners and purchasers

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 37

SUMMARY:

A brief explanation about Annual General Meetings (AGM) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM); why Auckland apartment owners and purchasers should pay particular attention when an EGM has been called; and what you should do as an owner to protect your property.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. What is an AGM and what is an EGM?

Now, it gets a bit confusing when body corporates have all these different meetings on what is going to happen with the buildings and you hear AGMs talked about, and EGMs talked about. And often you will ask the question, what is the difference?

AGM stands for Annual General Meeting and EGM stands for Extraordinary General Meeting. Now an Annual General Meeting is held every 12 months on average, but it has to happen within 15 months of the previous AGM. The purpose of an AGM is to allow all the owners of an apartment complex to have their say on what has happened. It’s the time when they elect the chairman, they elect the owners’ committee. Anyone who cannot attend is able to put in votes, which are called proxies. So, they can either give a proxy to their rental manager or another owner to be able to vote on their behalf. Or they can actually write in what their decisions are.

Now as an owner, you should always be aware of what decisions are being made at the AGM. It’s just like voting for the Government. You want to be having your say. And I find that a lot of agents and owners take this a bit like it’s parliament, they just do not vote when they should. And that can be quite frustrating when decisions are made which could have been turned with a few more votes.

An Extraordinary General Meeting is what you have really got to watch out for because, as soon as you see Extraordinary General Meeting, just the word, you should be thinking, Umm. Because ‘extraordinary’ means it’s not normally happening and it generally falls into two categories. One, that an improvement is going to happen. Well probably three categories. One, an improvement is going to happen and you need to raise some money. So there’s probably going to be a special levy i.e. you made the decision to paint a building to raise rents. So everybody puts in an extra $500, every owner, to enable this to happen because it is not in the budget. Or maybe the lift suddenly goes and you need a new lift. So that would be a maintenance problem. You have to vote on it. Should you get a brand new lift or should you just recondition the lift? It may be less but that means you may need a new lift in another five years. Or if you just replace the lift,  it would last for 20 years etc. Those kind of decisions.

Then you’ve got the ones that you’ve really got to watch out for. As it means an issue has come up. So nothing is in the Minutes. Something has come up and needs to be discussed on what to do. Should a report be done – that kind of thing. That is from a purchaser’s point of view.

If you are doing your due diligence, you want to be asking, has there been any EGM’s in the last 12 months? Because it might not be in the latest minutes and you may not be aware of what is going on in the building.

So always ask for the last two years’ body corporate Minutes. Have there been any EGMs? Extraordinary General Meetings. That should help you out. The AGM is what happens every year. It is pretty normal. An EGM, is when there is something that is not normal, but you want to know about it, especially if you are a purchaser and an owner because it’s going to affect you. Hence the word extraordinary.

Hope that helps. And I haven’t decided what I am going to talk about next time. I will talk to you next week.

Cheers!

 

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