Role of secretary - owners corporations

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Who can be the secretary?

Your owners corporation (formerly body corporate) must have a secretary.

The secretary is responsible for tasks including managing correspondence and organising meetings.

If there is no committee, only a lot owner may be secretary of the owners corporation.

Where there is a committee, the person elected as secretary of the committee is also your owners corporation secretary. This person can be either:

  • a lot owner
  • a lot owner’s proxy
  • the owners corporation manager.

The secretary can also be chairperson.

Your owners corporation manager can assist the secretary. The owners corporation can nominate others to assist the secretary. This must be decided at the annual general meeting and recorded in the minutes.

Role

The title of secretary identifies the person who is legally responsible for specific duties.

The secretary:

  • organises meetings and acts on the owners corporation or committee’s instructions
  • is responsible for sending notices, minutes and other correspondence within deadlines. Failure to do this could mean important decisions are open to challenge
  • does not have any decision making powers unless delegated by the owners corporation or committee. Delegated powers must be set out in an ‘instrument of delegation’ and recorded in the minutes.

Duties

The secretary must:

  • be the secretary of the committee and the owners corporation
  • have an instrument of delegation from the owners corporation or the committee
  • act on the directions of the owners corporation
  • act on the directions of the committee
  • receive petitions against an interim special resolution
  • receive ballot forms at general meetings or via post, telephone or electronic means in accordance with the owners corporation rules
  • receive proxies from lot owners
  • prepare the notice and the agenda for committee meetings
  • give three days’ notice of committee meetings
  • keep minutes of committee meetings
  • collect records and funds from a manager after the manager has been removed
  • certify and record rules with Land Use Victoria
  • act honestly and in good faith, exercise due care and diligence and not make improper use of his or her position.

Powers

The secretary has the power to:

  • convene the annual general meeting
  • convene a special general meeting
  • arrange a ballot.

Skills required

The role of secretary requires detailed knowledge of the Owners Corporations Act 2006, the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007, and other relevant legislation.

The job requires:

  • strong organisational and administrative skills
  • good interpersonal skills
  • sound writing skills (for taking minutes and correspondence).

Tips for being an effective secretary

  • Make sure minutes are settled and distributed within 14 days.
  • Keep accurate minutes.
  • File past minutes for easy reference.
  • Prepare agendas for meetings with the committee and the manager.
  • Keep and file correspondence.
  • Inform the committee and owners corporation about correspondence, issues, complaints and actions taken.
  • Maintain accurate contact details of the committee and have these handy.
  • Always have necessary documents at meetings, including a list of financial and non-financial members, lot numbers and previous minutes.
  • Bring all other relevant documents to meetings, including the Owners Corporations Act 2006, Owners Corporations Regulations 2018, Subdivision Act 1988, owners corporation’s rules and a copy of the plan of subdivision.
  • Ensure you have received and checked all proxies, and allocated responsibility for taking minutes and supervising ballots.
  • Ensure that members know well in advance when the next meeting will be held. It is helpful to set the time and date for the next meeting, and the closing date for submitting items for the next agenda, before the meeting closes.

What if the owners corporation secretary is not available?

If the secretary is absent, or there is no secretary, the chairperson or the manager can act as secretary.

Removing a secretary

The secretary can only be removed by an ordinary motion at the annual general meeting or a special general meeting. Removal of the secretary does not affect their committee membership.