Writing Motions for Meetings
16th November 2019
Any lot owner can submit a motion to be considered at a general meeting. Lot owners are invited to submit their motions when the initial notice of meeting is sent out.
This is an important opportunity for lot owners, particularly people who are not on committees to have their inputs. If you really believe, for example, that the barbecue needs to be replaced, here is your opportunity to submit a suitable motion accompanied by two quotes and an explanatory schedule explaining just why people should vote for the motion.
Michael Teys, founder of Teys Lawyers has a useful acronym “SMART” to help people write motions.
The example Michael uses is:
“The body corporate replace the barbecue in the pool area at a cost of $3,200 before the commencement of the summer holidays by accepting the quote from XYZ being the lesser of the two quotes attached.”
Michael said that this motion is a SMART motion because it is
- S Specific – it relates to a particular thing, the barbecue near the pool
- M Measurable – you can tell if the motion has been implemented
- A Action-oriented – there is a call to action, replace the barbecue
- R Realistic – the timing is logical and capable of being met
- T Technically correct – there are two quotes and both are attached
Michael Teys gave some examples of poor wording that would be likely to mean that the committee would rule them out of order:
- That the body corporate keep all the equipment on the common property in good working order (not specific)
- That the body corporate should improve the common facilities (not measurable – how do you tell that the motion has been implemented?)
- That the body corporate should give consideration to fixing the barbecue (not action-oriented – this motion only requires thought not something to be done)
- That the body corporate should keep the barbecue working all the time (not realistic – things do break)
- That the body corporate fix the barbecue whatever the cost (this is not technically permitted under the BCCM Act. Two specific quotes should be attached)
We encourage unit owners to submit sensible S.M.A.R.T motions to their committees for consideration for inclusion in the agenda for the next general meeting. Should a committee decide to rule a motion out of order at a committee meeting, the minutes of that meeting should give clear reasons why that motion has been ruled out of order. Similarly should the chairperson at a general meeting rule a particular motion out of order, the minutes of that general meeting must include the reasons why.