Being elected as a committee member in Queensland is more significant than what most owners think. Decisions of a committee are decisions of the body corporate and its powers must be exercised in a reasonable way at all times.
The operation of a committee is governed by the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997(“Act”) and the relevant regulation module for the body corporate concerned. The legislation sets out various restrictions on what committee members can and cannot do (e.g. committee members cannot make decisions relating to restricted issues). Also, Schedule 1 A of the Actsets out 6 codes of conduct which committee members must abide by.
So what does this mean for committee members?
If you are a committee member, you should consider your statutory obligations before you vote on a committee motion. Remember all decisions must be reasonable and in the best interests of the body corporate.
Unlike owners voting in general meetings, where they can cast their vote in a way that is against the interest of the body corporate (i.e. they have a selfish vote), committee members must not do anything which puts them in breach of their duty to exercise their powers bona fide and in the interests of the body corporate.
That said, an owner who is also a committee member may vote selfishly in general meetings even though their interest in the subject matter is opposed to the interest of the body corporate, provided they do not also use their position as a committee member to influence the outcome of the vote.
Potential liability for committee members?
Under the Act, committee members are not civilly liable for an act done or omission made in good faith and without negligence in performing their role as a committee member. Committee members should be mindful of the extent to which they could be held accountable for decisions made on behalf of the body corporate.
If you are a committee member and you are in doubt of your obligations, our friendly staff at Bugden Allen Lawyers will be pleased to assist you.
Author: Kevin Pai