Our Strata Manager believes that if everyone agreed to the amendment then the substantive motion could be passed without further attention. Is he right? – Ian, NSW

Q: I participated in a recent Strata EGM in which we voted on a very large special levy which was on the agenda. Our Strata Manager chaired the meeting. The levy motion was brought to the fore and after about 10-15 minutes of general discussion about the levy proposal a procedural motion was made and seconded to amend the agenda item levy amount.

The chair then permitted lengthy open discussion about consideration of other changes to the proposed levy which were to be the subject of a second amendment motion, yet to be made by a committee member, before resolving the first amendment. This completely confused a number of meeting participants and confounded consideration of the first amendment motion.

This conversation was allowed to meander into irrelevant considerations/queries from certain owners. Eventually the first motion was put to a lengthy and repeated vote count where voters became confused about what they were voting on. It was defeated.

The Chair then facilitated the committee members secondary procedural amendment motion which was briefly heard before voting and resolving in the affirmative. The Chair then moved to other agenda items and did not allow a clear and concise reading of the now amended substantive levy motion and a substantive vote on that.

A deliberate effort to state the carried amended motion in full and then call a vote would have been helpful. My major concern is that apparent consensus on the terms of an amendment and a subsequent procedural vote may not necessarily convey clear authority to fund levy amounts required to be approved by majority resolution on a substantive motion.

Our Strata Manager sees no problem with conducting meetings this way and only relying on an affirmed procedural amendment vote to satisfy the requirement for a substantive resolution. His view seems to be that everyone agreed to the amendment so therefore the substantive motion could be passed without further attention. Is he right?

A: Amendments to motions are a common occurrence and permitted on the provision that it is not changing the nature of the motion.
If there are concerns that the amended motion approved was due to mass confusion and doesn’t represent the majority owners’ preference, it is recommended that the amended motion be included in another general meeting to either rescind or confirm to progress further.
In order to convene another general meeting, the secretary of the committee, the majority of the committee, or 25% of lot owners (by unit aggregate and are financial), will need to make the request. Therefore you may wish to write to all owners with a copy of the minutes to express your concerns and ask that if they are in agreement, they express their interest in convening another meeting in writing to the secretary (or strata manager under delegation).
If you do not receive the numbers to convene the additional meeting, it may be a reflection that the voting owners understood the amendment and are supportive of the resolution.