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Residents' meetings and input 

Residents have the right to arrange and attend meetings to discuss the operation and management of the village, or other topics of interest, or vote on matters for which their consent is required.

If the village has a residents committee, the committee can arrange a residents’ meeting. If there is no residents committee, the residents can ask the operator to arrange a meeting for them.

Who can attend a residents' meeting? 

In general, only residents under a village contract, or their appointed proxy, may attend a residents' meeting. A person with power of attorney or who is officially appointed as guardian or trustee for a resident may also attend. The residents may consent to other people attending a meeting, such as friends or relatives or tenants in the village. Residents do not need to attend meetings if they do not wish to do so.

If the residents agree to allow the operator (or the operator's representative) to attend the meeting, that person must leave the meeting while residents are voting on any matter, and may return to the meeting after that.

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When is residents' consent required? 

The operator is required to obtain the consent of residents before certain actions may be taken. Consent can only be given at a meeting of residents. The residents committee cannot give consent on behalf of residents.

Some of the matters that require general consent are:

  • establishing a residents committee
  • allowing persons other than residents to attend or remain at residents' meetings (eg, relatives or friends of a resident or residential tenants in the village)
  • changes to the recurrent charges other than by a fixed formula and the change exceeds the Consumer Price Index change
  • approving the proposed annual budget or amending an approved annual budget (in some cases consent is not required)
  • consenting to not being supplied with a proposed annual budget, or having accounts audited or receiving quarterly accounts (in small villages)
  • the appointment of a new auditor (if the audit fees are to be paid by the residents)
  • dealing with a surplus in the annual accounts.

Matters that require consent by special resolution are:

  • a proposed change to the village rules
  • asking the operator to arrange for a village emergency system
  • changing the village services or facilities
  • in some circumstances – use of money from the capital works fund.

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How do residents give consent? 

There are two types of consent:

  • general consent - this requires more than 50% of those residents who vote (in person or by proxy to agree to the proposal being voted on. The vote can be by show of hands or ballot
  • consent by special resolution - a special resolution is carried only if it is passed by at least 75% of the residents who vote (in person or by proxy or postal vote) and a written ballot must be conducted.

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Ballots for special resolutions 

A written ballot must be conducted for any proposal that requires a special resolution. Residents must be given at least 21 days written notice of the meeting. The notice must:

  • set out the resolution
  • specify that the matter requires a special resolution
  • specify that the residents may submit their vote in writing before the meeting (and explain how to do so), and
  • be accompanied by a ballot paper initialled by the returning officer.

The returning officer is a resident (who is not a member of the residents committee or standing for election to the residents committee) selected by a show of hands at a meeting of the residents.

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Proxies 

A resident may appoint a proxy to represent them at a meeting if they wish. The prescribed proxy appointment form must be used. The village operator cannot be appointed as a proxy.

A proxy holder can only vote on a matter if the resident who appointed them does not vote. No more than two proxies can be held by any one person.

A resident who appoints a proxy can revoke the appointment by giving the person written notice. Otherwise, a proxy automatically expires after the first meeting at which it is used or, if not used, after six months of being given. The same person may then be reappointed as proxy.

In a strata or community scheme village, a proxy appointment for an owners corporation or community association meeting is not valid for a village residents' meeting and vice versa. These are separate meetings under separate laws.

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