In a strata scheme, the owners corporation starts when a strata plan is registered with the Registrar-General. In most cases the builder or developer will be the original owner.
The owners of the lots in a strata scheme are known as 'The Owners – Strata Plan No. X'.
Usually the builder or developer, the original owner is the owner of the scheme when the strata plan was registered.
The initial period begins when the strata plan is registered with the Registrar-General and ends when one-third of the unit entitlements have been sold.
The unit entitlement refers to the unit owner’s ‘share’ of the strata scheme.
Restrictions during the initial period
During the initial period, the owners corporation must not:
- change or cancel the by-laws or make extra by-laws that do not give a right or obligation to all owners or all lots
- alter common property (except under a development contract)
- incur a debt for more than is set aside in its funds to repay
- borrow money or give securities
- appoint a strata managing agent or caretaker to continue after the first Annual General Meeting (AGM)
- sell any common property.
Application to the Tribunal to alter any common property
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal resolves property disputes.
During the initial period, the owners corporation can apply to the Tribunal for an order to waive, vary or get rid of a restriction. If the restrictions are not followed,, the original owner is liable for any debt or loss of the owners corporation or an owner.
Duties of the original owner
During the initial period, the original owner is responsible for all duties of the owners corporation, even if the first AGM has not been held.
First Annual General Meeting
The original owner must hold the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) within two months of the end of the initial period. There can be a fine of up to $1,100 if this is not done. Notice of the AGM must be given to each owner and each first mortgagee and covenant chargee shown on the strata roll at least 14 days before the meeting.
At least 48 hours before the first AGM, the original owner must give the owners corporation:
- all plans, occupation certificates, specifications, diagrams, maintenance and service manuals, depreciation schedules and other documents and policies relating to the strata scheme
- all development consents, complying development certificates and related endorsed plans, 'as built' drawings, compliance certificates (within the meaning of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979), fire safety certificates and warranties obtained or received by the owner or lessor and relating to the scheme or any building, plant or equipment in it
- the initial maintenance schedule
- any interim report or final report of a building inspector prepared under Part 11of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and relating to any building on the parcel
- any other document or item relating to the scheme or any building, plant or equipment as prescribed (eg. sewer diagrams)
- the certificate of title for the common property, the strata roll and any notices or other records about the strata scheme, but only if the original owner has control of them
- the accounting records and the latest financial statement.
A penalty of up to $11,000 can apply to a breach.
Voting rights of the original owner
At the first AGM, if you are the original owner and still own half or more of the total unit entitlement:
- and a vote by poll or special resolution is called, the value of your vote is reduced to one-third of your unit entitlement.
- or the motion for electing the strata committee, your vote is reduced to one vote for each three lots you own.
- or a poll is called on the election of the strata committee, your vote is reduced to one-third of the total unit entitlement.
First AGM agenda
The agenda for the first AGM must include the following:
- to confirm or vary the amount of insurance cover
- the required number of strata committee members and their election
- appointment of a strata managing agent, including what functions should be delegated and the remuneration that should be paid
- to decide whether insurance taken out should be confirmed, varied or extended
- accounting records
- to decide, confirm or vary the amount of contributions
- preparation of 10 year capital works fund plan
- whether a building manager is to be appointed
- to consider the initial maintenance schedule
- to consider building defects and rectification
You can apply to the Tribunal if:
- the first AGM is not held,
- the first AGM is held but a strata committee is not appointed, or
- a committee has been elected at the first AGM but no office bearers have been appointed.