Why do we need a Residents Committee?
We are a Strata community and as such we have a functioning Strata Committee and a Strata Manager. Do we need a Residents Committee as well?
Let’s unpack that a little…
From around 2014/2015 Mountain View began to transition away from Strata and into Leasehold. As with most transitions it will be a work in progress for many years. While ever there is one Freehold unit in the village, it will be a Strata community. At the time of writing, new residents have the choice between buying Freehold or Leasehold and there are benefits for each, but we have now evolved into more than 50% Leasehold units, and that means some things need to change.
Let’s start by comparing the two committees:
Because we are a Strata community, we must have a Strata Committee that is elected by the residents at a General Meeting. The Strata Committee makes decisions about:
- Common Property
Most decisions are made at Strata Committee meetings, but more significant issues require a vote from residents at a General Meeting.
The residents decide whether or not we have a Residents Committee, but it makes good sense to have one. With more Leasehold than Freehold units, the balance has shifted.
The Residents Committee provides a conduit between Residents, Management, and Operators (Aveo/Brookfield). If an issue arises, the Residents Committee can assist residents by advising on who to talk to, what avenues are available for resolution, and by providing ongoing support throughout the resolution process.
One of the major factors in support of having a Residents Committee is for Leaseholders to have a support network within the village that is more finely attuned to Leasehold issues. Freehold owners vote at General Meetings on issues of significance within the village. Leasehold owners, until recently, voted through the collective vote of Aveo at General Meetings. Aveo recently introduced the capacity for a proxy vote of Leasehold owners on most issues of significance. This means that Leasehold owners now have a say outside of the collective vote of Aveo. The Residents Committee will keep Leasehold residents informed of their rights with regards to voting, and inform residents of key issues that might need their attention prior to voting on any issue.
We have both Leasehold and Freehold units in Mountain View, so it makes sense for the two committees to work together. Both committees want Mountain View to be the best Retirement Village it can be, so working together for the common goal has to be more productive than each working alone. Both bring different perspectives to the relationship and can share knowledge and experiences to produce the best outcomes for all.
Our new (Interim) Residents Committee
An open meeting for residents was held in the Community Centre (CC) in May for the establishment of an interim Residents Committee. Why an Interim committee? Most Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are held late in the year and with only six months of 2022 left, an Interim committee would fill the void until the AGM is held in November and a new committee is elected.
To say the interim committee has hit the ground running is an understatement. Notices on the community noticeboard in the CC have been updated; folders have been purchased to house relevant information and will be placed in the CC; a mailbox has been set up in the CC to house correspondence from residents (questions/suggestions/feedback); letters of support have been sent to two residents who have issues with their levies.
The first Open Forum was held this week and was a great success, not only from the perspective of the committee members but from residents as well. Issues were raised by residents and suggestions for solutions were presented by the committee members, with a plan to support residents at meetings with the appropriate person/agency.
The Forum was preceded by lots of homework for the committee. The Retirement Villages Act 1999 and the Retirement Villages Regulation 2017 are what we, as a Retirement Village, are based on. And just to confuse the issue, as a Strata Scheme, we also need an understanding of the Strata Scheme Management Act 2015. I imagine the midnight oil burned brightly in the units of the committee members leading up to the Forum.
None of this could have been achieved without ongoing support from a member of the Retirement Villages Residents Association (RVRA). A representative from RVRA guided us through the vital steps of setting up the committee and holding the first Forum, which was professionally delivered and has set the scene for the future success of the MVIRC. The RVRA representative has offered his ongoing support if it is needed.