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Posted 20 July 2023
Beware of time limits when placing notices for general meeting into the postal system
A recent case brought us back to basics with respect to the timeframes in which notices of general meetings must be served under the Strata Scheme Management Act 2015 (“SSMA”).
Pursuant to Schedule 1 Clause 7(2) of the SSMA, a notice of a general meeting of the owners corporation must be served on each owner at least 7 days before the general meeting. Please see below the excerpt of clause 7(2) of the SSMA:
“7 Notice of general meetings other than first AGM
Note—A priority vote may be cast in the circumstances set out in clause 24.
The owners corporation was recently stung in the decision of ACA Developments Pty Ltd vs The Owners – Strata Plan No. 73759 (2023) (“ACA Development“). In this case, a notice was issued to convene a general meeting of the owners corporation with a motion to pass a by-law aimed at restricting short-term accommodation. However, the notice was served 5 clear days prior to the scheduled meeting, failing to meet the mandatory 7 day requirement under the SSMA. As a result, the Tribunal declared the resolution made at that meeting as invalid and repealed the by-law registered subsequent to the motion’s passage.
In ACA Development, the owners corporation served the meeting notice through a mailing company, and the mailing company lodged the notice with Australian Post 2 days short of the statutory requirement. Delivery to a mail house is not delivery to the postal system. In accordance with the Interpretation Act 1987, service of the notices was deemed be effected on the seventh working day after they were posted, with the day of receipt excluded from the calculation.
The ACA Development case also highlighted the significance of strict compliance with the 7 day notice requirement, as established by a previous Supreme Court case, The Owners – Strata Plan No 62022 v Sahade  NSWSC 2002 (“Sahade“). In Sahade, the notice of the general meeting was served one day late, precisely six days before the meeting. The Supreme Court emphasized that strict compliance is necessary, particularly when the Act employs the terms “must” and “at least,” ensuring the effectiveness of a properly served notice.
So what is a clear working day?
Considering the insights from these cases, it is vital to serve the general meeting notice to all owners a clear 7 days before the scheduled meeting, excluding the day of receipt and the meeting day itself. Set out below is an example calculation of the earliest day that the meeting may be held based on various service options:
|Days||Service by post within
|Service by hand delivery||Service by email|
|Tuesday 1 March||Notice posted||Notice hand delivered||Notice sent by email|
|Wednesday 2 March||Working Day 1||Clear Day 1||Clear Day 1|
|Thursday 3 March||Working Day 2||Clear Day 2||Clear Day 2|
|Friday 4 March||Working Day 3||Clear Day 3||Clear Day 3|
|Saturday 5 March||Not a working day||Clear Day 4||Clear Day 4|
|Sunday 6 March||Not a working day||Clear Day 5||Clear Day 5|
|Monday 7 March||Working Day 4||Clear Day 6||Clear Day 6|
|Tuesday 8 March||Working Day 5||Clear Day 7||Clear Day 7|
|Wednesday 9 March||Working Day 6||Earliest date for meeting||Earliest date for meeting|
|Thursday 10 March||Working Day 7 – Deemed
|Friday 11 March||Clear Day 1|
|Saturday 12 March||Clear Day 2|
|Sunday 13 March||Clear Day 3|
|Monday 14 March||Clear Day 4|
|Tuesday 15 March||Clear Day 5|
|Wednesday 16 March||Clear Day 6|
|Thursday 17 March||Clear Day 7|
|Friday 18 March||Earliest date for meeting|
In addition to the essential timeframe requirement for general meetings, the SSMA imposes other obligations in regards to convening a general meeting, such as the method of serving written notices and the recipients who must receive the notice. These requirements encompass various aspects related to convening a general meeting.
If you require guidance tailored to your specific situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bannermans Lawyers for advice and assistance.