Is there another way to change the rules drawn up by a developer, without the effort of writing to over 100 owners to gain a prescribed number to agree? It is unlikely we will get a quorum at the AGM.

William, VIC

As mentioned, the power to amend, revoke or create rules may only be exercised by the owners corporation at a general meeting, by passing a special resolution. If the owners corporation is unable to form a quorum, then the general meeting may proceed on the basis that the resolutions passed at the general meeting will be interim resolutions except form motions requiring unanimous or special resolutions. As the requirements of an interim special resolution are different, it is essential that the general meeting obtains a quorum. This can be dealt with both practically and legally as outlined further below.

In a practical sense, the committee may attempt to create greater lot owner engagement by writing to all owners and explaining the importance of the issues being voted upon.  The committee may seek to explain that lot owners may participate in the general meeting in person, by proxy or by teleconference and that votes may be cast by ballot, which may be submitted electronically.  This may alleviate some of the resistance of lot owners to particulate in the general meeting.

Subject to the limitations in the Act and any special rules of the owners corporation regarding proxies, lot owners who are prepared to attend a general meeting and vote may be given authority to vote on behalf of lot owners who are not able to, or interested in, attending a general meeting and voting.

If a quorum can be achieved, but the motion fails to receive the necessary 75% of votes (or 75% of total lot entitlements), it may still constitute an interim special resolution if 50% of all votes are cast in favour of the motion and not more than 25% of all votes are cast against the motion.  If an interim special resolution can be achieved, then the owners corporation must, within 14 days, send notice of the interim special resolution to all lot owners along with the minutes and a statement that the interim special resolution will become a special resolution after 29 days, unless more than 25% of the lot owners petition the secretary against the motion with that 29-day period.

Finally, if all of the above measures do not succeed in creating sufficient lot owner participation to obtain a quorum, then the manager or a lot owner may wish to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order to resolve the issue created by the lack of quorum. VCAT has the power to make an order it considers to be fair in the circumstances. Accordingly, the committee may wish to obtain legal advice into the prospects of applying to VCAT for the necessary orders to permit the owners corporation to amend the rules, despite the inability to strictly comply with the legislative requirements for a special resolution.

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