Committee Members are Voluntary
Committee Members cannot be paid for their time and effort other than in limited circumstances and in limited amounts.
No doubt committee members in a body complexes often undertake a significant amount of work and spend considerable reforming their functions as committee members. In some cases committee members feel they should be paid for their time, however, there is no provision that allows for committee members to be paid and there are serious limitations to what payments may be made to committee members.
A committee may only decide to pay a committee member $50 per meeting, up to a maximum of $300 in a 12-month period. This is allowed under s 43 of the Standard Module. Any other reimbursement sought by the committee must be approved by ordinary resolution of the body corporate.
There have been many decisions from the Commissioner’s Office that make it clear that body corporate funds may only be used in relation to the administration and maintenance of the common property of the scheme.
This means that a committee member may certainly seek to be reimbursed by ordinary resolution of the body corporate if they have incurred those costs in relation to the administration and maintenance of the common property of the scheme. However, this must be approved by an ordinary resolution of the body corporate. It is not a right, and it is open for the body corporate to reasonably reject such a claim.
Even if a body corporate agrees to pay money on behalf of a lot owner or committee member, it must be in relation to the administration and maintenance of the common property of the scheme. It has been said by adjudicators that “body corporate funds cannot be used for other purposes, regardless of how worthwhile that other purpose may seem to be to owners”.
The body corporate’s funds must be used for the administration and maintenance of common property. If a committee member reasonably incurs costs relating to that, the body corporate may decide to reimburse that committee member. Otherwise, it is not possible for committee members to be paid for their voluntary work.