The Property Practitioners Act of 2019 came into effect on 1 February 2022. The Act itself has 77 sections in 11 chapters, and the regulations include a further 41 headings in 8 chapters. The reason people involved in community scheme management should read this lengthy Act, perhaps selectively, is that it regulates those who manage community schemes for reward.
You might want to start by looking at the Code of Conduct set out in section 34.3 of the Act to see how these apply to the activities of managing agents and paid trustees. A property practitioner includes any person who for remuneration manages a property on behalf of another — see item (c) in the definition of “property practitioners” in section 1. The Act provides for its own dispute resolution procedures, and section 20(5)(a) of the CSOS Act allows a CSOS adjudicator to give an order requiring a managing agent to comply with the terms of an applicable code of conduct.
Regulation 34.2, under the heading “Code of Conduct”, sets out the “Duties Applicable to All Property Practitioners”. These duties are:
- Not to do or omit to do any act that is contrary to the integrity of property practitioners in general.
- As best they are able, to protect the interests of their clients at all times, with due regard to the interests of all other parties concerned.
- Not to accept a mandate if its performance requires specialised skill or knowledge falling outside their field of competence.
- Not to willfully or negligently fail to perform any work or duties as carefully and skillfully as might reasonably be expected of a property practitioner.
- To comply with this Act, its regulations and all applicable bylaws.
- Not to do anything indirectly via a third party that they are prohibited from doing under this Act.
- Not to influence anyone entitled to trust funds to pay them any interest earned on those funds.
- When instructed to invest a client’s money, to do so at the best interest rate available in the circumstances and pay the full interest accrued to the client.
- Not, without just cause, to divulge any confidential information obtained regarding a client’s affairs to any third party.
Interestingly, regulation 34.1 allows the Property Practitioners Authority to supplement this code of conduct, after consulting with the industry representatives of the property practitioners concerned.
For paid trustees, the obligations under the Property Practitioners Act must be seen against the background of the duties set out in the Sectional Titles Schemes Management and Community Schemes Ombud Service Acts and their regulations.
Graham Paddock is a specialist community schemes attorney, notary and conveyancer. He has been advising clients and teaching students for over 40 years, and was an adjunct professor at UCT for 10 years.
Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 17, Issue 2.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.