The Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA) and Community Schemes Ombuds Service Act (CSOSA) have been signed by President Jacob Zuma.
While the two new acts introduce very significant changes to scheme management law, as well as bringing the CSOS fully into operation to resolve scheme administration disputes, no confirmation has been received on when the new regulations will be Gazetted.
“We are waiting formal communication from the Department [of Human Settlements] as to when the regulations will be published,” said Coenie Groenewald, chief operating officer at the National Association of Managing Agents. “Process states that the regulations become effective on the date of publication. We are also trying to obtain a copy of the signed regulations from the department.”
According to Michael Bauer, GM of property management company IHFM, current draft regulations include:
- Establishing a reserve fund to cover costs of future maintenance and repairs to common property.
- The chief ombud, local municipality, and local registrar of deeds need to have the domicile registered so that in events of cases being brought against bodies corporate by owners or vice versa, there is one address by which to serve notices.
- The regional ombud can be approached to assist schemes in recovering arrear levies.
- Certifying changes of levy contributions in writing.
- A limit is placed on the number of proxies held per person and an individual will not be able to be proxy for more than two members.
- The chief ombud can be approached to assist in cases where there is a stalemate in achieving either a special or unanimous resolution.
- The chief ombud can assist where there are differing management or conduct rules.
- Conduct rules must be made available at all meetings and given to people who are new to the scheme, whether owners or tenants.
- The body corporate must be notified of details of any change of ownership.
Dispute resolution watershed
“In addition to the above changes, the CSOS will be available to assist in dispute resolutions and control sectional title governance,” said Bauer. “At present it is thought that the service will be available to all with a minimal administration fee and it will also be funded via a small stipend attached to the scheme’s levy payments. The amounts payable will be proportionate to the levy amounts paid.”
Any person can apply for the CSOS to assist them in disputes and this will include assistance in coming to a resolution on matters.
For the first time bodies corporate will have a relationship with tenants, and vice versa, and the CSOS will refer matters that cannot be resolved to either conciliation or adjudication services.
“Once all these changes are implemented, sectional title management should become more streamlined, although there might be a few teething problems along the way (as one can expect with new systems). Trustees should, however, see these changes as a positive move and be ready to implement them as soon as they are promulgated,” said Bauer.
Ed’s note: Bear in mind these are all draft regulations, and will only be either approved as is or amended on a yet-to-be-disclosed date. HomeTimes will bring you more on this very important development as it unfolds