Trustees – Know the difference between maintenance and improvements – By Basil Smit June 2012

Scenario:

 So the members of the body corporate at the AGM have approved the budget.

With enthusiasm high, the newly elected trustees hold their first trustees meeting, decide how the approved budget should be levied upon the owners and then get involved in an elaborate plan of improvements for the complex.

 Stop! Trustees must, and may only  –

 Maintain the common property on behalf of the owners, which includes;

Ensuring that owners entitled to exclusive use rights of certain areas of common property, keep them in a neat and tidy condition and if in terms of the rules, fully maintain that exclusive use area. If this were not included in the rules, the body corporate would have to maintain that exclusive use area and recoup the costs from that owner.

 Any proposed Improvements to common property would require that Prescribed Management Rule 33 be followed. In simple terms; that all owners in a scheme be consulted before any major changes to common property are made, because all owners hold an undivided share in all common property.

 PMR 33

 Improvements to common property

33.

Luxurious

(1) The trustees may, if the owners by unanimous resolution so decide, effect or remove improvements of a luxurious nature on the common property.

Non-luxurious

(2) (a) Should the trustees wish to effect or remove any improvements to the common property, other than luxurious improvements referred to in subrule (1), they shall first give written notice of such intention to all owners such notice shall-

(i) indicate the intention of the trustees to proceed with the improvement or removal thereof upon the expiry of a period of not less than thirty days reckoned from the date of posting such notice; an

(ii) provide details of the improvement or removal thereof as to-

(aa) the costs thereof; and

(bb) the manner in which it is to be financed and the effect upon levies paid by owners; and

(cc) the need, desirability and effect thereof.

___(b) The trustees shall at the written request of any owner convene a special general meeting in order to discuss and to deliberate upon the proposals contained in the notice referred to in paragraph (a), at which meeting the owners may approve, with or without amendments, such proposals by way of special resolution.

___(c) In the event of such a special general meeting being called, the trustees shall not proceed with their proposals until the holding of such meeting, whereupon they shall be bound by any special resolution ensuing therefrom.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subrules (1) and (2), the trustees shall, if so required in writing by a majority of owners, procure the installation and maintenance in good working order, at the body corporate’s cost, of separate meters to record the consumption of electricity, water and gas in respect of each individual section and the common property.

(4) If and for so long as no separate meters have been installed in terms of sub-rule (3) the contribution payable by each owner in respect of electricity, water and gas shall be calculated in accordance with the provisions of rule 31.

 

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