select
|

New laws for community housing schemes now in effect

The long-awaited revisions to the laws governing community housing schemes like townhouse complexes, retirement villages and residential estates become effective today (7 October 2016), and according to specialist sectional title attorney Marina Constas, homeowners and residents can expect some positive changes in the way that their developments are run.
 
“Residents of community schemes falling under the banners of sectional title, homeowners’ association, share block, retirement village and housing co-operative will be faced with two new acts, The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act and the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) Act,” explains Constas, who is a director of BBM Attorneys. Outlining the history of the new Acts, she reveals that they became effective today, but they were promulgated in 2011, and actually first conceived 18 years ago. “These laws have been a long time coming, and they are critical, considering that South Africa has the fourth highest concentration of community schemes in the world,” Constas stresses.
 
The new Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act is the result of the reworking of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986, she reveals. “All the sections of this Act relating to the operational management of the scheme were removed and migrated to the new Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, which is a more streamlined piece of legislation. It has 22 sections that are written simply, with less prescriptive language. The main changes that property stakeholders should be aware of are the necessity for every development and its trustees to create a reserve fund, the holding of a maximum of two proxies per person for meetings, the placing of a building under administration by the Magistrate’s Court instead of a High Court, and the preparation by the trustees of a written, ten-year repair, replacement and maintenance plan.”
 
Constas says that another interesting feature of the new Act is the conduct rules, which now permit guide dogs in sectional title complexes. “The trustees’ consent on this issue is now assumed,” she expands, and adds that the new Act also no longer has a towing provision for illegally parked cars.
 
In terms of how the new CSOS Act will affect community schemes, Constas says that a levy will now be paid by these schemes to the Community Schemes Ombud Service on a quarterly basis. It will be used to fund the Ombud’s office’s provision of an effective, alternative dispute resolution process for owners and residents of community schemes, as well as for quality training of adjudicators and mediators and improved governance documentation. “The schemes will recover this levy from each owner on a monthly basis. The CSOS amount payable is based on the development’s monthly levy approved at the AGM. The first R500 of the levy is exempt. Any amount over and above the R500 will attract a CSOS tariff of 2%, capped at R40 per month.”
 
Constas contends that the CSOS Act will improve neighbourly relations and boost the value of units in community housing developments.
 
The issue of the affordability of dispute resolution services was a key contributor to the establishment of the Community Schemes Ombud Service, she states. Elaborating on the dispute resolution process now offered, and the costs, she says that owners, tenants, bodies corporate, homeowners’ associations, share blocks and retirement villages may bring their disputes to the Ombudsman’s office. “The Ombud will decide whether the dispute must be dismissed, mediated or arbitrated.  If the matter goes as far as arbitration, then the arbitrator’s award can be made as a Magistrates’ or High Court order. It can be appealed on points of law. The fee for applying to the Ombud to resolve a dispute is just R50. Once it reaches adjudication, R100 is payable. If the adjudication is outsourced by CSOS, the private adjudicator will be bound by a daily fee prescribed by CSOS.
 
“The CSOS model is based on the principle of transformation,” Constas adds. “The payment of the CSOS levies undoubtedly provides subsidisation to previously disadvantaged owners, who could not afford legal fees, and who were excluded from accessing justice. It is exceptionally heartening to see how the National Association of Managing Agents, trustees and industry stakeholders have embraced the consultative process, and the way forward for this exciting new era in the community living space,” she concludes.


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 16 Jan 2018
      The start of the new year is symbolic of new beginnings. A good time to take stock of one’s possessions as well as how necessary they actually are. However, seeing as the process may appear daunting – a plan goes a long way.
    • 16 Jan 2018
      The Western Cape is still in the throes of a severe drought and many households have to adjust the way they use and save water. It is a little more complicated in sectional title schemes, however, as it is not that easy to implement grey water systems for multiple users and it is also difficult to monitor water usage accurately if there are no separate water meters
    • 15 Jan 2018
      In ideal rental situations, when a lease is signed the tenant will stay for the full duration of his lease without any complications and the landlord will uphold his obligations, creating a win-win situation for tenant and landlord.
    • 15 Jan 2018
      The Atlantic Seaboard’s housing market has stoically withstood the brunt of the growing economic and political instability, consistently achieving double digit growth way above the national average, however, in 2017 South Africa’s most resilient market finally began to yield to the pressure.
    • 15 Jan 2018
      Sectional title insurance can be a little confusing and, as a new owner, you may be tempted to just assume your body corporate has you covered. While this may be the case, understanding the extent of your coverage and your personal liability is the only guaranteed way to protect yourself against potentially costly oversights.
    • 12 Jan 2018
      After an exceptionally good 2016 during which the Winelands residential market outperformed the national average by a considerable margin, 2017 was marked by a difficult winter which saw a notable slump in sales and demand.
    • 12 Jan 2018
      Small spaces can make a big impact. Irrespective of size, an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space can be a major selling point for prospective buyers. “Even if the outdoor area is small and only enough to sit and have a cup of coffee, it might just be the feature that makes the stand out from others in the neighbourhood,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 12 Jan 2018
      The boom of the digital age has opened up many doors to the way we buy and sell property. In the past we used to pop out and pick up the latest copy of the property magazines available, today we switch on the PC or grab our smart phones as online property portals & Facebook has become the new ‘go-to’ for anything, including shopping for your new home from the comfort of your couch.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK