There are at least 35 000 residential sectional title (ST) schemes in SA incorporating more than 1-million homes, and ST sales as a percentage of total home sales have risen from around 34% to around 37% in the past year*, bringing the role of ST trustees increasingly into the spotlight.
“One only has to consider all the arrangements that needed to be made at the start of lockdown to keep ST schemes functioning, and the many decisions about security, refuse removal, cleaning, maintenance and finances that have to be made daily, to realise the vital role that trustees play,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar.
“Indeed, it is primarily the trustees of any ST scheme who determine its long-term success, not only in terms of creating a harmonious living environment through effective application of the ST management rules but also in terms of ensuring property asset growth for the benefit of all owners in the scheme by facilitating sound financial management and maintenance.”
And it is in recognition of this important role, he says, that the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) Act provides in Regulation 14 for trustees and any other housing scheme executives to take reasonable steps to “inform and educate themselves about their scheme, its affairs and activities and the legislation and governance documentation in terms of which community schemes operate”.
“The reality, though, is that the majority of trustees just get elected at the Annual General Meeting of their body corporate without much exposure to any of the role expectations, applicable legal framework, and practicalities of being a trustee – a position which often comes with a great deal of encroachment on their personal time and no form of direct compensation or visible appreciation from other members of the body corporate.
“In other words, they often need help to get to grips with the complexities of their new position, which is why we have decided to launch a free e-learning course that specifically equips trustees with the legal and practical knowledge to fulfill their roles confidently, effectively and in compliance with all the legal and governance requirements for managing ST schemes.”
Schaefer says the course references the latest ST legislation, promulgated in October 2016, as well as Trafalgar’s 50 years of ST management experience, and is broken into seven modules. These are all accessible on an online training platform and trustees who sign up will have three months to work through them, sequentially as presented, or based on personal needs and priorities.
“Our ST consultant Karien Coetzee, who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, is the training moderator and will be available via the e-learning platform to answer any questions. Those who pass the quizzes at the end of each module will also receive a certificate of completion for the course.”
Trustees can enroll by submitting their details at https://www.trafalgar.co.za/sectional-title-trustee-training and will then receive login details and registration instructions.
*According to the latest statistics from property data company Lightstone.