THE Community Schemes Ombud Service Act 9 of 2011 is expected be effective soon.
The minister of human settlements has now appointed the board members of the Community Scheme Ombud Service – this was published in the Government Gazette in March this year. Sectional title owners and trustees will be able to use the ombud service to, among other things:
Provide a dispute resolution service and to provide education, information, documentation and such services as may be required to raise awareness to owners, occupiers, trustees, etc.
Section 39(1)(f): Financial issues – This is great for bodies corporate where landlords collect their rent but don't pay their levies. An application can be made to require a tenant to pay to the body corporate and not to his landlord, all or part of the rentals payable under a lease agreement; from a specified date and until a specified amount due by the landlord to the body corporate has been paid. Provided that in terms of such an order –(i) The tenant must make the payments specified and may not rely on any right of deduction, set-off or counter-claim that he/she has against the landlord to reduce the amount to be paid to the body corporate.(ii) Payments made by the tenant to the body corporate discharge the tenant's liability to the landlord in terms of the lease and(iii) The body corporate credit amounts received from the tenant to the account of the landlord.Section 39(2) – Behavioural Issues : This is for owners of animals that cause a nuisance to other residents. a) An order that particular behaviour or default constitutes a nuisance and requiring the relevant person to act, or refrain from acting, in a specified way.
b) If satisfied that an animal kept in a private area or on common areas is causing a nuisance or a hazard or is unduly interfering with someone else's peaceful use and enjoyment of his or her private area or common area, an order requiring the owner or occupier in charge of the animal : (i) to take specified action to remedy the nuisance, hazard or interference; or (ii) to remove the animal.
c) An order declaring that an animal is being kept in a scheme contrary to the scheme governance documentation (conduct rules) and requiring the owner or occupier in charge of the animal to remove it.
Section 6(a) –An order requiring the body corporate to have repairs and maintenance carried out. This will solve the problem where trustees are pensioners and resist the imposing of special levies for maintenance.Every body corporate in South Africa will have to pay a levy to the ombud service – the amount is still to be determined. An annual return is required in the prescribed form, a copy of the annual financial statements and any other prescribed document or information they require.
The board members are: Charles Mehana (chairman); Adv Millicent Malebye (deputy chairman); Tinyiko Mhlarir; Mfanozelwe Shozi; Adv Derick Block; Trevor Bailey; Adv Nomazotsho.
Enquiries: James Dlamini Phone (012) 4211-735. E-mail: email@example.com
I have asked Dlamini three times for answers for the following queries without result:
a) How much would the bodies corporate have to pay the ombuds service? I see they ask that the annual final audit be forwarded to them every year, so I presume they will be requesting a percentage of the annual income.
b) With the ombud service in force, will the arbitration rule now be changed?
c) Amended conduct rules already lodged with the deeds office – will these become invalid and new rules have to be lodged with the ombud service? The rules lodged/filed with the deeds office are not checked by them while the ombud service will not permit rules that are incorrect or invalid.
d) Should someone complain to the ombud what fee is envisioned to have the service represent their case?
Les Reynard has been a managing agent for nearly 30 years. He is a member of the National Association of Managing Agents and a committee member of the Sectional Title Association of PE. E-mail him at Les@ReynardAgencies.com