Dear REImag team,
I need help regarding my body corporate, I would like to get more information about them: Who are the members or owners? I bought a flat two years ago, I never received any statements regarding the last sectional title home owners association meetings or annual budgets. The one person who claims to be the body corporate doesn’t respond to any emails or phone calls. I’ve left many messages. Propell just email me monthly statements for the levies to be paid. Where do I get more information regarding my purchase? I’m starting to get worried as some people don’t pay levies due to bad services.
Auren Freitas dos Santos of Paddocks, Specialists in Community Scheme Management, answers this reader’s question regarding his body corporate. @paddocks_tweet facebook.com/PaddocksSectionalTitleTraining www.paddocks.co.za
Understanding the basic principles of sectional titles will help you navigate the potential pitfalls associated with sectional title living. It is important to understand that when purchasing a property in a sectional title scheme, you automatically become a member of that particular body corporate. It is a legal entity that exists to control, manage and maintain all the common property. Common property includes all the land and those parts of the buildings that are not included in your section, and is jointly owned by the members of the body corporate.
In order to operate and maintain the common property, the body corporate needs to raise funds through the levying and collection of contributions, known as levies. An administrative and reserve budget needs to be prepared and presented to the members at each Annual General Meeting (AGM) for approval. Once the budget has been approved, it is generally divided among all owners based on the ‘participation quota’ of each section, which is generally calculated on the size of the floor area of each section. Owners are legally required to pay levies by their due date and if an owner falls into arrears, the body corporate is obliged to recover the outstanding levies from the owner.
The day to day management of the body corporate is carried out by the trustees, who are elected by the owners at each AGM. Often bodies corporates will choose to employ a managing agent to do these tasks on behalf of the trustees. Irrespective of the management arrangement of your scheme, the ultimate control vests in the hands of all owners and you are encouraged to keep up to date with the dealings of the trustees and the managing agent. Should you believe that you have been prejudiced as a result of maladministration, you can make an application to the Community Scheme Ombud Service or the High Court for relief.
To learn more about the basics of your sectional title scheme, register for the online short course offered by Paddocks on the Free Basics of Sectional Title, before 26 April 2019.
Should you require any advice don’t hesitate to contact Paddock’s consulting department at consulting @paddocks.co.za for a no-obligation quote, to provide the necessary legal assistance.