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Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

Autocratic management 'create havoc' in sectional title schemes

Do the owners, trustees and bodies corporate of sectional titles schemes and trustees and shareholders of share block schemes have the powers to make any rule?

They can introduce any rule or "law" to regulate the conduct of all owners, tenants and visitors, or to manage the scheme, as long as these are lawful and do not interfere with the rights of others.

Shareholders have a "use agreement" that gives them personal occupational rights and the right to conclude lease agreements.

A well-run scheme is always linked to good management.

It is not unusual to outsource the management of the scheme instead of employing or using the services of one of the owners or shareholders.

In fact, it is preferable to have an independent person or agency managing the scheme.

There are several buildings in the inner cities, unfortunately, managed by autocratic persons.

Armed with some knowledge of the Companies or Sectional Titles Act, they make rules and execute these with cunning impunity since the shareholders, owners or trustees have no time to familiarise themselves with the relevant law and rules.

Such autocrats become the actual trustee/supervisor and the law enforcer, creating havoc in the lives of the shareholders owners, tenants and visitors.

They even succeed in becoming directors of share blocks or trustees of sectional title blocks, earning salaries for the several roles they dexterously assume.

Efficient estate and managing agents and landlords do background checks on their prospective tenants.

Some landlords and agents enter into agreements that explicitly identify what is expected of the agents and the duties of the landlords: advertising and procuring a tenant, doing a detailed background check, checking on the commission to be paid to the agent, concluding the lease and even managing the property are part of an agreement or mandate.

Parties are clear about their roles, duties and diligence requirements.

Similarly, owners, trustees and shareholders ought to establish exactly what they require from the prospective manager. He or she cannot be a supervisor and a trustee or shareholder, the contractor or maintenance person.

If the role and responsibilities are not defined clearly and in writing, bullying, conflict, mismanagement and havoc will eventually engulf the scheme.

Some points to note for an effective and successfully run scheme:

  • Owners and shareholders must get involved in ensuring a well-managed scheme, since they owe it to fellow owners and shareholders.

  • Owners and shareholders ought to focus on the common goals and agree on the milestones, since the right of every owner and shareholder must be respected and protected.

  • Owners and shareholders must attend all meetings.

  • It is important to vote out persons who do not have the interest of all owners at heart, do not have the skills or are absentee owners.

  • Those elected must be familiar with the relevant laws and rules and act within the law.

  • Get to know the rules for convening meetings, voting procedures, presenting audited financial statements and other rules.

  • Election of office-bearers and trustees are done democratically and are regulated by law. Understanding the process is crucial.

  • Engage the services of experts, such as managing agents, to carry out the management functions.

  • Consult an attorney, without delay or fear, to deal with defaulting owners and unruly tenants.

    Owners, shareholders, trustees and everyone involved in a sectional titles or share block scheme should remember that the relationships and rights of people are more important that the dwelling or unit.

    For tenant's rights' advice, contact Loshni Naidoo or Pretty Gumede at 031 304 6451

    Sayed Iqbal Mohamed
    Chairman, Organisation of Civic Rights
    Tenant Issues
    Daily News


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