Rule Changes for Sectional Title Community Schemes

Rule Changes for Sectional Title Community Schemes.

On the 14th of November 2017 CSOS, as part of their National Roadshow, hosted a Public Participation meeting at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. Ms Ndivhuo Rabuli, head of Legal and Governance at CSOS, highlighted a couple really important matters regarding Sectional Title Schemes and their Management and Conduct Rules.

Rule Changes

The most important thing that Body Corporates need to remember is that amendments or additions to management or conduct rules that have been approved at a General Meeting also need to be approved by CSOS BEFORE they can become the official Management or Conduct Rules of the Scheme. A Body Corporate will receive a signed certificate from CSOS approving the new rules; rule changes only come into effect and can only be enforced from the date on which the rule certificate was signed by the Ombud (not the date of the SGM where the rules or changes were approved).

Also remember that approved Conduct Rules are no longer registered with the Deeds Office, but kept by CSOS.

The question about Management Rules and Conduct rules that pre-date the current Sectional Title Management Act and CSOS Act also came up. It is important to note that no rules may not conflict with current legislation, even if those rules were approved long before the current legislation. Scheme Executives are encouraged to make sure all their Management and Conduct Rules are in line with the current Acts; if there is any uncertainty please contact CSOS and ask them to review your current rules.

Ms Rabuli also gave a few examples of the most common undesirable rules found in the submissions they have so far received:

  • Ban on the Slaughter of Animals – It is important to note that a Body Corporate does not have the power to outright ban traditional practices like the ritual slaughtering of animals. Scheme Executives are advised to ensure that procedures for such practices are detailed in the Conduct Rules and that those practises are in line with local by-laws.
  • The Disconnection of Electricity or Water – It isn’t legal for a Body Corporate to disconnect the electricity or water supply of a member that is in arrears in terms of their levy payment. Disconnections may only be carried out after the Scheme has obtain a court order. Simply adding a rule to your Conduct Rules will not make such actions legal.
  • Penalties – many Body Corporates simply add a paragraph to their conduct rules stating that penalties will be levied for offenses. This will most likely stand the body corporate a bigger chance of ending up in hot water than the culprit that is in breach of a conduct rule. Community Schemes are responsible to put in place an internal dispute resolution process which should be clearly set out in their conduct rules, make sure that these are approved by the Ombud.
  • Termination of the lease of a tenant – often in the past a troublesome resident, that just so happens to be a tenant, was dealt with by instructing the owner of the unit to evict his tenant. Unfortunately, this is also not legal, and adding a paragraph to the Conduct Rules of the Scheme will not give the Body Corporate, or even the owner the power to evict a tenant.
  • Eviction of residents are governed by the PIE Act (Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 1998).

From the discussion with CSOS it is clear that the Management and Conduct Rules will be much more under the spotlight than before. It also means that Scheme Executives can take this opportunity to ensure that their rules are compliant and effective to deal with problematic practises and behaviours in their schemes.

Rule Changes for Sectional Title Community Schemes.

Johan NothlingAuthor
Johan has been in the Community Scheme industry for more than 10 years with 8 years of experience as a senior portfolio manager. He currently consults on and helps to design online management solutions for Community Schemes.

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