Human Settlements on Community Schemes Ombud Service
Human Settlements department unveils Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS)
"Prior to the establishment of the CSOS, regulation of community schemes was fragmented. There was a lack of an effective dispute resolution mechanism, high arbitration and litigation costs to settle even minor disputes under Arbitration Act.
Power imbalance and financial muscle between an ordinary property owners and a body corporate or managing agent served as a deterrent", said Themba Mthethwa the CEO and Chief Ombudsman of the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS).
Mthethwa was speaking at the launch of CSOS held in Rosebank, Johannesburg this morning.
'CSOS will achieve this, by developing and providing a cost effective, value for money alternative dispute resolution service for all community schemes, said Mthethwa.
The main purpose of CSOS is to regulate, monitor and control the quality of all sectional titles schemes governance documentation and other scheme governance documentation as may be determined by the Minister of Human Settlements by Notice in the Gazette.
Human Settlements Acting Director - General Mr Neville Chainee said the department's role is to provide the executive authority oversight on the implementation of the Act, regulations, the board and its funding.
"We must ensure consistency with other Ombud offices. The Act and regulations have been promulgated and now office is in full force. We have to make it work and the Minister and Department we will make it work and be rest assured of our support" added the Acting Director General Chainee.
CSOS will also assure quality, preserve and provide public access to all sectional titles and other scheme governance documentation.
The establishment of the CSOS means that community schemes (which include body corporates, retirement villages and home owners associations) will need to make a number of critical decisions/adjustments in terms of the fees and levy collection.
The registration of schemes will need to take place within 30 days. They will also have to pay a levy from January 2017 which will comprise of 2% of the normal levy value and it is capped that at R40.
The National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA) represented by its Chairperson, Koos Croukamp and Association of Residential Communities (ARC) represented by its Chairperson, Jeff Gilmore applauded the establishment of CSOS. "It is good news that community scheme leaders are no longer going to deal with disputes in their communities.
We also encourage community scheme leaders to try deal with disputes before approaching the Ombud", said ARC Chairperson, Jeff Gilmore.
Community schemes will have to fill in governance documentation within 90 days from the date of publication of the Act.
Source: Government of South Africa