Role of the committee explained
Are you a potential committee member?
If you own a property in a community scheme (Body Corporate, Homeowners Association or Share Block), you are automatically a member of the scheme, and that of course comes with certain rights and responsibilities.
You can be a passive member, paying your levies and attending the occasional meeting, or you can become more actively involved as a member of the committee.
Needless to say, being a committee member can be very rewarding, but it is also a huge responsibility. Some may argue that being a committee member is a thankless job, and in some instances, it may very well be true. However, the question that begs to be answered is where would we be without our committee members? Many people are of the opinion that being a committee member is fun and that committee members are above the rules of the complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, committee members are more bound to the complex rules as residents look to them to set an example.
Creating the committee
One of the most important tasks at each Annual General Meeting is the election of the committee members, by a simple vote of all eligible members of the Community Scheme or their representatives (Proxy). Once elected, the committee members are responsible for day-to-day decision-making in the community scheme – but must always be mindful of the impact of their decisions on the rights and obligations of owners.
As a committee, you will need to abide by the statutory Code of Conduct, always act fairly and honestly, and always act in the best interests of the owners.
What does it entail?
Over and above the day-to-day duties of a committee member, he/she must adhere to the following:
Be familiar with the Sectional Titles Act, or in the case of Owners Associations, the Memorandum of Incorporation and/or Constitution.
Ensure Levy payments are up to date.
Enforce the conduct rules of the complex.
Approve the budget and ensure that it is adhered to.
Maintain an open line of communication with the appointed managing agents to ensure matters are being addressed timeously.
Ensure that the complex is insured.
Approve maintenance projects within the complex.
It is important to note that a committee member must stand in a fiduciary relationship to the Body Corporate / Owners Association. What this means is that a committee member must always:
Act honestly and in good faith.
Act in the interest of the Body Corporate / Owners Association / Share Block.
Avoid any material conflict between his/her own interests and that of the Body Corporate/Owners Association/Share Block.
Not receive any personal economic benefit (direct or indirect) unless agreed upon at a general meeting.
Notify other committee members of any material interests he/she may have (direct or indirect).
Any committee member found to be in breach of their fiduciary relationship with the Body Corporate/Owners Association or Share Block, may be held liable for any loss suffered and/or any economic benefit received.
What makes a committee?
The number of committee members required vary between the different types of Community Schemes however, a committee generally has between 3 and 7 members. One of the Committee members will serve as the Chairperson – typically, they will chair all meetings and consult with the Estate Manager (where applicable) and the Managing Agent (Solver Property Services). Under these circumstances, the Chairperson would need to be mindful to always issue instructions that are aligned with the committee’s decisions.
Counting the beans
Each committee should also have a treasurer, who will be responsible for overseeing finances, budgets, and accounts. This is a role for someone who is completely trustworthy, has a head for numbers and a thick skin.
Now that we have looked at the formation and role of a committee, it is worth noting that all Body Corporate committee proceedings are governed by the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, 8 of 2011 (“the STSMA”), or in the cases of Homeowners Associations and Share Blocks, they are governed by the Companies Act and/or the complex’s constitution. In other words, if you want to be on the committee, bear in mind that there could be legal consequences for any failure to perform your duties as required.
Lastly, as committee members, you will be more visible as a community member. While this gives you the opportunity to be involved in decisions that matter and ensure that your voice is heard, it can also make you something of a ‘lightning rod’ for any disgruntled owners. They may blame you for any causes of discontent involving neighbours or common areas, even if these pre-date your election to the committee. All we are saying is, be prepared!
For more advice on the workings of community schemes and complex management, contact Solver Property Services today.
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Disclaimer: Kindly note that the above article is merely for information, and is not intended to be comprehensive, to provide legal advice or to assist Community Schemes with the discharge of their fiduciary duties.
For more information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact the Solver Property Services team (010 822 2882).
Solver Property Services have close to 150 complexes that we manage in and around Gauteng. We are your preferred managing agents. High-rise buildings, clusters, apartments, we manage it all.
For more information, please contact 010 822 2882. Solver Property Services has a team of experienced Property Managers / Managing Agents that can assist you. We have close to 150 complexes that we manage across Gauteng (Alberton, Bedfordview, Greenstone, Boksburg, Benoni, Midrand, Sandton, Lonehill, Roodepoot, Pretoria, Kempton Park, Riviera, Edenvale, Vaal Triangle etc are just a few areas that are covered). Solver Property Services are considered Gauteng’s preferred managing agents.