Living in a sectional title scheme can bring many benefits but it is up to the members (owners) of the scheme to actively be involved and take an interest in their asset and what is happening in the scheme. One of the first things an owner could do is attend the Annual General Meeting, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA.
While attendance is important to know what is happening and to vote on changes to be implemented, if this is not possible, the owner must make sure that he appoints a proxy, which is allowed for in Management Rule 67. This must be done in writing and handed to the chairman prior to the meeting.
It is only an owner or his proxy that can vote and tenants, while allowed to attend meetings, cannot vote.
It must also be remembered that if the unit is held in a trust, close corporation or company, that the person attending the meeting on its behalf holds a memorandum or minute authorising him to act on its behalf.
Any owner who is in arrears with his levies cannot vote at the AGM, and this will be checked against a roster at the meeting, so owners should be sure that they are in good-standing if they want their vote to count.
“If you are a member of a body corporate, it’s of utmost importance to take an interest in the finances of the scheme and to act in the interest of keeping it financially healthy. This would include allowing increases in levies if that is necessary and encouraging the practice of building up a reserve fund of at least 1% of the building’s value (which, it is predicted, will soon become necessary by law),” said Steward.
Whether the scheme has two or two hundred units, the rules stipulated in the Sectional Titles Act and Prescribed Management Rules apply, where an AGM must be held, minuted, the minutes must be in a minute book, and all the rules surrounding these meetings must be adhered to or decisions made there can be challenged and seen as void, she said.