The Community Scheme Ombud Service Act 9 of 2011 and its Regulations, (“the Act”), came into operation on 7 October 2016.
Said Act is applicable to all community schemes, which are defined in the Act as, ”any scheme or arrangement in terms of which there is shared use of a land and responsibility for parts of land and buildings, including but not limited to a sectional titles development scheme, a share block company, a home or property owner’s association, however constituted, established to administer a property development, a housing scheme for retired persons, and a housing cooperative as contemplated in the South African Co-operatives Act, 2005 (Act No. 14 of 2005) and ‘scheme’ has the same meaning”.
Thus, no matter how small the HOA that you belong to, the Act will still be applicable and registration of your HOA in terms of the Act is compulsory.
Upon commencement of the Act, a juristic person, known as the Community Schemes Ombud Service, have been established, whose main purpose is to provide a dispute resolution service, and to promote and regulate good governance of community schemes, including the implementation of organisational systems, controls and measures to enhance the efficient financial and economic management of all schemes. Some of these measures include the lodging of annual returns at the Chief Ombud, as well as the payment of levies to the Ombud Service, by every unit within a scheme, based on a prescribed rate.
This article’s focus is however mainly directed at the process to be followed in order to register your HOA with the Ombud Service.
The Act is written in clear and concise language, and is quite easy to understand. Chapter 5 of its regulations contains prescribed forms that have to be completed and filed with the Ombud Service in order to register your HOA.
Section 18(3) of the regulations to the Act requires a community scheme, which includes a HOA, to complete and file registration Form CS 1, attached to the Act, within 30 (thirty) days after the regulation came into effect, (thus within 30 days after 7 October 2016), or on the date of incorporation of the community scheme in terms of the applicable Act.
The contents of the form require inter alia the following documentation regarding the scheme to be sent to the Chief Ombud, namely, the completion of the name of the community scheme, contact details of the scheme, names and contact details of the trustees and the authorized representative of the HOA, details of the managing agent if applicable, as well as copies of the audited financial statements of the scheme and details regarding the scheme’s financial year end. It furthermore requires copies of the Constitution and Rules applicable to the scheme, and also list additional supporting documentation that must be provided should it be applicable. It then provides you with contact numbers and an e-mail address in order to send the completed registration form to the Chief Ombud.
As the list is quite extensive, we would advise that careful consideration is given to provide all the documentation applicable to the scheme upon application of the registration thereof, also to prevent unnecessary to and fro communication between the Ombud and the HOA, and to ensure a speedy registration of the scheme to what appears to be a rather simple procedure.
Once confirmation of registration of your HOA is received from the Ombud Service, the HOA will be liable for the payment of levies and service fees to the Chief Ombud on a quarterly basis, calculated on the prescribed formula as contained in Chapter 3 of the regulations to the Act.
Should you be uncertain how to calculate your HOA’s levies payable to the Chief Ombud, and/or wish to know more about the other obligations imposed on a HOA in terms of the Act, you are welcome to contact our offices for an appointment.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)