The growing complaint at complexes and estates in South Africa

The Community Schemes Ombudsman Service (CSOS) says it has seen an increase in inquiries and disputes around accessing information or records held by the managing agents of the schemes and body corporates.

The CSOS is responsible for improving the management of schemes and ensuring that the lifestyle of residents is not over-regulated by onerous or unfair rules.

The ombudsman is also responsible for handling disputes between managing agents and body corporates.

“The CSOS wants to make it clear that members of a scheme (residents) are entitled to all information pertaining, inter alia to the governance of the scheme and, more importantly, the management of their levies.

“Accordingly, schemes are encouraged and urged to ensure that they are transparent and forthcoming with information that relates to the governance and management of the scheme,”  the ombudsman said.

The CSOS said that schemes and their managing agents are obliged to provide governance information to their members without requiring members to go through the laborious processes as prescribed in the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

The only exception in this regard would be information classified as personal information as defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), it said.

“Where information relating to the governance of the scheme is held and/or processed by a managing agent, the body corporate or board of trustees are not absolved from the responsibility of safekeeping of that information and by extension from sharing such information with the members of their scheme, as needed.

“To this end, body corporates must ensure that there are accountability measures imposed on the managing agents to ensure the provision of information on demand and back-up facilities for such information,” the ombudsman said.

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The growing complaint at complexes and estates in South Africa