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FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY SCHEMES OMBUD SERVICE ("Service")

Established in terms of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act No. 9 of 2011 ("the Act")

COMMUNITY SCHEME

What is a Community Scheme? It is any scheme or arrangement in terms of which there is shared use of and responsibility for parts of land and buildings. Example: sectional title scheme, share-block company, a home or property owners association.

DISPUTE

Dispute means a dispute in regard to the administration of a community scheme between persons who have a material interest in that scheme, of which one of the parties is the association, occupier or owner.

The matters which may be referred to the service by aggrieved parties range from matters in respect of financial issues (insurance, levies) to matters in respect of behavioural matters; to matters relating to scheme governance issues (an order declaring a scheme provision invalid and irresolvable); to matters dealing with meetings; disputes between schemes and management agents; matters relating to repairs and maintenance of private areas and common areas; and lastly to matters relating to information or documents by the association(s).

Please note that an application declaring any decision of an association or an executive committee to be void must be referred to the service within 60 (sixty) days after such a decision has been taken. Once the application is received, it will be served on the relevant parties inviting them to make submissions. Once submissions are made, those will be served on the applicant who must within 14 (fourteen) days of receipt of the submissions, indicate whether or not he wishes to proceed with the application. If the applicant confirms that he wishes to proceed with the application, the matter will first be referred to conciliation. If conciliation fails, the matter gets referred to adjudication. The adjudicator's order will be enforced as if it were a Court Order.

Section 52 of the Act: provides that the parties are not entitled to legal representation during the adjudication process unless the adjudicator and all other parties consent; or the adjudicator concludes, after considering various factors relating to, amongst other things, the complexity of the matter, that it would be unreasonable to expect the party to deal with the adjudication without legal representation.

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