By Chris Fourie, General Manager – Community Schemes Management
The effective management of a community scheme is the result of a good relationship between the elected governing body and the managing agent. Furthermore, trust is built when there is good communication and transparency between the governing body, managing agent and each member of the community scheme.
In order for this relationship to work, the different role players must understand their roles and responsibilities.
So what is important when you avail yourself to be elected as a member of the governing body?
The person must be willing to serve their community with no reward, aside from the satisfaction of being part of a team whose aim it is to create a well-run scheme, with the goal of growing everyone’s investment and having a good quality place to live at.
The expectation would be that he/she leave behind their own agenda and act in the best interests of all in the community scheme, whilst being prepared to put the necessary time and commitment into dealing with a portfolio in the best way possible. This may include dealing with portfolio aspects arising from meetings, preparing monthly reports, doing walkabouts at the scheme to assess what needs attention, reporting matters to the governing body or managing agent for action and being available to the community that they serve.
A successful candidate would be a person who recognises that each party has a role to play and must be familiar with what each role is, taking cognisance of the boundaries. The person must recognise that he/she has a vested interest in the best outcome of a community scheme which is run well.
It is advisable that governing body members skill themselves in all the legislation governing the applicable community scheme. This legislation may include the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act, Companies Act, the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act, etc. There is a lot of content available online in this regard as well as relevant courses that one can complete.
What is important to know about the managing agent and the role they play?
The managing agent is any person or entity who provides management services to a community scheme for reward.
These services usually include secretarial, financial, administrative and management functions.
The general purpose of the managing agent is to assist the governing body in managing the scheme in the best possible way, for the benefit of all the members of the community scheme.
Managing agents can be appointed by the governing body or on request of the members.
There is little set out in legislation regarding the duties of the managing agent, therefore the service which your managing agent will provide needs to be set out in the management agreement. The agreement must be in writing upfront to define boundaries, responsibilities, duties, areas of liability, remuneration, etc.
Individual requirements of the scheme, in addition to what the managing agent offers in the standard agreement, should be noted in the minutes. Furthermore, if agreed, an addendum should be added to the agreement or a new agreement must be drafted and signed by both parties.
What are the main requirements of a managing agent?
The managing agent must hold a current fidelity fund certificate with the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (previously known as the Estate Agency Affairs Board).
The managing agent must be POPIA compliant which will provide peace of mind that members’ personal information is kept safe and is protected.
The managing agent must be extremely knowledgeable about all legislation governing community schemes. An indication of this will be a managing agents’ membership to industry bodies like NAMA, SAPOA, etc.
Although membership of NAMA (National Association of Managing Agents) is not obligatory, it is beneficial as the Association keeps their members up to date with what is happening in the industry, providing training and template agreements for registered members, where required.
A clear understanding and respect for each others’ roles and responsibilities is crucial for the affairs of a community scheme to be run smoothly.
Great relationships are cultivated by having regular governing body meetings with your managing agent present, keeping the communication lines open and ensuring that there is continuous transparent reporting.