CSOS ensures good governance of schemes

2015-11-04 12:38

STAKEHOLDERS from communities in the Northern Cape got the opportunity to engage with the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) during the recent public participation forum at the Protea Hotel in Kimberley on 21 October.

This took place in terms of the draft regulations of the Sectional Titles Schemes Engagement Act, 2011 (Act 8 of 2011) and the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act, 2011 (Act 9 of 2011).

The forum was held by the National Department of Human Settlements in association with the CSOS. The sessions gave all parties concerned the opportunity to give inputs concerning the pending regulations.

The process was aimed at engaging members of the public on the CSOS regulations which were up for public comment throughout the month of October.

The CSOS was established in terms of the Community Scheme Ombud Service Act, 2011 (Act 9 of 2011) to regulate the conduct of parties within community schemes and to ensure their good governance.

Prior to the establishment of the CSOS in 2013, no regulatory body existed to deal with complaints and disputes arising from owners of properties and residents located in community schemes.

According to the chief executive officer of CSOS, Themba Mthethwa, the establishment of CSOS was born out of a need to address the imbalances in this sector and to ensure consumer protection in the form of an affordable and reliable dispute resolution service for unresolved disputes.

“In terms of the CSOS Act, the term community scheme refers to any scheme or arrangement where there is shared use of and responsibility for parts of land and buildings, including sectional titles development schemes, share block companies, home or property owners’ associations, housing schemes for retired persons and housing co-operatives.”

In terms of Section 38 of the CSOS Act, any person in a community scheme may make an application to the CSOS if such a person is a party to or is materially affected by a dispute.

Disputes may range from financial issues relating to incorrect or unreasonable levies, behavioural issues like noise and parking issues, governance issues e.g. rules and regulations, conduct of annual general meetings, management services code of conduct, private areas and common areas, repairs and maintenance and general issues like lack of access to information.

The CSOS is currently funded by government. However, the government grant will be phased out which will result in the CSOS becoming self-sufficient.

Community schemes will therefore be required to pay a monthly levy which will ensure that the CSOS has the capacity to service the schemes.

The levy amount is based on the aggregated value of the individual units within the community scheme.

The monthly levy payable for a unit valued at R500 000 would be R3,40 while a unit valued at R2,5 million and above will incur a maximum levy of R68. Units valued below R500 000 will receive a 100% waiver on the levy.

According to Dinkie Dube, adjudicator general of the CSOS who presented the CSOS funding model, the model is based on cost recovery and not to make a profit.

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