C&A Friedlander Attorneys

South Africa has undergone some significant changes in property law in recent years. One of the most notable changes is the amendment to the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 through the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011, which took effect on 7 October 2016. The 2016 amendment to the Sectional Titles Act in South Africa brought about a number of changes to the way disputes are handled. This article shall discuss an important amendment to the dispute resolution procedure, which has created a more affordable and efficient solution to disputes between landlords and tenants.

Prior to the amendment, disputes between sectional title property owners and bodies corporate were typically resolved through arbitration, which could be a time-consuming and costly process. The amended Sectional Titles Act introduced the establishment of community schemes ombud service, a new entity designed to handle disputes in sectional title schemes, homeowners’ associations, and other community schemes. The service is tasked with providing an affordable and efficient means of resolving disputes, through a combination of mediation, conciliation, and adjudication. The ombud service has the power to investigate complaints, make rulings, and impose fines or penalties for non-compliance. It can also issue orders to address issues such as building defects, maintenance problems, and governance disputes. In addition, the ombud service has the power to assist with the recovery of unpaid levies and other amounts owed to the scheme.

These changes have provided a more formal and structured means of handling disputes in community schemes, which has been welcomed by property owners and stakeholders. The ombud service has been instrumental in providing a more streamlined and cost-effective process for dispute resolution and has helped to improve the overall functioning of sectional title schemes and other community schemes in South Africa.

These developments reflect the changing landscape of property law in South Africa. They highlight the importance of keeping up-to-date with the latest legal developments to ensure that property owners and tenants are aware of their rights and obligations. It is also important to seek advice from qualified legal professionals when dealing with property matters, as the law can be complex and often requires a nuanced understanding.

Written by Geor Malan

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).