If you own property in a sectional title scheme, whether you live in the unit or rent it out, this article is well worth the read. It is reassuring to know that managing agents are given guidance and assistance with this important role that could affect your investment!
Sectional title living is arguably the most popular mode of living in South Africa. As such, many are familiar with the concept of body corporates, trustees, levies, sectional title conduct rules and managing agents. But what role do managing agents actually play and who governs their conduct?
According to Management Rule 46(1) (a) of the Sectional Title Act, trustees may appoint a managing agent (by way of management agreement) to: “control, manage and administer the common property and the obligations to any public or local authority by the body corporate on behalf of the unit owners and exercise such powers and duties as may be entrusted to the managing agent, including the power to collect levies and to appoint a supervisor or caretaker.”
As for who governs managing agents, the National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA) offers voluntary membership to those keen on learning about the industry and improving the services they offer.
Established in 2001, NAMA is a non-profit company which was established specifically to improve the efficiency of all managing agents. It is NAMA’s aim to: “keep their members informed of any changes and developments in the sectional title industry, educate trustees of the bodies corporate of their role and responsibilities as trustees and to enhance the process of moulding the sectional title industry into an independent legal body similar to the Estate Agents Affairs Board (EAAB).”
Over the years NAMA has worked hard to pull the industry and other stakeholders together and raise the bar. Today, NAMA is proud of the excellent working relations it has forged with all the major industry bodies including the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA), the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), the EAAB and the newly formed Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS).
According to Coenie Groenewald, national general manager of NAMA, 475 members currently subscribe to NAMA. These members collectively represent an impressive 11 529 body corporates (4,763 936 units) and 1451 home owner associations (104 129 units).
Part of NAMA’s focus is the development and presentation of professional training programmes for managing agents and candidate managing agents as well as the production of educational materials and opportunities for members, associate members and trustees.
Another important component of NAMA’s service to the sectional title community is to: “generate consumer confidence and customer recognition of the association’s objectives and ideals, leading to credibility for the profession in the public domain.”
Groenewald says that is important to educate the public and trustees about NAMA because it empowers them to approach and contract NAMA accredited managing agents. He explains that agents accredited by NAMA have demonstrated an acceptable level of competency and ethical standing in the industry and have undertaken to adhere to the association’s code of conduct.
In line with this, NAMA offers a standard management agreement which is available on their website and can supply a list of contact details for accredited managing agents in every region.
In terms of complaints stemming from perceived unprofessional conduct and dishonourable practices, Groenewald says at present, there is no “official” regulatory body which deals with such matters. That said, NAMA undertakes to take disciplinary action against members found to be in contravention of its policies and assist in the resolution of disputes between managing agents, trustees and members of the public.
Adds Groenewald: “Once an issue is brought to our attention, it is almost always resolved. It’s worth pointing out that our abilities in this regard will soon be bolstered by the newly established CSOS which will also deal with more serious cases once they are fully operational.”
In a nutshell, it should be comforting to know that there is a body which ‘oversees the overseers’ so to speak and that it is possible to employ professionally trained managing agents capable of guiding and managing sectional title schemes.
For more information, go to http://www.nama.org.za