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Levies

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Pierre
Posted : Monday, 01 Aug 2011 08:59        Question
Pierre77
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 7
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
If our sectional title complex has a number of people who are behind in their Levies, is there any way we can recoup this from the owners? What are our options?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Wednesday, 03 Aug 2011 11:13        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi Pierre There are several ways to collect arrear levies. The 3 main options is (1)handing them over to an attorney, (2) taking out a Stilus Insurance Product or (3) making use of Propell to fund your entire levy roll. Each option has its purpose in the debt collecting process. If it is just one owner that is in arrears, i would use option 1. The challenge is that the body corporate will need to cover the legal fees until the full debt is recovered from the defaulter. This could take as long as three years. If your body corporate is a small complex, then you might have to increase your levies to cover the legal fees and the shortfall of that contribution. You would then automatically look at Option 2 which is the Stilus product. You pay a minimal monthly premium and the moment someone is in arrears for 2 months, you have the right to make a claim against the insurance policy. You will only need to pay the month permium (as a cost to the body corporate) and everything else is covered by Stilus. Stilus will then pay out your claim within 7 working days. Which means your cash flow is assisted and you don't have to worry about the legal costs that you need to cover. Stilus now does all the debt collecting from their side (021 914 9002). Option 3 is for body corporates that are in major financial difficulties. They can assist from a finance point of view, but their costs are substantially higher than the Stilus product (021 940 8200). Give them a call and check.
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Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 21:00        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
Good accounting and credit control is the cornerstone of running a body corporate. In our company we introduce into the Rules a late payment fee of just R150 for paying levies after the first of each month in advance. (The Act says that levies are payable in advance). Anyone who is more than 30 days in arrears is automatically handed over for collection. If your building has a bad amount of debt you should tackle three things. 1. Ensure that you have a proper item by item month by month budget running from the start to end of the financial year. 2. Have a Trustees Budget meeting in the month before the end of the financial year end and invite all owners (in arrears or not) to attend. Let them participate and give input. This then sets the levy for the year. 3. Do proper credit control. Try to assist anyone who is willing to get up to date with reasonable arrangements - minimum being current levy in full and on time plus reasonable amount from the arrears to get up to date within maximum of 12 months. 4. Hand over anyone who does not comply strictly with the arrangements to a good collections attorney with instructions to make no agreements unless you are happy to do so. Attach the rental if it is a let unit. Attach owners loose assets for his unit or home if they live away from the units and if insufficient attach and sell the unit. Yes it takes time but stick it out. You will be amazed how things improve. In a number of seriously in debt buildings that we have taken over the majority of problems have been sorted out within 3 months. Some linger on but three years is the longest time taken and at the end of the day we get in all the Body Corporates money. Mike Spencer, Platinum Global, Bloemfontein.
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Michelle Hendricks
Posted : Thursday, 04 Aug 2011 10:13        Question
Michelle571
Joined : 01 Aug 2011
Posts : 2
Location : Cape town, Western Cape
Dear Sir/Madam I belong to a body corporate, since November 2007. The normal levy at the time was R500 per month. In 2008 a special levy amount of R9 305.56 was raised for painting. I couldn’t afford it at the time, along with other owners in the complex but the trustees went ahead nevertheless. I proceeded to make additional payments of R500 – my total levying up to R1000. I missed payments but endeavoured to make additional payments to cover the arrears but the Body Corporate and Levy agents proceeded to take legal action against me in February 2009. I had then undergone debt review in May 2009 but had been making regular payments and additional payments to cover the arrear amounts. The Levy agents then proceeded to take legal action against me in February 2009, charging attorney’s fees and costs each month. To cut really long story very short :- My current levy repayments are R1600 (debit order Payment) - legal fees still charged -My balance with my levy agents as at 1 August 2011 is currently on R7 573.22 - I have calculated the attorneys fees from 01 December 2008 to date and this calculates to R 6 837.23 – as far as I can see, the special levy is up to date as well as my normal levies barr the interest and insurance fees. A total of R44 924.49 has been paid from March 2008 to date. My account is not in arrears. Interest fees of almost R170 gets calculated every month on this balance. I would like the legal fees to be split and if possible even taxed to reduce my levy account. The levy agents have not been very helpful thus far. Is there anything I can do ? Kind regards  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Saturday, 06 Aug 2011 11:58        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi Michelle There are two parts of your post that we need to look at. The first part is the actual special levy that was raised. The trustees have a responsibility to maintenance the complex. If the building needed to be painted and there were not sufficient funds available, they had to raise a special levy. If the building is not looked after, it may cause further damage inside the units and insurance will not pay out because the building was not sufficiently maintained. If you did make payment arrangements with the body corporate and they still took action against you, then you might have a claim for them to write the legal costs off. But i would suggest you give an attorney a call to discuss this. Talk to a sectional title attorney regarding your matter and they can advise you accordingly. You can probably talk to someone at BBM Attorneys. I don't have their number, but they should be in the white pages or on the internet.
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Vicky
Posted : Thursday, 11 Aug 2011 11:49        Question
Vicky01
Joined : 26 Jul 2011
Posts : 5
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi, Is it Legal for a body corporate to raise a fine on an owners levy account for contravening the Conduct Rules. If so, what process needs to be followed.  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Friday, 12 Aug 2011 07:31        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi Vicky. In connection with fines, you have to look at your conduct rules as registered at the deeds office. The conduct rules should state how you will go about fining the transgressor (owner and not the tenant) with regards to certain wrong doings. Some conduct rules will state that you will get fined a certain amount if you do not comply with the rules. Example - If you leave your refuse on common property and do not dispose of it in a wheelie bin, you will be fined R250.00. Some rules will state a process that needs to be followed when breaking the rules. So depending on the severity, you will fist get a warning letter, then you will get a notice to a hearing where you will have an opportunity to explain yourself. Some rules will also allow you to review the amount of the fine to be charged on an annual basis at the AGM. If this is not decided at the AGM then the previous year's amounts will apply. As i said; you can only fine if it is registered in your rules. If someone breaks the law, you can call the police.
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Tertius Maree
Replied : Wednesday, 09 Nov 2011 10:45        Answer
Tertius700
Joined : 22 Sep 2011
Posts : 9
Location : Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Just to add to Craig's quite comprehensive explanation: Fines (penalties) are not allowed against owners unless it is raised in terms of, an according to, procedures set out in a special conduct rule. And unless the procedures in the rule comply with the requirements of the National Constitution and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, the fine will not be legally enforceable.I have drafted a template for such conduct rule which is available from rosie@dection.co.za at a charge of R 120.
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Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 20:51        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
Yes if it is in the registered Rules. Otherwise no. In reality having a fine system with a reasonable warning beforehand is a good incentive for people to behave. Our normal system is a warning letter, then a R500 fine, then a R1000 fine there after. The body corporate must be reasonable in listening to the person complained against to ensure that they really are the cause of the problem. Problems can arise because people assume that noise is coming from one flat rather than another. Mike Spencer Platinum Global
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Vicky
Posted : Thursday, 11 Aug 2011 11:51        Question
Vicky01
Joined : 26 Jul 2011
Posts : 5
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi, Does a managing agent need to have a debt collectors licence in order to charge interest on arrear levies?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Friday, 12 Aug 2011 07:36        Comment
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi Vicky. With regards to being a registered debt collector to charge interest. I am not sure if i can give you a correct answer on this as there are many angles to look at this. I would suggest you speak to a sectional title attorney about this. Either Tertius Maree Associates or CK Friedlander. My 5c worth is that body corporate's are allowed to charge interest on arrear levies. If a decision is taken at a meeting to charge interest on outstanding accounts and a resolution is signed, then i believe that there is not a problem charging interest. As long as the interest earned on arrears goes into the body corporate's account. If the body corporate is collecting the interest, then it is not a problem. The debate is if a 3rd party is collecting the interest and charging for letters of demand, etc; then the debate starts about registering as a debt collector. The moment you charge for collecting arrear levies, you need to register as a debt collector.
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Tertius Maree
Replied : Wednesday, 09 Nov 2011 10:50        Answer
Tertius700
Joined : 22 Sep 2011
Posts : 9
Location : Stellenbosch, Western Cape
A managing agent must be a registered debt collector in order to charge fees for the service. A managing agent can never charge interest for his/her own account, but may do so for the account of the body corporate. In order to charge interest on behalf of a body corporate, a trustees' resolution must be in place by which the rate of interest is determined. Tertius
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kobus de wet
Posted : Monday, 30 Jan 2012 09:06        Question
kobus303
Joined : 30 Jan 2012
Posts : 4
Location : Meyerton, Gauteng
Good Day I live in a complex with 50 units for almost a year now, unfortunately due to my own negligence i did not check the body corp’s financials as we were sweet talked by the selling agent into believing nothing could be wrong, now almost a year later i will find out that they owe the municipality over 40k in arrears water bill, now they want to impose a special levy on us(R200 extra) to try and get rid of the arrears, in their words ” punish the owners who are paying”, i already had my electricity cut twice by the municipality even though my levy and rates accounts are paid in full, i also found that we were not insured for two months. It was suppose to be me and my fiance’s happy beginning but has turned into a nightmare now, please advise on what action i have to take? :) we are thinking of selling the place now. Thanks Kobus  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Monday, 30 Jan 2012 09:41        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Kobus, this is a scenario that impacts on many bodies corporate and the reasons for the arrears municipal account could be multi-fold, but probably related to either incorrect budgeting and / or alternative expenditure that was expended on budgetary items other than what it was intended for. The financials and managment statements would need to be perused to identify same. The bottom-line is that you are a registered owner and therefor liable for any special levy (warranted or not) at the time of raising same. Please note that the trustees do not have the power to raise a special levy when a budgeted expense exceeds the estimate approved at the last annual general meeting. They can only raise a special levy for unexpected expenses that were not included in the budget. Should it not be for an unexpected expense, a general meeting should be called (which in practice hardly ever happens). I would request feedback from trustees as to whether the levy called was as a result of an unexpected expense (back dating of municipal charges perhaps?) and if not, indicate to them that special levies are only to be called on basis of an unexpected expense and not an unbudgeted expense. The reality is that the problem exists and eventually all owners will be held liable or face termination of municipal services. If you have a managing agent at the scheme, include aforesaid in your correspondence / dialogue to trsutees. You can also request to be invited to the next trustee meeting to speak at in terms hereof.
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Buks Venter
Posted : Monday, 30 Jan 2012 16:11        Question
Buks776
Joined : 30 Jan 2012
Posts : 1
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Our Body Corporate wants to raise a special levy over 3 years to paint, if I paint my unit can I be excluded from this levy?  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Wednesday, 01 Feb 2012 08:25        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Levies - Kobus, this is a scenario that impacts on many bodies corporate and the reasons for the arrears municipal account could be multi-fold, but probably related to either incorrect budgeting and / or alternative expenditure that was expended on budgetary items other than what it was intended for. The financials and managment statements would need to be perused to identify same. The bottom-line is that you are a registered owner and therefor liable for any special levy (warranted or not) at the time of raising same. Please note that the trustees do not have the power to raise a special levy when a budgeted expense exceeds the estimate approved at the last annual general meeting. They can only raise a special levy for unexpected expenses that were not included in the budget. Should it not be for an unexpected expense, a general meeting should be called (which in practice hardly ever happens). I would request feedback from trustees as to whether the levy called was as a result of an unexpected expense (back dating of municipal charges perhaps?) and if not, indicate to them that special levies are only to be called on basis of an unexpected expense and not an unbudgeted expense. The reality is that the problem exists and eventually all owners will be held liable or face termination of municipal services. If you have a managing agent at the scheme, include aforesaid in your correspondence / dialogue to trsutees. You can also request to be invited to the next trustee meeting to speak at in terms hereof.
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morne erasmus
Posted : Thursday, 16 Feb 2012 10:21        Question
morne183
Joined : 11 Jan 2012
Posts : 11
Location : johannesburg, Gauteng
The Body Corporate decided that all the owners of the Units will pay the same amount of levies and not to use the participation quota rule and this is recorded in the rules etc. In what instances will this change that levies on owners will increase, except for normal year to year increases. Ie if living spaces increase by 10% on some units, will this have an effect? If the Body Corporate still decide that it must remain the same and the majority of the owners agree, does the act force you to calculate according to the PQ eventhough the Body Corporate agreed that all the owners must pay the same amount of levies?  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Saturday, 18 Feb 2012 12:34        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Morne - without having information on the precise wording of the special resolution (rule) adopted, it's difficult to formulate an appropriate response. In my view any special resolution adopted in terms of rule adoption, should always be formulated on the 'basis' of levy determination. Should the determination have been that all levies of all sections are devided equally, this will naturally also apply to all future levy increases in correlation with the budget approved per annual general meeting. Although not leggaly prescribed, the amendment of PQ in wholly residential schemes should be calculated purely on the relative extents of the floor areas of sections. In mixed schemes the same principle should apply to the residential sections. That being said, it remains an owners decsion that can at any stage be amended per special resolution as directed per section 32.4 of the Act.
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Loraine Reich
Posted : Saturday, 18 Feb 2012 13:34        Question
Loraine596
Joined : 18 Feb 2012
Posts : 8
Location : Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Our Body Corporate now wants to amend to a participation quota. As our unit is the largest does this mean that we will pay more, which we are happy to do but my question is do we have a larger share of the vote? There are only 4 units in our complex  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 20 Feb 2012 15:35        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi. When a sectional title scheme is registered, the levies are normally calculated as per PQ unless otherwise stated in the management rules. Please look at your management rules as you might have to amend them to allow the pq charge. If you go back to the PQ levy charge, your vote can count more if you vote per poll (and not show of hands). Voting by poll is basically voting as per the size of your section. You need to announce at a special general meeting or the AGM that you would like to vote as per poll.
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kobus de wet
Posted : Thursday, 08 Mar 2012 14:32        Question
kobus303
Joined : 30 Jan 2012
Posts : 4
Location : Meyerton, Gauteng
Good Day When we purchased our unit in the complex we purchased a garage with, the garage does have a light fitted, however no electricity when i raised the issue with the body corporate i was informed that the garages does not have electricity due to misuse, and that i will have to pay for and get connected, now recently i have seen quite a lot of garages do have electricity, and this comes from the communial electricity supply, and people grinding away etc, the one garage even has his light burning 24/7 can i insist they restore electricity to my garage? Regards Kobus  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Friday, 09 Mar 2012 12:34        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
The normal procedure would be for garage owners to arrange separate supply that can either be read per individual meter and charged for or per pre-paid box if a separate supply connection is possible. Should other owners be utilising common property power for individual use, this would in my opinion not warrant this as acceptable practise (which it is not). I would suggest that communication is directed at trustees disputing the present basis of power utilisation by garage owners and that trustees are requested to direct investigation and implementation of separate meters to ensure recovery of costs expended. It would be best for the BC (trustees) with managing agent (if applicable) to co-ordinate such a project after determining the number of owners that would comply. The garages of all owners not wising to comply should be terminated from power supply or be charged for consumption by amendment of conduct rules.
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Lynn van der Plank
Posted : Wednesday, 04 Apr 2012 11:17        Question
Lynn864
Joined : 04 Apr 2012
Posts : 2
Location : JHB, Gauteng
Dodgy Trustees We had an AGM last year. Owners were promised a meeting 1 month after the AGM took place and this NEVER happened.This was to get feedback on the electricity rates that the trustees ILLEGALLY inflated. It was also found that the claims of a trustee being paid (without the owners permission) was true.Owners then agreed that the trustee (also an owner) be paid a salary as a "caretaker" but it is to be documented.We have yet to see a contract for this trustee being paid - basically he can be paid a salary from the complex for looking after a tree and no-one would know. They also cannot explain a pending fraud case and our COJ credits that are due to us and they refuse to give. These trustees have, in the AGM, promised for better communication, not to do anything dodgy and behind the owners backs, and we are suppose to be getting monthly financial updates.None of this has been done. They have also added an "extra surcharge" on units with lofts but cannot explain where it comes from. The AGM took place last year August.We have not heard from them since. These trustees and the chairman,do as they please. Owners cannot reach them because they do not answer calls, emails, nothing. The managing agent is also kept in the dark so they can't help. We cannot call a SGM because they do not want to furnish any documentation. These trustees have made dodgy decisions and all they do is blame past trustees for the situations but they are the ones making these decisions - no one else. They lie.And when you confront them about it (if that's even possible) they just ignore you. This obviously affects our levies and generally our overall budget because they collect our money every month and we don't know what they're doing with it Any advise?  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Thursday, 05 Apr 2012 09:22        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
There are several issues at play here. The logical route would be to direct all concerns in writing to trustees and to request a special meeting of owners to be called by the trustees in terms of Prescribed Management Rule 53 of the Sectional Title Act. In terms hereof shall upon a request in writing made either by owners entitled to 25 per cent of the total of the quotas of all sections or by any mortgagee holding mortgage bonds over not less than 25 per cent in number of the units, convene a special general meeting. If the trustees fail to call a meeting so requested within fourteen days of the request, the owners or mortgagee concerned shall be entitled themselves to call the meeting. It is important that the issues for discussion be stated in the letter to trustees and in the agenda for special general meeting, once this is called.
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Nadia Conradie
Posted : Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012 11:55        Question
Nadia014
Joined : 13 Jun 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Johannesburg, Gauteng
Hi. I'm concerned about the high levies at my complex. I feel for the quantity of units in the complex, it shouldn’t be this high. Where can I find out of an estimate levy amount for a complex with 240 units, all flats, consisting of bachelor and loft units with a few garages. No private gardens, all communal gardens, pool and braai areas? I feel the security charges are driving some of the costs.......  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Monday, 25 Jun 2012 15:50        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
An opinion cannot be provided without gaving insight into the budgetary requirements of this scheme. The levies will be the total expences in terms of approved budget and with a large scheme, generally levies should be lower as the pool that is contributing is larger. It can however be affected by aspects such as municipal charges and expenses such as security / lifts and related. I would suggest that the budget be scrutinised and the trustees be consulted and / or next trustee meeting be attended as owner (may attend but not vote), to obtain more clarity.
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Poynton Floyd
Posted : Monday, 06 Aug 2012 20:14        Question
Poynton107
Joined : 06 Aug 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Hello. I have been tardy lately with my monthly levies and I have been charged R100 a time for late payment of a couple of days. This seems to be excessive - is this legal? Thank you.  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 17:29        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Any charge for late payment will be subject to regulations linked to the Council for Debt Collectors (http://www.debtcol-council.co.za) and fee structure is noted on their website (http://www.debtcol-council.co.za/expenses__fees.html). The fee of R100 is not in line with the costs allowed and I would suggest that you direct your request to the aforementioned body. Neither the BC or managing agent may charge fees if not registered and if so, same must be in terms of the costs legally declared as noted. The BC can charge interest on arrears if so decided by trustees in terms of PMR 31(6) of the ST Act.
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Amanda Furamera
Posted : Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 15:45        Question
Amanda904
Joined : 07 Aug 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Joburg, Gauteng
I have just bought into a sectional title that instituted a special levy to pay for water bills for the last 2 years where they had many leaks and then owed CoJ about R100 000. As a new owner, do I have to pay this special levy to pay for usage of water brought forward in this manner?  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 17:23        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Yes, as per other forum replies, special levies are payable upon trustees resolution declaring same as per section 37(2) of the ST Act. unfortunately, this affects the owner at the time of the resolution being made and cannot be appropriated retrospectively.
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Leigh De Gouveia
Posted : Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 10:02        Question
Leigh710
Joined : 06 Aug 2011
Posts : 3
Location : Somerset West, Western Cape
Hi, our bond transfer came through on the 15th December 2011. At the AGM held on 25th of January 2012, a once off special levy was approved. The reason for the special levy was due to incorrect financial record keeping and uncertainty surrounding historic arear amounts dating back to 2010. Currently the Estate is undergoing a forensic audit for the 2010 financial year. Are we liable to pay the special levies, since the HOA were aware of the problem dating back to 2010 / 2011?  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 17:22        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Yes, special levies are payable upon trustees resolution declaring same as per section 37(2) of the ST Act. unfortunately, this affects the owner at the time of the resolution being made and cannot be appropriated retrospectively.
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Leigh De Gouveia
Posted : Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 17:55        Comment
Leigh710
Joined : 06 Aug 2011
Posts : 3
Location : Somerset West, Western Cape
Hello Andre. Thank you so much for your quick response and feedback. Best regards, Leigh  
Sipho Madida
Posted : Monday, 20 Aug 2012 12:42        Question
Sipho-815
Joined : 20 Aug 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Midrand, Gauteng
Can a person, through Access to Information act, ask for a record of electricity meter readings for all units in a complex to get a sense of whether one is charged 'reasonable' amounts for electricity?  
Andre Augustyn
Replied : Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012 12:27        Answer
Andre596
Joined : 12 Dec 2011
Posts : 87
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I see no reason why this cannot be done. As an owner what should be done is for the trustees or managing agent to provide you with the calculations breakdown / formula of consumption charge on request. Meter could off course also be faulty and if expected should be tested. In terms of management rule 35(2) of the Sectional Title Act, on application of any owner, registered mortgagee or of the managing agent the trustees shall make all or any of the books of account and records available for inspection by such owner, mortgagee or managing agent.
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kobus de wet
Posted : Monday, 03 Dec 2012 16:03        Question
kobus303
Joined : 30 Jan 2012
Posts : 4
Location : Meyerton, Gauteng
Water meters was installed now there seems to be some discrepancy between the water meter readings and the main meter the extra cost is now being collected from the owners who are not happy as the BC nor the managing agent are trying to find the cause of the difference, are they allowed to carry on this way? Should they not at least try and solve the problem instead of just adding to the levies? what can we do?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 10 Dec 2012 17:15        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi. Are the water meters recovering only water or water and sewerage? Are the calculations being done correctly as it is quite a complicated formula as your charge increases as your consumption increases. Also, it depends when they read the meters. If this is all done correctly, the body corporate has no choice but to recover the shortfall from the owners as the account still needs to be paid. You are correct in saying that they need to find the problem. The main meter could be faulty so you can ask the municipality to check the water meter to see if it is faulty. They do charge a fee for this, but at least you can be sure that it is not a problem. I would then suggest that you switch off all the taps on common property and switch off all the water from the water meters to the units. If the main meter still moves, then you know that there is a leak on the pipes on the common property and you then need to trace it.
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Joe Soap
Posted : Monday, 10 Dec 2012 16:43        Question
Joe-687
Joined : 10 Dec 2012
Posts : 3
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi there, I'm at wit's end with our Trustees / Managing Agents. In July we were informed of a special levy - ranging from R49 000 to R68 000 per unit. We are two buildings (One is a one storey, 7 units - R300 000 special levy) and the bigger one; 18 storeys - 54 units (R3.35m special levy). You can only imagine the ensuing fights / meetings / etc. I own a unit in the smaller block and my special levy contribution was R49 000. Since informing us of the above the Trustees have requested another quote and got the main building down to R3.2m During our AGM an alternative quote amounting to R125 000 surfaced for our (smaller) block, which had my contribution at R26 000 a pleasant decrease from R49 000. THis quote was rejected as it was not submitted through proper channels, even though it was from the company on whose quote the initial special levy was based. During all this the Tustees signed a contract with the new company for work on BOTH buildings, without this company even having inspected, surveyed or measured anything on our property. Even though this contract was signed either late July or early August - our costing was only finalised LAST WEEK (roughly 26 Nov - 3 Dec.) How could they sign and owners having started paying special levy since 1 October when the amount was not finalised. Is this legal? Please can you provide me with any insights / feedback or help. Desperately yours, MC  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 10 Dec 2012 16:55        Comment
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi. Was the special levy raised to attend to maintenance on buildings? Is it general maintenance or is it an improvement to the building? Is it necessary to repair the building? Also, in the previous AGM minutes / meeting was there ever restrictions placed on the trustees for the amount of money that can be spent? How do the other owners feel? I would suggest that you ask to see the quotes that the trustees have received and that you would like to see the minutes and the resolution of the meeting where the contractor was selected and the amount with the levy schedule to be charged to the owners. If you are going to spend so much money on the block, I would also enquire if any of the trustees are professionals in this field to manage the repair work. If they are not, I would suggest that you make use of a company such as PDS to manage the project and check up on the contractor.
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Joe Soap
Replied : Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013 23:41        Comment
Joe-687
Joined : 10 Dec 2012
Posts : 3
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi Craig, A kind thank you for your response. Admittedly all the procedures were followed, and at a special meeting last year in July it was decided that the Trustees have power to go ahead and continue - based on estimates at the time. My problem though is they SIGNED a contract with, from my understanding, the first co. that quoted. Is there legally a required amount of quotes? This contract was signed BEFORE the company even looked or did an estimate on the smaller building. I just feel that the Trustees are NOT acting in the best interest of the owners. Why accept the first quote when there was a possibility of cutting costs. Our building has also developed a bad name and thereby negatively influencing the selling price (which I want to do and many others have started the process). Based on sales within a few kilo radius our building is by far the LOWEST. Is there not a body / group / anyone really that I can take this to and see if there is recourse for us as owners ... I am desperate. With the special levy I do not have funds for legal costs. PLEASE, and all advise will be much appreciated
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william davey
Posted : Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 20:31        Question
william552
Joined : 11 Dec 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Camps Bay, Western Cape
Hi, we purchased a flat in a newly completed complex, 39 units in total in Kraaifontein, size of flat is 50 sqm. Bond was registered 26 November 2012. We have just received the proposed levy schedule which is supposed to be ratified at 1st meeting of Body Corporate 16 January 2013. There are some shocks for us. One is a proposed monthy levy of R929 which we regard as exorbitantly high for the flat and complex size and area.This is broken down as follows: The proposed unit levy is an amount of R454 for insurance based on participation quota where total square metres is 1975 sq.m. Then there is R206 towards the master estate home owners assoociation plus another R151 for our specific complex home owners association plus another R10 for the Management program and R99 for a private phone system within each flat. My questions are: 1 - Isnt the R454 unit levy very high for a relatively small and brand new complex in middle class area of Kraaifontein? 2 - I have protested the cost of R99 for a phone saying I dont want it in but they keep telling me it was in the proposed levy schedule in the deed of sale. My response is that the deed of sale states only that "a telephone conection will be provided" and the levy schedule is stilll subject to ratification. 3- if the bond was only registered 26 November , can they force us to pay levies for November? Thanks  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 08:09        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I would suggest that you get a copy of the budget and go through it. I take it that you are part of Buh-Rein Estate. There will be a levy for the Home Owners Association that you belong to. Does the levies include Water and Sewerage. If so, the levies are reasonable for the complex. I am not so sure about the R99 per month for the phone system, but that would have been something in your purchase agreement. Levies are payable in advance. It is calculated on date of registration at the Deeds Office. So you will need to check on this. If registration took place in the middle of the month the attorneys should have pro-rata'ed it. Sectional Title always has its challenges and many owners buying in sectional title are not aware of them. Make sure that your levy is making provision for maintenance and general operating and running of the complex; as if you have a good base to start off now, there should not be any special levies in the future.
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Shivani Gounden
Posted : Wednesday, 19 Dec 2012 14:24        Question
Shivani394
Joined : 19 Dec 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Randburg, Gauteng
Hello, my husband and I have a flat which also has a servants quaters not attached to the flat. We were under the impression that when we purchased the flat we also purchased the servants quaters. We found out today that since the servants quarters is not attached to our flat it is not our property. We have exclusive rights to use it but do not own it. Our Body Corporate owns it. At the recent AGM it was passed to increase the servants quarters levies from R38 to R550. This is an increase of more than 1000%. Is it really excessive and I was wondering if it is legal.  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013 16:19        Comment
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi. You will need to confirm if it is part of your Section or if it is indeed exclusive use area. If it is exclusive use area, you are only allowed to recover direct related costs. You will need to enquire what the costs are that they are recovering in the levies. Perhaps they need to paint and repair the exterior of the rooms and need to build up a reserve. What is the state of the servants quarters.
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Terry De Vries
Posted : Friday, 28 Dec 2012 15:55        Question
Terry523
Joined : 28 Dec 2012
Posts : 2
Location : Johannesburg, Gauteng
In our complex we had an agreement with the body corporate about our levy because we get paid every second week we can not pay by the end of the month the levy so they agreed now we are being charged "Late Payment Fees" of R310 regardless of when we pay after writing a letter to them is this legal?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013 16:14        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Where does it stipulate that you can be penalised R310 for your levies being in arrears? Is it in your management rules or do they hand you over to an attorney? How many days does your levies go in arrears by. Normally there is a 7 days grace period, but legally levies are payable in advance by the 1st of the month.
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LAUREN GOODMAN
Posted : Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 13:26        Question
LAUREN796
Joined : 13 Mar 2013
Posts : 2
Location : PINETOWN, KwaZulu-Natal
Just need to know whether a Body Corp can repossess your property if you behind on your levies  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:49        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Yes, if the correct legal procedures are followed they can auction your unit off to recover the outstanding levies, interest and legal fees.
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Poovalin Pillay
Posted : Friday, 22 Mar 2013 12:42        Question
Poovalin750
Joined : 22 Mar 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Dainfern, Gauteng
Hi there, I have recently been issued with a fine of R500 for breaching the rules of the estate I live in. The breach relates to a breach of security for allowing our domestic worker access to the estate. My levy statement now shows a fine of R500. We were not sent an official transgression notification (the manager of the estate claims that she mailed notification to the managing agents of our complex). The rules that are registered at the deeds office state that anyone who breaches the rules will be sent a warning in writing and have 10 days to address the issue. If the offence is repeated then there will be a fine of R500. There have been newsletters over the year that state anyone guilty of security breaches will be fined R500. However, this does not indicated if the fine is immediate and therefore the process of written warning is bypassed. Also the content of the newsletter have not been registered in the deeds office as amendments to the rules. The estate manager refuses to give us the details of the trustees so that we can clear this. All she does is pastes a response that she receives for the trustee, which we can’t verify the authenticity of. How legal is the fine if there is no written fine outlining the offence and date thereof? Also the lack of a written warning, does that make the fine void? Is the fine legal? And if not, what action do we take to resolve this? Thanks a lot.  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:54        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
If you live in an Estate, you are probably governed by a Constitution. If the constitution allows fines without warning letters, then they can fine you. If you want to challenge the fine, you will probably need to send the constitution to an attorney to advise you. It depends how long you would like to argue it, but you could get the fine reversed, but i don't know at what cost (in time and legal fees).
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L 65
Posted : Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 10:53        Question
L240
Joined : 22 Apr 2013
Posts : 3
Location : Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Good Day, I've been in arrears with my Levies ( +- R 5500 ) and an outstanding Plumbing bill (+-) R 1500 ) for about 5 months. I paid in R 4700 to bring it today to within 60 days outstanding. I raised a objection to my plumbing bill about 2 years ago as the "leak finder" could not find any leaks on the common property and therefore assumed that it came from inside my unit and the BC says that its therefore for my own account. The "leak finder" did'nt even enter my unit to assess it and I was not at home when they came through anyway. Despite my lodging a dispute they BC insisted that I pay it which was added to my levy statement. I objected to the fact that the costs of getting a leakfinder was not even discussed with me first and the consequences if they did not find any problems in the common area. Despite my repeated requests from them, they simply ignore it and they just keep adding interest to my outstanding amount. In an email to me they claimed that I was sent and email about it and on asking for proof, I was advised that the computer hard drive packed up and they have no back ups – which I find hard to beleive They have in the last two weeks stopped my garden service ( no grass cutting for the last 2 weeks ) and refuse removal service because of the outstanding amount. Are they allowed to suspend these services if levies are outstanding like this?, even if the outstanding amount has been disputed ? Am I responsible for the leak finders fee? ( My average utility bills were about R 1700 per month, but at that time it varied between R 4000 TO R 7000 per month). Despite having plumbers in every month to sort some leak or the other n the complex, I was refused plumbing invoices to allow me to make a claim for water loss ). The water consumption returned to normal about 2 months after “ leak finders visit “ What steps can I take to get them to restore my services immediately? ( I’m only in a position to bring the levies up to date at the end of May ) ( Note, the BC has a managing agent. For the last four years, they simply don't respond to anything you ask, they mainly respond by ending out lawyers letters for every simple thing . I sent out a 30 page response to they lawyers and included copies of every single sms and email from myself, and was threathened with High Court action if I don't comply with his letters, some of which gives you 2 days to comply. I spoke to several other owners, but they are too scared to approach the chairperson about anything. We had an AGM after 3 years - even though the managing agent is a member of the " Body Corporate Management Association"- Please help  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:38        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Something does not sound right. I would suggest that you also see an attorney. The fees might end up being the same as they stating is "outstanding" but if this matter goes to court you need proof of everything. If they don't have proof, it will be difficult to confirm if the work has been done.
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L 65
Posted : Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 21:15        Question
L240
Joined : 22 Apr 2013
Posts : 3
Location : Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Good Day, I live in a complex which does not have any exclusive area's beyond the unit itself and the patio. So although the garden behind my unit is treated and used as my private garden, it is nonetheless common use property. My problem arises because I am in arrears with my levy to the amount of R 3500. I make extra payments of R 200 p.m to reduce this debt. I understand that levies are important for the smooth runnng of the complex, but my circumstances prevent me from getting this up to date for at least the next six months. The Trustees decided to identify me personally as one of the bad payers and even stated that I was ill disciplined in n ot making payments. My question is " Can they identify me in that manner and ambarass me in front of the other unit owners ? The management agent present did not intervene either. The second question is that they've stopped garden services to my " private garden " and refuse to take out refuse bin ? Is this legal, even though the garden is in fact common use property? If it's illegal , what can I do ? . Will I be able to hire a gardener to maintain the garden and claim the costs back from the Body Corp? Please help. Thanks  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 14:56        Comment
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
There has been many cases where the body corporate has acted in this manner but unfortunately they cannot do things like this. If you are in arrears with your levies, they need to follow the correct legal procedures to collect your levies. They cannot deny you of certain rights because you do not pay your levies unless it is in the rules. Are you sure that the gardens are not exclusive use? If they are exclusive use they can ask you to attend to your own garden. If it is common property, they need to attend to it. You would need to see an attorney for assistance if they continue in this way.
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Harry Nienaber
Posted : Tuesday, 06 Aug 2013 10:32        Question
Harry435
Joined : 06 Aug 2013
Posts : 3
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I am one of four owners of a four unit complex. I say again .There is only four units. This is a registered Sectional title. As per my research a body corporate is automatically registered as part of the Sectional title registration. As there is only 4 units and four owners.Must we pay levy?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 16:10        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
If you are registered as sectional title, there are certain common property expenses that need to be paid and this will then determine the amount of levies that need to paid. Unfortunately, you have to pay levies. Common expenses would be things like, insurance, water, sewerage, refuse, common property electricity, bank charges, maintenance on the buildings, etc.
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martin shunmugam
Posted : Monday, 19 Aug 2013 13:52        Question
martin659
Joined : 19 Aug 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Johannesburg, Gauteng
My BC realised a few months ago my electricity meter was faulty. They replaced it without letting me know. And they have taken my usage for the past few months with the new meter and want me to backpay on usage for the past 2 years. I have always paid my levies and elec on time and was not aware that the meter was faulty. Can they charge me for electricity they assumed I used. Interest is also being added to my bill.  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 14:50        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
You would need to find out who owns the electricity meter. If it is common property, there is an argument that the meter belongs to the body corporate. They need to maintain it and if they have not done so, they cannot hold you liable. In the same breath though, if the difference is excessive, and it has not been picked up, they need to recover the shortfall. Depending on the amount they are charging you, i would suggest you seek legal advice. The municipality does not even backdate for 2 years when they recon the account.
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Carol Willis
Posted : Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 17:07        Question
Carol478
Joined : 20 Aug 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Northriding, Gauteng
I'm deeply concerned about charges from our managing agent and BC. Can anybody answer my questions: 1. It has come to my attention that a plumbing maintenance bill added to my levy account was inflated. I discovered this accidentally when the invoice was sent to me, I think in error. I have no knowledge of any handling fees on invoices such as this and surely, under the CPA these should be declared? 2. The common property electricity charges appear to be excessively high yet I cannot get either BC or MA to provide me with an explanation of what we are funding. What are my rights in this regard? 3. The managing agent charges a fee for notifying you of arrears, this amounts to just under R100, yet they are not registered debt collectors and the fee appears to be far higher than the set down charges. How can I challenge this and who can clarify it for me? Many thanks  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 14:46        Comment
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I would suggest that you make contact with a sectional title attorney. You will need to check your conduct and management rules regarding the fines as you need to determine if the managing agent is charging it or is the body corporate charging it? If the plumbing was done in your unit someone would have had to provide access to the unit. You will have to find this out. Also, you would need to understand if it was an emergency. If you are fine with the plumbing charges and question the additional charges, then you need to check the managing agents contract as some managing agents charge a "admin" fee to attend to extra items on the levy statement or for maintenance "management". We normally give a calculation of the tariffs that the body corporate pays as per the municipal account so if someone queries it, they can clearly see that we are recovering what is being charged.
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Heather Ferguson
Posted : Friday, 23 Aug 2013 11:04        Question
Heather178
Joined : 23 Aug 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
My daughter lives with me (owner) in a complex. By accident she drove into our complex gate. The Body corporate are busy claiming the cost of a new gate from her insurers. BC wants to debit my levy account with the full cost of the new gate until the claim is settled. Can they do this?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 14:39        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I would advise that you speak to an attorney regarding this. There is an argument for and against. My argument would be that i pay levies so i should be liable for the excess as there should be insurance for the gate. They can charge the excess to my levy account i will will pay it back.
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Sunil Manilall
Posted : Saturday, 07 Sep 2013 23:56        Question
Sunil974
Joined : 07 Sep 2013
Posts : 3
Location : Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
A previous owner of the unit that I am in added a study and a laundry area to the unit. I recently found out that the plans for the addition had not been submitted by that owner. In addition these extentions are not registered with the Deeds office. As the current owner I understand that this would be my responsibility to rectify and then maybe seek some recourse against the previous owner. However I currently do not have the funds to pay for this. The B/C wants me get the plans submitted and registered. As indicated I do understand it is my responsibility but do not have the financial means to do it at this moment in time. Can the B/C force me to do it immediatley or can I do this when I have the funds to do it.  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 15:22        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
The body corporate can send you a letter stating that you have 30 days to attend to this and failing this they will then proceed and charge it to your levy account. I understand that you will do it, but the funds are limited so the body corporate should be understanding to assist you in the payment and you then pay it off over 6-12months? If they do not want to accept this proposal and they then hand you over to collect the balance and you make a offer to make payment arrangements, any attorney will advise them to accept a 6 month payment plan. If they are not reasonable, i would suggest you go see your own attorney.
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Harry Nienaber
Posted : Monday, 16 Sep 2013 10:21        Question
Harry435
Joined : 06 Aug 2013
Posts : 3
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
"I am one of four owners of a four unit complex. I say again .There is only four units. This is a registered Sectional title. As per my research a body corporate is automatically registered as part of the Sectional title registration. As there is only 4 units and four owners.Must we pay levy?" We have a new problem now. the owner of Unit1 has moved away from the property and sold his unit,without paying the outstanding levy + water payments of R5500.I am the treasurer and would like to know what can we do to get this arears amounts from this person?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 16 Sep 2013 10:56        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Hi. Someone would had to have issued a levy clearance certificate for the sale to go through. The first step is to find out who the transferring attorneys were, then make contact with them to find out who signed the clearance. If the seller sold the clearance you would need to take action against them as the new owner cannot be held liable for the levies. Or if the transferring attorneys transferred the unit without a levy clearance certificate you can hold them responsible and report them to the law society (enquire).
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Teboho Mashota
Posted : Monday, 23 Sep 2013 12:36        Question
Teboho596
Joined : 23 Sep 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Johannesburg, Gauteng
Greetings. I stay in a complex and since i lost my job 3 years ago i haven't been able to get a permanent job. I then made payments arrangement with the agent representing trustees, i did stick to my arrangement and they went ahead and obtain a default judgement against me, unfortunately i could not defend myself because i was hospitalized. The company has since been liquidated and the complex lost about 100 000 that was kept in the companies account. We were told by the trustees that the money has been frozen.During this process my electricity was cut off more that 4 times. A new company was appointed by the trustees and they too said people who was behind with levies should come forward to make payment arrangements and owners also agreed and said if u make arrangements and don't sticking to it then trustees should cut off. When i asked this new company and trustees about the judgement no one seems to know anything.I have been sticking to my arrangement and if i have extra i pay extra, unfortunately almost every month i get Urgent letter of demands from the trustees saying i should pay of and that my electricity will be cut, they have cut of before and i had to pay R 5000 which i do not have. Every time a letter is sent there are legal fees added, i once communicated with their attorney who said i should continue with the arrangement. They are really frustrating me, can they also institute a judgement again?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Friday, 04 Oct 2013 14:57        Comment
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I would suggest that you discuss this matter with an attorney in sectional title. Does the rules allow them to cut your electricity as i don't believe that are acting legally. Please investigate.
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Werner Claassen
Posted : Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 04:38        Question
Werner765
Joined : 09 Oct 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Pretoria, Gauteng
I just want to find out what the average is for levies in Pretoria east. More specific Equestria. I am looking at buying a sectional title property and the levy is R2340 + Municipality rates of R740 on top of that. The property is about 7 years old and very well cared for. There is about 45 units in the property. No common swimming pool or club house, just the houses. It has 24 hour security. I am just worried that if we want to sell in 5 years that the levy is going to be an issue for most customers. I have requested the budgets and annual reports. I am still waiting for this. Thanks  
Antoinette Fourie
Posted : Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 22:29        Question
Antoinette-258
Joined : 12 Dec 2013
Posts : 2
Location : Krugersdorp, Gauteng
Hi. Please help me!!! I am an owner of a Cluster. This is the closest site I could find regarding this. We pay our lievies a month in advance. If I pay, say on the 8th they charge interest. Is it legal to charge interest on levies paid in advance in the first place. We also get Reminder SMS's when we r a couple of days late R20.00. Letters billed at R50 and R100.00 and even correspondence e-mail get charged at R30.00. Also an electric cable (underground) between my DB Box and the Main Box had to be fixed. Is it fair that I had to pay these costs. Also the Municipal's sewerage pipe is UNDER MY HOUSE and not running along the main wall and so I have major health hazard issues? What can I do???  
thomas Shadwell
Posted : Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 07:38        Question
thomas327
Joined : 14 Jan 2014
Posts : 2
Location : East London, Eastern Cape
Hi. The levies on my garage and flat are calculated using PQ.The flat levies are R220.00 and the garage R110.00 The value of the flat is R450.000 and the garage is R85.000.There are no fixtures on the garage and feel this is incorrect.Thanks  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 27 Jan 2014 10:57        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Your garage is a section so the calculation for the levies are correct. If you would like to change the calculation of the garage levies, you will then need to amend your management rules.
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Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 21:55        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
Hi Thomas This is a common problem that is usually caused by the Developer not understanding the consequences of their way of registering the sectional title scheme. This is the very reason that we do consulting for Developers on the practical management aspects of their new schemes and go through the Rules with them. Typically the flat is 60 sq m and the garage 40 sq m. I agree with you that this is not at all fair especially when those with the same sized carport often pay no or only a nominal exclusive use area. The only way to fix the problem is to have the Rules amended or to have the Sectional Title plans (and therefore the PQ) changed. The problem is that the other owners may not be happy because their levies will rise. Not an easy problem to solve. Mike Spencer, Platinum Global, Bloemfontein
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Mande Van der Westhuizen
Posted : Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 12:39        Question
Mande466
Joined : 28 Jan 2014
Posts : 2
Location : Randburg, Gauteng
I bought a sectional title unit in July last year and on my first levy statement was charged a fee for "New Owner's Pack". Seven months later I have still not received any kind of owner's pack and have requested the managing agents to either send the pack or reverse the charge multiple times. Do I have any legal basis for forcing them to reverse the charge?  
Roxanne Khan
Posted : Monday, 03 Feb 2014 12:51        Question
Roxanne321
Joined : 03 Feb 2014
Posts : 2
Location : Centurion, Gauteng
Hi. If a owner of a sectional title is late with their levi payments, are they responsible for the attorney fees as well. Is there a sectional title law that the owner is responsible for the fees? A tenant was in arrears with their levy. They emailed the management company to advise that they were aware and would pay at month end. The management company advised that they had handed the matter over to attorneys the day before. The tenant shortly received a mail from the attorneys to advise that the tenant is reliable for the attorney fees. At month end the arrears was paid and the tenant advise the attorney that no warning letter was provided by the management company and that they advised them the arrears would be paid at month end before they were aware the attorneys were contacted and that they dont see why they should pay for the attorney fees when they did not make use of their services. the attorney advised of the following: 1. If you are in arrears our client is not obligated to give a warning letter before handing the matter over to attorneys. 2. The Sectional Titles Act makes provision for legal costs on a scale as between attorney and own client. (it is in fact a law that you are liable for our costs). If you do not pay the legal costs same will be added to your next levy account. (which our client may do as the Act makes provision for actions of this nature) Is this correct? Kind Regards  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 24 Mar 2014 20:35        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
The body corporate should have an arrears policy with regards to their specific body corporate. There should be minutes of a trustees meeting or a resolution stating this. I would ask the trustees to provide this documentation. The act does allow the body corporate to recover costs, so it is a good idea to always pay your levy on time. You can argue the case and employ and attorney to defend you on grounds of the body corporate not following the correct procedure (possibly), but this will also cost legal fees that might not be recoverable from the body corporate. You can add the legal fees onto the owners levy account. But ask to see the minutes or the resolution to prove that this can be done. We normally discuss it at the AGM so that the owners can be informed of this and it is noted in the AGM Minutes (even though it is a trustees decision)
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Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 21:35        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
Yes the body corporate is able to hand any owners who is in arrears over for arrears to be collected. According to the Sectional Titles Act the owner is responsible for any legal fees. I am not sure if you are confused or have a special arrangement but a tenant is NOT responsible for payment of the levy the owner is. Only the owner can be handed over. A tenant is not the sueable for levies by the body corporate. It is normal to send out a reminder of arrears but not necessary. Remember you are not a customer of the body corporate but an owner of a unit and are obliged to pay the levy in terms of the act. The answer is to pay your levies on time or make an arrangement with the body corporate BEFORE the amount is due not afterwards. Mike Spencer, Platinum Global, Bloemfontein
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Leonie du Toit
Posted : Monday, 10 Feb 2014 13:16        Question
Leonie864
Joined : 10 Feb 2014
Posts : 2
Location : Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal
Our body corporate decided that they need to repaint the complex in 2017 - 3 years from now. They decided this will cost R2 million and so each unit has to pay R19000. Two things about the implementation seems wrong to me: 1. Painting a complex is something that needs to be done each 5 years anyway and the amount quoted seems a little absurd. We have no quotes or anything to back it up. 2. We are being asked to pay the R 19000 up front. We are told that we could pay this month by month, but they will not put it on the monthly levy statement, it shows in a separate statement and it shows the remainder of the money as in arrears. Is there anything in the sectional title law that will allow us to fight this? Or at least get it added to the complex statement as a monthly amount? So that if we decide to sell our place in 3 months time we are not liable for the full amount?  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 00:00        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
The trustees are entitled to raise a special levy from time to time. Once it is decided to raise a special levy to paint the complex, the registered owner at that specific time, is liable for the full special levy. If they are creating a separate payment for the painting project, then this can be done - but they still need to provide documentation of all the payments just as a normal levy.
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morne erasmus
Posted : Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 13:45        Question
morne183
Joined : 11 Jan 2012
Posts : 11
Location : johannesburg, Gauteng
Hi 1) If one owner of a unit is a legal entity in other words the unit is registered ino a (Pty) Ltd, what is the procedure to allow one of the directors of this legal entity to be nominated as chairman for the complex. 2) Can a person that is renting a unit (not an legal owner) be nominated as the chairman? If so what is the procedure.  
Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 21:50        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
Any natural person can be a proxy for any owner. Strictly speaking the organisation would have to give a copy of their minutes nominating a person to act on behalf of the company/CC/Trust but in practice there is usually just one person concerned and it is accepted that he has authority to act on behalf of the organisation. As I say any person can be nominated as a Trustee and therefore the Trustees can chose him as Chairman. Mike Spencer, Platinum Global, Bloemfontein.
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Vicky Gurovich
Posted : Monday, 24 Mar 2014 09:03        Question
Vicky995
Joined : 24 Mar 2014
Posts : 2
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
Good Day, I own an appertment in a relatively small block. I have a small private use garden, for which i pay a monthly levy of R425.00. I would just like to find out what our body corporate should be using that levy for as they provide no assitance with maintenance of the garden. The cost for maintenance of the lawn, trees and shrubs, maintenance or the fence, electricity for the lighting as well as the cost for the water are all payed for by myself as it is a private use area, i am not understanding fully why i am paying a levy on top of all of this as well? I am just wondering if the body corporate should be offering me some kind of assistance with all the upkeep seeing they charge a levy? Surely then the appartments above mine should be paying a levy on thier balconies ( which they dont). i would really appreciate some advice on the matter, just to gain a better understanding of the situation.  
Craig Coetzee
Replied : Monday, 24 Mar 2014 20:39        Answer
Craig88
Joined : 25 Jul 2011
Posts : 139
Location : Cape Town, Western Cape
I would assume that the garden is an exclusive use area in this post. I would also interpret that the full R425 is being charged for a levy on the garden and that this does not include the unit levy. If it is Exclusive Use Area (EUA) and you are being billed R425; the act will state that you can only recover direct related costs pertaining to the exclusive use area. I would ask the trustees or the managing agent to prove what makes up the R425 levy. One of the costs it cannot include is the management fees. The R425 does sound excessive. That act will say that it is up to the owner to maintain his EUA.
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Anne du Plessis
Posted : Wednesday, 14 May 2014 19:24        Question
Anne317
Joined : 14 May 2014
Posts : 2
Location : Somerset West, Western Cape
Good Evening I bought a unit in a security complex three years ago. The levy was considerable higher than other similar units, and the body corporate keep pushing the levy up with approximately 8% every year. There was also a special levy for painting not too long ago. The complex offers 24 hour security, a gym, a public pool and some open spaces. My question is, I currently pay R1314 in levies every month, for a 67 square meter unit, and they intend to push it up again this year. At the previous AGM they indicated though that there is an excess of over a million Rand in the bank account currently. Is it acceptable to keep increasing levies, if these are not actually used to cover the immediate expenses (with some extra backup cash of course)? I am sure that it is good to have a safety net, but this does seem quite excessive and I really do not feel it is fair to keep pushing the levy up, unless these funds are actually needed to run the complex. Please send me your comments?  
Tertius Maree
Replied : Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:30        Answer
Tertius700
Joined : 22 Sep 2011
Posts : 9
Location : Stellenbosch, Western Cape
By 'security complex' I assume you mean a sectional title scheme. You also state that 'they intend to push it up again this year.' What do you mean by 'they"? Levies are squarely based on the budget approved annually with or without amendments by the members of the body corporate of which you are one. You should accordingly have good insight as to what the levies are for and how much goes to the reserve fund. levies are not increases according to the whims of the trustees but according to what the budget requires.
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Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 21:43        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
I agree with Tertius. Owner should get involved with the setting of budgets(levies) and levies should be on a month by month, item by item basis. On all the body corporates that we manage we have a Trustees Budget meeting in the month before the end of the financial year end and invite all owner to attend. Being part of a body corporate should be one of communication and explanation. A proposed budget is presented and motivated. Owners are encouraged to ask questions and make suggestions for changes - but as the budgets are logically thought out and in practice very few changes are made. If the majority of owners want to have a very large reserve then that is what the body corporate as a whole decide. In the body corporates we manage we can pay for repaint of the building, waterproofing etc without having special levies. The new act will require a reserve for every long term maintenance and replacement item (new lift, gate motors, etc. Mike Spencer, Platinum Global, Bloemfontein.
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Lucy Lozano
Posted : Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 20:50        Question
Lucy448
Joined : 04 Jun 2014
Posts : 2
Location : johannesburg, Gauteng
I live in a sectional title complex. Over the last few years the management agent has change twice with out communication to the owners. there have been no AGM's, we are unable to get details on the trustees and the financial s of the complex. Today we received notification that we are in arrears with our complex water and lights account to the sum of R500000. The managing agent want to enforce a special levy. are the individual owners of the units liable for this money?  
Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 21:27        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
While the Trustees have the right to appoint a Managing Agent body corporates are about keeping people informed and asking their opinion. AGMs HAVE to be held within 4 months of the end of the financial year. My first step would be to contact the managing agents and ask for a list of owners and their contact details. Then write to all the owners explaining the situation that no AGM has been held (and I assume that there are no financials) and asking them to demand a Special General Meeting be called by the Trustees. If the agents refuse to give you this information make a formal complaint to NAMA and the EAAB about their unprofessional conduct. It seems to me that the Trustees are not doing their work and need to be changed. If the Trustees wont call a meeting after 25% or more of the owners have asked them to do so in writing then those owners can call their own Special General Meeting (of all the owners) and discuss on the agenda whatever needs to be discussed. I would suggest as a minimum that you discuss 1. Appointment of new managing agents (if it is a scheme over 20 units) 2. Setting a new month by month, item by item budget 3. Electing new trustees that have an ability to get the building right 4. Instructing the trustees to be strict on credit control and that they should hand over any owner that is not paying his current levy on or before the first of each month and is more than 30 days in arrears. (A letter of demand should be send in the first month on or about the 5th). The only exceptions being owners that have given a letter of acknowledgement of debt and who keep to any arrangement that you make. (but limited to 12 months to get up to date with any arrears) 5. Ensure that your managing agents call regular Trustees meeting, an AGM, and a Trustees Budget meeting every year and on time. This should at least start you on the right road Mike Spencer, Platinum Global, Bloemfontein
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BRIAN CHANNELL
Posted : Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 15:15        Question
BRIAN855
Joined : 09 Jun 2014
Posts : 2
Location : DURBAN, KwaZulu-Natal
I LIVE IN A SEVEN UNIT COMPLEX AND WE WANT TO RAISE A SPECIAL LEVY TO INSTALL A GATE AT THE FRONT ENTRANCE. FIVE OF THE TRUSTEES VOTED FOR THE GATE AND TWO AGAINST. THE TWO THEN SAID THAT AS THEY OWNED 31% OF THE PQ WE COULD NOT GO AHEAD WITH THE GATE , COULD YOU PLEASE ADVICE IF THIS IS CORRECT  
Mike Spencer
Replied : Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 22:04        Answer
Mike-656
Joined : 17 Jun 2014
Posts : 14
Location : Bloemfontein, Free State
Special levies are raised by the Trustees.. If they maintenance then they are able to do so ie to fix by replacement of an existing gate. If it is a new gate then they have to notify owners and give then 30 days to object. If nobody objects then OK they can go ahead, but if somebody objects they have to hold a Special General Meeting. But remember that the majority rules so even if an owner/s have 31% then providing that everyone else votes for then they would lose out even if they called for a count on PQ rather than a straight show of hands. It all depends how many owners attend. Mike Spencer Platinum Global Bloemfontein
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Jan Swanson
Posted : Monday, 23 Jun 2014 19:50        Question
Jan647
Joined : 23 Jun 2014
Posts : 2
Location : Sandton, Gauteng
I am not sure how this works but an owner in our complex has not paid her levy since April 2013 having given us (the body corporate) a payment plan. We have handed her over to our lawyers for collection but have subsequently been notified that she has hired a lawyer to represent her in defending this action. How is this plausible when she is outstanding in her payment of her monthly levy? Thanks for the advice.  
 
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