Property Poser: Trustees Represent Body Corporate

www.MyPE.co.za: A
concerned reader has contacted our panel to find out more about the
duties and responsibilities of the trustees of a body corporate.

More specifically, she wants to know how meetings of the trustees
should be documented. In her experience, the minutes are not
necessarily a true reflection of what was actually discussed.

She would further like to know to whom these minutes should be
distributed.

Her concerns also turn to the role of the chairperson of the trustees
and specifically what his/her duties and responsibilities are.

Charlotte Vermaak“As we have seen
before, the management of a sectional title scheme to a large extent
lies with the trustees,” says Charlotte Vermaak from Chas
Everitt Port Elizabeth
. “Such trustees are appointed for one
year at a time during the annual general meeting of the members of the
body corporate.”

Vermaak says the reasoning for electing trustees is obvious. “It is not
always practically possible to have all the members of the body
corporate available and present to make decisions regarding the
management of a sectional title complex.

“Many decisions have to be made regarding the day to day functioning
and maintenance of the complex and the trustees represent the other
members in doing so.”

Various protection measures are however built into the provisions that
deal with the powers of the trustees, according to Vermaak.

“Although the power to sign instruments on behalf of the body corporate
lies with the trustees, a further provision has been incorporated that
no such instrument shall be binding unless it has been signed by a
trustee and the managing agent or by two trustees.”

Rian du ToitThe chairperson, says
Rian du Toit from Du
Toit Strombeck Attorneys
in PE, is elected from among the
trustees.

“Once elected, this chairperson shall remain in place until the end of
the next annual general meeting of the body corporate. At this meeting,
the trustees and chairperson can be re-elected.”

Du Toit says determinations are made by means of a majority of votes of
the trustees present at a meeting. “One of the important functions of
the elected chairperson is that he or she has a so-called ‘casting
vote’.

“This means that if the votes are evenly divided, the vote of the
chairperson can make the final determination. This power can prevent
meetings from turning into an endless fight among trustees.”

It therefore also makes sense, says Du Toit, that one of the duties
imposed on the trustees in terms of the regulations of the Sectional
Titles Act is that of keeping minutes of their meetings.

“These minutes should be made available for inspection to any owner or
bondholder of a unit upon written application.”

Du Toit says the minutes should be kept in such a way to prevent anyone
tampering with it. “This information, after all, provides a record of
the decisions made by the trustees.”

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