Owners in a sectional title scheme are part of a community with established management structures, such as the body corporate, trustees, and, in many cases, a managing agent.
“While most people are aware that the body corporate is made up of all the scheme’s owners and that the trustees are responsible for carrying out the body corporate’s statutory functions and decisions, the role of the managing agent and their property administration services is less well understood,” says Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates.
“To begin, it’s important to understand that the managing agent does not assume the responsibilities of the body corporate or trustees, nor does it make decisions on their behalf regarding financial management, property administration, governance, payroll, or statutory reporting obligations of their sectional title schemes,” says Scheltema. “Our role is to provide expert support and guidance, as well as to assist in the implementation of the trustees’ orders.”
Because most owners and trustees are not property experts, they require skilled assistance to ensure that their schemes have strong governance and effective communication. “When one considers the value of the property assets involved, as well as the lifestyle and financial repercussions for inhabitants if a scheme is poorly managed, the importance of this becomes clear,” explains Scheltema.
The full scope of their function should then be set out in a management agreement that is signed by the trustees and functions as a service level agreement. managing agents are generally appointed by the trustees, and the full scope of their function should be set out in a management agreement that is signed by the trustees and functions as a service level agreement.
Some of the most important property administration services provided by a managing agent include:
One of the biggest responsibilities that a managing agent is tasked with is to offer advice, guidance, and support to the Trustees on the application of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA) obligations and the implementation of applicable rules and regulations.
Effective financial management and reporting
Positive cash flow sectional title schemes with good levy collections and effective budgeting often run smoothly and meet homeowners’ expectations in the long run. This starts with establishing a precise budget for each new fiscal year and identifying the levies required to pay anticipated expenses. However, the owners, who will normally accept a recommended budget with or without alteration at an AGM, are still in charge of determining the annual or monthly charges.
In most cases, managing agents are also in charge of delivering owner’s levy invoices and collecting levies and service costs in accordance with the budget and levy schedule agreed upon at the AGM. Debt collection is another significant service component and managing agents must register with the Council for Debt Collectors and adhere to the Debt Collectors Act and Code of Conduct. Owners who do not pay their levies put the Body Corporate under financial strain and are subsidised by other owners, which is not a long-term solution.
Processing and accounting for approved creditor payments
This guarantees that all property expenses, such as municipal accounts, insurance premiums, and security and maintenance charges, are paid on time, and that the scheme’s services are not interrupted or discontinued.
Maintenance of comprehensive financial records
To ensure that the body corporate’s AGM can be held on time and with the appropriate supporting information, a time and cost-effective audit process at the end of the financial year is required.
Compilation of annual tax returns
The majority of managing agents employ professional accounting teams to handle the financial management aspects of their agreements and provide trustees with detailed monthly reports. Financial reports are frequently available online these days.
Managing agents are responsible for sending out meeting announcements, attending meetings, and taking minutes, convening general meetings with all relevant supporting information, and ensuring that all the property’s critical records are safely stored.
Payment of employed staff
Managing agents oversee the payroll, leave records, UIF, and workmen’s compensation payments for the body corporate’s employees. Managing agents can also help with pension payments and HR issues like CCMA hearings.
Managing the upkeep of the scheme
The responsibility of managing agents in this regard is to assist with obtaining estimates and providing support and guidance to the trustees in appointing service providers.
Overseeing health and safety compliance
The managing agents assist and provide guidance to the trustees in ensuring the Health and Safety Officer is suitably qualified.
Overseeing op 10-year maintenance plan
Arranging the compilation of the 10-year maintenance plans and the insurance replacement valuation surveys every three years, as prescribed by the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA).
“Your home is your castle and needs effective, comprehensive property management,” emphasises Scheltema. “Property administration affects all aspects of one’s life and thus needs only experts to handle such matters.”