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Trustees can be an asset or a hindrance to a body corporate



Trustees are selected by the owners of a body corporate at an annual general meeting.

They are usually chosen because they volunteered when nobody else would. 

Being a managing agent is a highly skilled job with a skill level similar to an accountant and attorney. 

Unfortunately, trustees are often chosen by people who have little understanding of how a body corporate is run.

Some of those who choose them have little or no financial skill or understanding and others have no legal background.

As a result, many trustees are totally unsuitable for the task that they have taken on.

Many trustees simply don’t have the experience or skills required to manage a body corporate or a company.

Having a background in owning or at least managing a business is a great asset when working as a trustee.

You will have some idea of budgeting, debt collection, leasing, transfers, credit control, maintenance, legal and so much more that goes into running a body corporate.

Very few trustees have these skills.

 Unfortunately, many trustees believe that it is their job to control the managing agents.

While it is their responsibility to oversee the managing agents to ensure that they do what’s expected of them, it is not their responsibility to instruct the managing agents on what to do.

The very reason that you employ a managing agent is that they have the legal and technical skills and knowledge to run your scheme. 

If the trustees’ attitude is that they are in charge of the running of a building or complex, then you should not be employing a managing agent. 

But that is a road to disaster.

Good trustees understand what their job entails, that of ensuring that what needs to be done is done.

It is not to do the work of or instructing managing agents on what they should be doing, but to receive reports on the current financial and management of the building or complex and query anything that does not seem right.

Good trustees work in close harmony with good managing agents.

They are a real asset to the smooth running of their scheme.

On the other hand, trustees that insist on running the scheme “their way” seldom have a realistic grasp on what their job is.

They are not chosen to captain the ship but rather to be the pilot that advises the master on the safest and surest passage for the ship. 

Dictatorial trustees seldom get the best out of their managing agents and frequently result in managing agents just doing what they are told when they are told – which does nothing for the smooth running of a scheme.

This type of trustee often ends up trying to dictate to owners as well as the managing agents and demotivate all that are concerned.

Owners must think about the people that they nominate and vote as trustees.

Just because a person has the loudest voice and talks the most does not necessarily make them the best trustee.  

Trustees should be chosen for their good character and business-like skills and knowledge.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia. 

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Gas it out, give Eskom the boot



ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION . . . Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general

Electricity has simply become unaffordable. And, as if that’s not enough, it’s not always available.

In recent months, the power utility has been churning out media statements explaining the loss of generation at various power stations and pleading with consumers to use electricity sparingly.

While the updates are important, consumers naturally expect electricity to be available whenever they turn on the switch.

The recent tariff hike of over seven percent in Mangaung Metro has proved quite steep to most households and it might not be far-fetched to expect another round of hikes in the coming months.

I strongly believe it’s now time to seriously consider other practical solutions to end this double inconvenience of high prices and inavailabilty of electricity.

Alternatives like solar and gas could ease the problem quite significantly but it comes at a cost.

In fact, the installation costs might be quite discouraging, but once the systems are in place, there are no major expenses to be incurred – this including solar electricity, solar water heaters and gas.

Electrical geysers chew electricity while solar heaters are effective and efficient.

Natural gas is also a realistic alternative.

The system is cheaper to install by far and gas cylinders normally last for months.

Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general.

Larger systems can also have central heating.

Gas is readily available and suppliers have delivery services for 10kg cylinders and above.

And unlike electricity, gas geysers only heat water on demand, which means that you don’t sit around with pre-heated water in your geyser.

It only heats on demand.

And when cooking, pans heat up quickly and, importantly, cool down when the gas is switched off.

It is a different type of heat and is great for making oven bread.

Worth a try!

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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Langenhoven Park chain store robbed



SHOP ROBBERY . . . The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park

Bainsvlei police in Bloemfontein have launched a manhunt for suspects involved in business robbery at a chain store at The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park on Wednesday.

The complainant, who is the manager of the shop, told the police that two men walked into the shop pretending to be customers before robbing the shop.

“Suddenly they pulled out firearms and accosted the four cashiers and instructed them to walk back into the complainant’s office,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in a statement.

“The suspects robbed the shop of different brands of cellular telephones as well as an undisclosed amount of money, and fled the scene in a white Renault Clio with registration number HRT 558 FS,” he added.

Police were called to the scene and they are now investigating a case of business robbery.

Covane said anyone who might have information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects may contact Captain Thapelo Motseki on 082 466 8405 or call the SAPS Crime Stop number: 08600 10111. Alternatively, information can be sent via MySAPS App. – Staff Reporter

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Duets are sectional title too



A duet unit is by definition a two-unit sectional title scheme. Or at least is supposed to be.

However, I have seen these mini schemes with up to five units. Not sure how they get away with it.

Either way they are still mini sectional title schemes and have to be treated like their big brothers – but they aren’t.

Usually, each owner has their own rates account, own water and electricity account and just does their own thing. But that is where the complications come in.

Some owners have a bond and thus insurance. Some bought cash and forgot.

A body corporate is supposed to have a body corporate policy on all the buildings.

Let’s say that there is a fire in an insured unit but it also results in the building down of an uninsured unit.

And because this is a body corporate and all parties are trustees that are expected to have a body corporate policy, they will be equally negligent.

That means that the owner will have to pay 50 percent — or whatever the Participation Quota (PQ) ratio is — of the uninsured unit owner’s loss.

Would you like to be in that position? I don’t think so.

The same applies to maintenance.

So, if your neighbour thinks that his roof needs to be replaced, you will be liable for that same PQ part of the replacement cost.

The trouble is that nothing will happen while everyone is happy and things are running smoothly, but when there is a major problem, people look for solutions to their financial crisis.

It’s not worth it.

Run your mini scheme properly and contact Community Schemes Ombud Service if your neighbour won’t.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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