By Anton Kelly
 
Anton KellyIt frequently happens that a member in a sectional title scheme or a home owners’ association (HOA) asks either the managing agent or the trustees or directors (executives) for the contact details for all the other members.

The managing agent or executive often suspects that the reason for such a request is that the owner wants to lobby support for a resolution of members, for a complaint about the running of the development or to make some challenge to the authority of the executive body. Consequently, the request is unpopular and often refused, or the information is delayed or only partly provided.
The good news for owners making such a request is that both the prescribed rules under the Sectional Titles Act and the Companies Act – which applies to HOAs constituted as non-profit companies – provide that this information must be made available.

The Sectional Titles Act requires owners to keep the body corporate informed of changes of ownership of the section and the prescribed rules provide that the trustees keep a register of owners showing their service addresses and that other owners must be allowed to inspect this register.

The Companies Act is even more specific and detailed in this regard. Non-profit companies – including all those that were formed under section 21 of the previous Companies Act – must keep a register of members and members must be allowed to inspect the register at no cost and to copy it at no more than a maximum prescribed cost. The records must be made available within a certain period after the request and if the company prevents or delays the inspection or copying, it commits a criminal offence. Home Owners Association Management course

This does not mean that all the information regarding owners must be freely given. It is the right of co-owners and members of an association to be able to contact the other owners or members. A postal address is sufficient for this purpose; after all, those members are also entitled to their privacy. The scheme is not obliged to provide an enquiring member with all of the members’ contact details, such as email addresses or home, business and cellphone numbers that they may have made available for their own convenience.

There are interesting parallels in the provisions of the legislation for sectional title schemes and non-profit companies in this context. In a sectional title scheme, only owners, bond holders and the scheme’s managing agent are entitled to see the body corporate’s records; there is no provision for unauthorised outsiders to enjoy this access to scheme information. Any member of the public may inspect and copy the registers of members and directors of a non-profit company, but not other records, such as accounting records, financial statements and minutes of meetings. Both sectional title schemes and non-profit HOA companies are thus protected from outsiders wishing to exploit their sensitive, private information.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 6, Issue 11, Page 1

Anton Kelly is one of the course conveners of the Home Owners’ Association Management course. Next course starts, 13 February 2012. For more information please contact Emma on 021 447 4130 or emma@paddocks.co.za.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license