Sectional owners frequently complain that trustees spend scheme money on expenses that are not covered by the body corporate’s approved budgets, sometimes on unnecessary expenses, or that they spend more than the budgeted amounts. What can owners do when this happens?

The law requires that trustees must spend the body corporate’s money in accordance with budgets approved by owners. But assuming they do that, they have a wide discretion to exercise their powers as they see fit. An owner who is unhappy that the trustees are exercising  their executive powers properly, can of course nominate themselves, or someone they think will be more responsible, for election as a trustee at the next annual general. And if the annual general meeting is not due soon, they can try to get other owners to agree to remove the current trustees. But apart from getting different trustees elected, a non-trustee’s primary recourse is:

  1. to complain to the trustees and to other owners, preferably in writing;
  2. to lobby other owners to impose restrictions on the trustees or give them directions as to how they must behave.

At any general meeting and by majority vote, sectional owners can give the trustees binding directions and restrict their powers. A common example of a restriction, is that the trustees may not spend more than a set amount without first telling all owners that they intend to do so, giving the owners an opportunity to give them input or ask for a meeting to discuss the issue. Another, is a direction that the minutes of the trustee meetings must be distributed to all owners, so that they can see what decisions are being made on their behalves.

Start by talking to other owners to see if they share your concerns about the trustees’ behaviour. If they do, consider imposing suitable restrictions and giving sensible directions so that the trustees know what owners expect of them and when they need to communicate and ask for authority.

Should your community scheme require any advice on a matter such as this, please don’t hesitate to contact our consulting department at for a no-obligation quote to provide the necessary legal assistance.

Graham Paddock is South Africa’s Sectional Title Guru.  Graham advises and drafts legislation for the Government. His advice is valued by all stakeholder groups in the industry.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: September 2019.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Back to Paddocks Press – September 2019 edition.


  • Your article does not mention how to remove a trustee if owners are old and do not understand the implications of the misuse of funds. Are there other avenues that can be used to remove a trustee without having to go through an SGM? At what point can a trustee be removed legally without a vote of the Body corporate.

    • Paddocks
      04/10/2019 09:39

      Hi Diane,

      Thank you for your comment.

      We would love to help, however we do not give free advice.We do offer private consulting. You’re welcome to send us an email at and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote.

      Kind regards,

  • Can you help me
    23/10/2019 10:59

    Who is responsible when I window (glass door) had a crack in, this happen when the gardener lawn the grass, and I was at work. Must I replace the glass (door and window) – this happen during my working hours, come home on a Thursday afternoon, notice the door had a crack on, they send me a notice to replace it within 3 working days.

  • leoni.esplin
    26/03/2021 08:56

    What can owners do when two of the trustees have taken total control of everything, to the exclusion of all owners. They have also got the bookkeepers to cut all owners off from any information, financial or otherwise. The bookkeepers and two trustees keep threatening with lawyers etc when owners ask about urgent repairs to the roof and about financial information. The bookkeepers and two trustees are now chasing owners away from meetings and from the bookkeepers offices. The bookkeepers have now stated they are cutting our books off and refuse to work. The owners have been asking questions as there are discrepancies in the books, meetings called with no agendas and short notice despite objections, owners queries and letters being ignored, owners being ignored at meetings, and urgent repairs need to be done to the roof as it is causing serious damage in 4 of the flats. Can the owners demand that the books immediately get moved to a proper managing agent, that an audit gets done immediately, and a new AGM gets called within 7 days? Do the owners have to wait for the next agm before they change managing agents or demand an audit? They are concerned about what is happening at the bookkeepers offices.

    • Paddocks
      31/03/2021 09:56

      Hi Leoni,

      Thank you for your comment. Please note that our legal team would need to assist you with this matter. Please send the details of the matter to, and the team will provide a no-obligation quotation for their assistance with your matter.

      Kind regards
      Paddocks Team