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New ombud to rule on SECTIONAL TITLE disputes

New ombud to rule on sectional title disputes
December 5, 2009
By Neesa Moodley-isaacs

A statutory ombud is to be set up to rule on a wide range of disputes that arise in sectional title complexes and similar community schemes. We report on the ombud service and the other significant legislative changes that will affect sectional title schemes.

An overhaul of the legislation that governs sectional title schemes will lead to the introduction of a statutory ombud, who will offer sectional title owners a way to resolve disputes quickly and fairly.

The Community Scheme Ombud Service Bill, which was released for comment recently, also covers homeowners’ associations, share block schemes and retirement homes.

Other recently released draft legislation that affects sectional title schemes includes the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill (see “Amendment Bill aims to clarify grey areas that often cause conflict”) and the Sectional Title Schemes Management Bill.

The Community Scheme Ombud Service Bill, which is expected to be promulgated next year, could see the ombud’s office up and running by early 2011. Chris Vick, a spokesperson for the Department of Human Settlements (formerly the Department of Housing), says the department hopes to introduce the Bill in Parliament by the end of June next year.

The Bill proposes to establish the Community Scheme Ombud Service, which will have one national ombud and adjudicators in nine regional offices. The Bill states that the orders issued by the ombud ser-vice will have the same force as rulings made by a magistrate’s court or a High Court.

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