Advice and Opinion

Co-opting of trustees

Usually at the beginning of the year or at the AGM many people in sectional title schemes are enthusiastic about being elected as a trustee and often accept this position without realising the full extent of the job that they’re required to do, says Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company IHFM.

It then happens that at some point during the year they want to “drop out” and no longer want the responsibility.

“Although this is fully understandable as it can be very time consuming and the trustees are not paid for their work, and most professionals are pressed for time as it is, I would urge those to think twice,” said Bauer.

Usually the size of the building often doesn’t dictate the amount of work – all the things that need to be done tend to be the same from a small scheme to the larger ones, he said.

There is often a lot of time spent on the maintenance of the building, particularly if the building is an older one where there are large special projects coming up. Much time will be spent in preparation for the job as well as managing the project itself.

The Sectional Titles Act stipulates that there must be a minimum of two trustees in a scheme and usually the standard is a maximum of five, but during the year the majority of these might fall away.

The two trustees left will find themselves under a lot of pressure to handle the workload.

If trustees find that they cannot fulfil their roles any longer, they should consider co-option of another trustee, which is to find a substitute for themselves. Prescribed Management Rule 8 makes allowance for this and it a favourable option to having the trustee seat vacant.

PMR 9 also allows for alternate trustees to be appointed if a trustee finds that he is away for an extended period and cannot attend meetings or do what is required of him, he could appoint a relative, for example, said Bauer.

“The advice I usually give to trustees is not to take the drastic step and just resign from the position but rather to make provision for others to take over by co-opting or finding an alternate trustee,” said Bauer.

“Don’t jeopardise the functionality of the body corporate by stepping away and overloading the others in the body corporate,” he said. “If you resigned from a company you would usually give a notice period to allow someone else to take over. The same principle applies, if someone suddenly stops doing their job, there will be a huge gap in the day to day running of the scheme.”

Leave a Comment