Advice and Opinion

STSMA: Understanding which rules apply

Many trustees and members of bodies corporate, in reading through changes they have to now make according to the new Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA), have been confused as to which prescribed rules apply in their schemes, whether the new rules apply to existing schemes or whether they supersede the old.

Some have thought that the new rules are only applicable to new schemes established after the 7th October 2016 (which is when the new Sectional Title Schemes Management Act came into effect). And some have thought that their old rules stand – with no changes.

The STSMA states that, “Any rules made under the Sectional Titles Act are deemed to have been made under this Act.”

And section 21 says:

“Rules prescribed under the Sectional Titles Act must continue to apply to new and existing schemes until the Minister has made regulations prescribing management rules and conduct rules referred to in section 10(2) of this Act.”

“The way it has been put could be confusing to some”, says Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM, “but on reading through all the documentation the simple explanation is that the new rules apply to all schemes, and replace all standard rules used under the old Act”.

The exception is where there are customized rules that have been written specifically for a scheme. If these customized rules do not conflict with the new rules, then the customized versions are applicable.

Trustees of sectional title schemes must, therefore, create and maintain a properly integrated and consolidated set of rules. These must then be submitted to the Community Schemes Ombud Service for examination and approval, and subsequent registration.

“As there will be many rules submissions to the CSOS over the coming months, we strongly advise that this be tackled immediately so as to avoid lengthy delays in getting the approved documents back,” said Bauer.