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Time and again in our work we receive questions with regards to Community Schemes and the Schemes Ombud (CSOS).
In this brief article, we will address a few of the pertinent questions that we receive from some of our clients and members of the public at large.
In the event where more than one adjudication forum has concurrent jurisdiction, the Plaintiff is of course at liberty to proceed with the forum of their choice.
For example, where there is a dispute with regards to a contract, the Court under whose jurisdiction such contract was concluded and the Court under whose jurisdiction the Defendant is domiciled, both retain jurisdiction. Under these circumstances the Plaintiff will proceed with either of the two Courts.
The Community Scheme Ombud Service (CSOS) is a creature of statute being the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act 9 of 2011 (the Act), which came into force in October 2016.
The CSOS registers and superintends over governance of community schemes which are defined in the Act as Share Block Companies, Homeowners Associations, Housing Schemes for Retired Persons, Housing Cooperatives and Sectional Titles Development Schemes.
At the centre of most disputes in community living schemes is the issue about the interpretation of and nature of the Conduct Rules. These rules can be by the Body Corporate or the Home Owners Association. Part of the responsibilities and/or jurisdiction of the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) include the vetting of Conduct Rules in as far as there is an obligation for these to be subservient to tenets of fairness, legality, and reasonableness.
Disputes in community living schemes were previously adjudicated upon by the Courts in South Africa. Among the eminent challenges with this was the fact that the motion procedure in the Courts system is usually an expensive and long one.
The Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) is a creature of the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act (9 of 2011) which was promulgated to deal with disputes in community living schemes amongst its other responsibilities as a body.
Before the coming into force of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (8 of 2011) and the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act (9 of 2011), disputes involving owners and Body Corporates were adjudicated upon by the Courts.
There is often conflict when there is shared responsibility for land and building and, the CSOS aims to manage operations and provide efficient and cost-effective methods for dispute resolution within community schemes.
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