Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

Chairpersons in Sectional Title: What You Need to Know

sectional title chairperson

By Jennifer Paddock

In sectional title schemes the chairperson can be mistaken for (or decide to be) “the king of the castle”. But although a committed chairperson may well work harder and take on more responsibility than the rest of the trustees, s/he does not have individual executive powers and may not make decisions relating to the scheme’s management on his/her own. The responsibility to manage the scheme falls onto the trustees as a group.

 
The duties and functions of a chairperson that are exercised alone are only those relating to the proper conduct and chairing of meetings. In this post we look at a few of the legalities surrounding the chairperson’s position as set out in the prescribed management rules (PMRs) made under the regulations to the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.

Election and tenure

At each annual general meeting (AGM) the body corporate is obliged to elect trustees for the ensuing year. At their first meeting after the AGM, the newly elected trustees must elect a chairperson from among their number. The chairperson will hold office until the end of the next AGM.

Voting rights

The chairperson has a deliberative as well as a casting vote. A deliberative vote is the chairperson’s ordinary vote, which is used in his/her capacity as a trustee at a trustee meeting. A casting vote is a vote reserved only for the chairperson in the context of trustee meetings. This vote can only be used by the chairperson to break a deadlock where, after all the trustees have cast their deliberative votes (including the chairperson), the votes are tied. The casting vote cannot be used in a trustee meeting where there are only two trustees present.

Removal

The chairperson can be removed during his/her term of office either by the trustees taking a decision to this effect in a trustee meeting or the body corporate doing so in a general meeting, provided that notice of the intention to vote upon such removal must be disclosed in the notice calling the meeting. Click here to read another post I’ve written dealing with the removal of a chairperson in more detail.

Disqualification

PMR 13 envisages a number of circumstances in which a trustee is automatically disqualified from office. If the chairperson is disqualified as a trustee in terms of this provision, it follows that s/he is also automatically disqualified from the office of chairperson.

Replacement

If the chairperson vacates office, is removed or is disqualified the trustees must elect another chairperson from among their number who will hold office for the remainder of the period and who will have the same voting rights.

Temporary chairperson

If the chairperson vacates the chair during the course of a trustee meeting, is not present or for some reason is unable or unwilling to preside, the trustees present must choose another chairperson for the duration of that meeting. This temporary chairperson will have the same voting rights as the normal chairperson.

If the chairperson is not present within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time of a general meeting, the members present must elect a temporary chairperson for the duration of the meeting.

Entitlement to chair meetings

The chairperson is entitled to preside as chairperson at every general meeting of the body corporate unless the members of the body corporate at that meeting resolve otherwise. For our 12 Steps to successfully chairing body corporate meetings, click here.

Chairperson’s discretion regarding voting method

The default method of voting in sectional title schemes is by a show of hands unless a poll is demanded by any person entitled to vote at the meeting either prior to or on the declaration of the result by the chairperson. However, if a poll is not demanded the chairperson is entitled, in his/her discretion, to change the method of voting to one by poll and not by show of hands.

For a reader’s perspective on the Chairperson’s leadership role, click here.

Finally, if you want to learn a lot more about sectional title meeting law, you can enroll for UCT and Paddocks’ internet-delivered course Sectional Title Meetings or buy Prof. Paddock’s Sectional Title Meetings Handbook.

If you have any comments, please share them with us below.

Image source: pinterest.com

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13 comments on “Chairpersons in Sectional Title: What You Need to Know

  1. janured
    July 12, 2017

    Hi there,
    With the new regulations, How many proxies are a chairperson allowed to have at a SGM or AGM? We have a managing agent that acts as chair at all meetings with owners permission off course. He says a chairperson cannot hold any proxy and allocates proxies to the same people all the time. This is very confusing as some of the trustees have spouses and tenants and have been here for many years and are allowed to hold more than 1 proxy, this enables unfair votes with their allies.
    Appreciate some clarity on this issue.
    Thanks,

    • Paddocks
      August 10, 2017

      Dear Janured,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Alternatively, please read the article “Meetings – quorum and voting“.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

  2. Mandla
    July 9, 2017

    1. Chairperson of Sectional Titles Scheme (STS) sells his unit and vacates the building.
    2. Can this individual continue to act as the STS’s chairperson?
    3. If “yes” what would make this “bizarre” situation valid?

    • Paddocks
      August 10, 2017

      Dear Mandla,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

  3. John Edgar
    October 16, 2015

    Good day, I live in a complex with one extremely difficult and abrasive person.
    She has been the reason for many people leaving.
    I wonder is there a legal route I can follow to force her to sell her property and move.

  4. Ansu Du Preez
    February 18, 2015

    Currently we have a chairperson who is the “bosslady”. She makes decisions on her own and does not consult with the other trustees. She accepts quotes for work over the phone because the price is better.
    At the AGM if there are proxies it goes automatically to the chairperson. This gives him/her the majority say in a voting poll. Can this person then decide to put their own “team” together (from the trustees) thereby removing people who did not go with all their decisions.
    Please don’t ask me to put this question on facebook because I am not on there.

  5. Felice Capriello (Mr)
    October 10, 2014

    Sorry, this is a question, not a reply.
    Is a chairman limited to the amount of times he/she can serve in their capacity?
    We have somebody who has been chairman for the last 5 years and again wants to be chairman.

    • paddocks
      October 10, 2014

      Hi Felice, we answer one question a day (Mon-Fri) for free on our FaceBook page. Please search for Paddocks on FB, like our page and then post your question to our wall. One of our consultants will answer you in the next few days 🙂

  6. Horst Schobesberger
    September 26, 2014

    Excellent article like always ! Practically on the ground you need a trustee who is available most of the time to make smaller immediate decision in support of the caretaker and security personnel, specific in schemes with a large number of flats. This trustee / chairperson will actually be ” in charge ” and as long as he is in line with the other trustees he/she will be able to maintain a safe, secure and orderly environment. The other trustees wiil be quite happy to have such a person. You have to bear in mind that there are residents, visitors and contracters who don’t want to take NO for an answer from a caretaker or security personnel. It’s the small problems and issues which creates problems and disturbs a scheme. So legally you are right but practically there has to be a compromise as long as a chairperson is not getting too big for his boots. Most of the time the problem are not dictatorial chairpersons but to find ” active ” trustees who are willing to get involved. HORST.

    • Anna
      October 14, 2014

      Exactly, Horst. Seems you are the only person who has actual experience of Sectional Title. In practice there is one “sucker” who does all the work. Now and again someone “has a better idea” than the incumbent chairperson, who is happy to let the other person get on with it. However, six months later nothing has happened.

  7. Ian D. Samson (Camelot Windsor)
    September 18, 2014

    There’s no such thing as a “Chairman of the Body Corporate”. A chairperson exists at meetings only; the remainder of the time, that person is a mere trustee just like everyone else. The ST Industry must move away from this corporate-like image of having a chairperson who is “in charge” when there is no such animal.

  8. kukri1946
    September 18, 2014

    Thanks Jennifer – always enjoy your articles

    Les

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