Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

What power or authority do trustees hold in sectional title schemes?

power trustees sectional title, trustee power, trustees, board of trustees, duties of trustees, community schemes

By Dr Carryn Melissa Durham

I often answer questions on what trustees are empowered to do in exercising their functions in sectional title schemes. The powers of the trustees are clearly set out in the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 (“the ST Act”);  the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011 (“the STSM Act”) and the Prescribed Management Rules (“PMRs”) contained in the Regulations made thereunder. Something that is not clear though is whether that power needs to be supplemented by some other additional authority before the trustees can exercise the power.

9 powers that trustees have in sectional title schemes

Section 4 of the STSM Act gives the trustees the power to:

  1. Appoint agents and employees for the body corporate.
  2. Purchase, acquire, take transfer of, mortgage, sell, give transfer of or hire or let units.
  3. Purchase, hire or otherwise acquire movable property.
  4. Establish and maintain suitable lawns, gardens and recreation facilities on the common property.
  5. Borrow moneys.
  6. Secure the repayment of moneys borrowed and the payment of interest thereon;
  7. Invest any moneys in the reserve fund.
  8. Enter into an agreement with any owner or occupier for the provision of amenities or services by the body corporate, including the right to let a portion of the common property to any owner or occupier by means of a short-term lease.
  9. Do all things reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the rules and for the management and administration of the common property.

9 additional powers of the trustees in sectional title

Section 5 of the STSM Act gives the trustees the power to:

  1. Alienate common property or any part thereof, or let the common property or any part thereof under a lease.
  2. Alienate or cede a right of extension of the scheme by the addition of sections;
  3. enter into a notarial agreement to extend the period stipulated in the future development right of the scheme.
  4. Purchase land to extend the common property.
  5. Request the delineation and cession of registered exclusive use rights to particular owners.
  6. Enter into a notarial deed of cancellation of a registered exclusive use right.
  7. Execute on behalf of the owners a servitude or a restrictive agreement burdening the land shown on the relevant sectional plan and may accept on their behalf a servitude or restrictive agreement benefiting such land.
  8. Approve the extension of boundaries or floor area of a section.
  9. May generally exercise any power and perform any function conferred or imposed on the body corporate in terms of the STSM Act or the ST Act.

Almost all of these powers are subject to some condition and additional required authority from the body corporate, such as:

  • The trustees can only purchase a unit when it is essential for the proper fulfilment of its duties and upon special resolution of the body corporate.
  • The trustees can only borrow money or let a portion of the common property by means of a short-term lease; cancel a registered exclusive use right; register a servitude or enter into a restrictive agreement; or approve the extension of a section if the body corporate passes a special resolution.
  • The trustees can only enter into a notarial agreement to extend the future development right or request the delineation and cession of exclusive use rights to particular owners if the body corporate pass a unanimous resolution thereto.
  • The trustees can only alienate or let common property on the strength of unanimous resolution of the body corporate, and on direction by the owners and with the written consent of any holder of a future development right.
  • The trustees can only alienate or cede a right of extension of the scheme with the written consent of all the owners and the mortgagee of each unit in the scheme.
  • The trustees may only purchase land if duly authorised in writing by all the owners.

An additional power that the trustees have, contained in section 7(2) of the STSM Act, is that the trustees of the body corporate must consider applications for subdivision of sections or consolidation of sections, made by the owners of sections and such consent must not be unreasonably withheld by the trustees.

Restrictions to trustee power

It is also important to note that all the functions and powers of the trustees are subject to any restriction imposed or direction given at a general meeting of the owners in terms of section 7(1) of the STSM Act and PMR 9(b). For example, the trustee might have the power to purchase movable property such as a gym equipment, but there may be a restriction on the amount of money that can be spent by the trustees, or a direction to rather purchase a generator.

The trustees ability to exercise any powers will also always be subject to the approved budget of the body corporate. PMR 9(c) requires that the trustees must apply the body corporate’s funds in accordance with budgets approved by members in the general meeting. For example, the trustees will not be able to appoint a managing agent or caretaker for the scheme unless provision is made for this expense in the budget.

Furthermore, none of the powers can be exercised by any single trustee as every decision to exercise a power must be determined by a majority of the trustees. Finally, no document signed on behalf of the body corporate is valid and binding unless it is signed on the authority of a trustee resolution by two trustees or one trustee and the managing agent. For example, a loan from the bank will not be binding on the body corporate, unless it is supported by a trustee resolution supported by the majority of trustees, and that the loan agreement is signed by two trustees.

If you need advice or need Paddocks to draft the necessary resolution to authorise the exercise of a power, please contact me at for a no obligations quote.

Need help with your community scheme? Ask Paddocks!

Paddocks is a specialist community scheme law and training firm, headed by sectional title and HOA expert Professor Graham Paddock. Our aim is to professionalise the industry and empower those involved in community schemes. We offer consulting and trusted advice on community scheme matters, exclusive membership to Paddocks Club where you can ask any number of questions for our experts to answer and a range of UCT online short courses and workshops, educational books, e-books and more. To find more information on our services, visit our website:

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash


8 comments on “What power or authority do trustees hold in sectional title schemes?

  1. Janet Lazarus
    December 15, 2020

    is it legal for a ‘trustee’ to decide on his own, to move all the legal affairs of a sectional title complex to his own private legal practice?
    He is a unit owner ( of one month’s standing) who has agreed to serve as a trustee until our AGM. He has not been nominated to the board of trustees.

    • Paddocks
      January 5, 2021

      Hi Janet, this would be something that our legal team would need to advise on. Please email the details of the matter to and the team will revert with a no-obligation quote for thier assistance with your matter.

  2. LoreDana Merlo
    October 31, 2020

    Good day, could you please advise ,what can be done, by the BC …when the chairman of the Trustees completely ignores and dismisses any email/whatts app sent to him, by a BC member. Pertinent, questions like,,, how much the caretaker earns…. The reserve spend placed on the Trustees ( R100.000) Is it for a 1once off spend/ per project…in trances…. The present Trustees, are arrogant, dismissive, and do whatever they please, without following the STA. or even our conduct /management rules…
    Many thanks
    Lori Merlo

    • Paddocks
      November 3, 2020

      Hi Lori, thank you for your comment.

      Please send more details of the matter to, and the team will provide a quote for their assistance with your matter.

      Kind regards

  3. Quinton Lotz
    October 11, 2020

    The chairman in my scheme has approved that some owners can pay reduced levies. In fact the chairman received levies into one of his accounts at one stage. Is this a criminal act and can a charge be laid? The insurance on the building has also been cancelled by the insurer – reason – building not insurable due to not being maintained. My question, the Trustees has breached their powers and did not act in line with their fiduciary duties. There are other issues too, but too many too list here. Can the Trustees be held personally liable?

    • Paddocks
      October 12, 2020

      Hi Quinton,

      Thank you for your comment. This is something that our legal team would need to advise on. Please send a detailed brief to and the team will provide a no-obligation quote for their assistance.

      The Paddocks Team

  4. Anne-marie Immelman
    July 22, 2020

    Good Afternoon

    I am the Chairperson of the STS I stay in. We have a problematic resident who has not paid a fine that was imposed upon her. We now need to approach the Smaill Claims Court. I am however a Regional Magistrate of profession and therefor legally qualified.
    Who will have to appear in the SCC on behalf of the Body Corporate?

    Kind regards
    ANNE-MARIE IMMELMAN /083 280 2975

    • Paddocks
      August 5, 2020

      Hi Anne-marie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with us. This would be something that our legal team would need to assist with. Kindly send the name of the scheme and a brief description of the matter to and the team will assist with a no-obligation quote for their assistance with your matter.

      Kind regards
      Paddocks Team

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2018 by in Legal, Trustees, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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