Tyrant trustees can be your best allies

Posted On Monday, 24 October 2005 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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They insist on having their way. They’re rude, everywhere at once, and a major irritation to occupants of sectional title buildings in South Africa.

These are the trustee tyrants who make some of history’s better known dictators seem like puppy dogs.

But contrary to popular belief, tyrant trustees can be your best allies says Neville Schaefer, CEO ofNeville Schaefer, Trafalgar.

“Many owners and tenants are scared off by strict and dictatorial bodies corporate who are usually very unpopular,” says Schaefer. “But these buildings are generally the best run and should in fact be seen as a positive factor when choosing whether to live in a sectional title complex or not.”

While trustees and managing agents are the “servants” of the body corporate, they also have a sergeant major role to play, he explains.

“A tyrant may be unpleasant. But he is generally very efficient, reliable and action or job-orientated as opposed to people-orientated. This means that things will get done and be kept in good running order”.

Sectional title property, particularly, seem to attract tyrants, “partly because people are most energetic when protecting their property.”

But there is a danger. Unchecked, an authoritarian figure can start looking after his or her own interests first. “This needs to watched fairly carefully. Bending the rules for his or her own purposes results in double standards and can become quite dangerous for inhabitants of a complex.”

In this instance, Schaefer advises that a building has two main options. Firstly, a general meeting should be called and if 25% of the inhabitants rule for the removal of the trustee or chairman, this may be effected. However, he warns that this is often quite difficult to get, as the dominant tyrant personality often ends up with proxies (voting on behalf of others) and can influence the outcome.

The next step should then be the legal route. An ombudsman would play a role to establish if in fact the tyrant is acting out of self or common interest.

Very often it is proved that the action is for the common good, and if this is the case, inhabitants should be grateful despite the fact that the method of managing can be irritating.

But the irritation is a small price to pay to have a building run properly, concludes Schaefer.


Last modified on Sunday, 25 May 2014 17:51

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