If you own a property affected by an owners' corporation, you automatically become a member, whether the property in question is for business or residential purposes. As a member of the owners' corporation, you have several entitlements as well as obligations.
Role of the owners' corporation
The reason why owners' corporations are important is that the property has facilities that benefit all members and they need to be managed. This is usually evident in lifts, stairways, and pathways in an apartment building. Every resident uses these facilities and the responsibility of maintaining them cannot be left to one person. Other things of concern include insurance of the building and other concerns that of the residence. Other things handled by the owners' corporation include;
Fees—For these reasons, the owners' corporation will usually put in place the fees that each member should pay to facilitate the running of the property.
Rules—Apart from setting the fees, as a member, you will also contribute to the creation of rules. Rules set by the owners' corporation are usually binding if they meet the acceptable legal threshold.
However, it is always good to have a lawyer who has experience with real estate law when drafting these rules because some rules that are made can be found unenforceable or illegal by the law.
Dispute resolution—The owners' corporation is also mandated to set up a dispute resolution mechanism. This helps the members live in harmony as a community.
Managing the facility
Since some of your responsibilities as the owners' corporation need a full-time staff, you may appoint a facilities manager to oversee the following;
- Small issues and concerns like noise and plumbing problems. The facilities manager will be contactable by the residents to enforce the wishes of the owners.
- Maintain and clean the common areas and other small day to day concerns that arise in the property.
- Oversee and facilitate repairs where they are needed.
- Collect the fees and keep the financial records, they also send fee notices to members who fail to pay on time. These financial reports can be availed to the members periodically.
The owners' corporation could include other duties as they see fit. For the property to be well managed the owners corporation has to meet from time to time. As a member of an owners' corporation, there are times where you might forfeit your rights to participate in decision-making. This usually applies if you have not paid your fees. Late payment of fees can also attract interest, but only if the members have decided so in a meeting.