02 Jan 2013
The formation of a new sectional title arbitration panel means sectional title homeowners can look forward to a more affordable and convenient process to resolve the disputes that arise in complexes.
With the buy-in of the Chief Registrar in Pretoria, applications for the new panel were reviewed by a task team comprising of leading South African property industry figures. This includes specialist sectional title attorney Marina Constas, a director of BBM Attorneys.
Constas reports the 16 individuals selected for the panel are professionals from the legal, accounting and property industries around South Africa. Having undergone a training program, they are set to take sectional title arbitration and mediation to a new level.
Elaborating on the arbitration process in sectional title disputes, she explains any disputing parties who agree can approach the Association of Arbitrators directly for an appointment. “We shall also be meeting with the Chief Registrar, to enable him to utilise this panel in cases where parties do not agree and have approached his office.”
Constas says in addition, sectional title homeowners are urged to obtain a unanimous resolution to change their management rules to include a clause referring their disputes to the Association of Arbitrators. She says this will bypass the need to go to the Deeds Office.
The new sectional title arbitration panel is expected to eliminate some of the other problems that have cropped up during the resolution of disputes – such as the arbitrators having little knowledge of or experience in dealing with sectional title matters, and overcharging. In addition to completing training to ensure that they are 'property' qualified, the arbitrators on the panel also have guidelines on fees.
Constas says disputes are bound to arise in sectional title complexes as people live in close proximity to each other, but the new sectional title arbitration panel will streamline the process of arbitration and mediation that she believes is the best way to resolve these.
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