If you are an owner in a sectional title complex, the main reason you should attend the AGM is to give an impression of control of the financial situation and gain better knowledge of the complex’s operations.
By attending AGM meetings you get an idea of the way the building is run and the decisions that need to be made as well as participate.
This is according to Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company, IHFM.
Trustees must have a budget meeting before the AGM takes place and the new levies should be implemented at the beginning of the new financial year, according to Prescribed Management Rule 36 (2).
Levy budgets used to be discussed at the AGM but this system was ineffective as decisions on the financial situation of the complex were delayed by months while waiting for the AGM to take place. The only requirement now is that, once the levy budget has been agreed on for the year by the trustees and a letter has been sent out to all the owners, that the increase be ratified at the AGM, says Bauer.
He says owners in any sectional title scheme need to realise that if they don't attend the AGM of their scheme, they can't complain if they don't agree with decisions that have been made. It is important to check that all the trustees are doing their job properly as one cannot always assume that things are done when they should be.
“This is, after all, a business, one in which millions of rands are sometimes managed in asset value and it must be treated with the same seriousness you would treat a business of that scale," Bauer says.
Attending the AGM is important because it givesthe owner an idea of the personalities of the group involved in managing the body corporate, he says. By attending the meeting you get an idea of the way the building is run and the decisions that need to be made as well as participate. He says the group dynamics (whether there is a minority lobbying for their own interests) will be shown up at meetings and you, as an owner, can go against those decisions you don't feel are in the interests of the scheme.
“Lastly, the income of the scheme will be discussed at the AGM and it is important that the owners know and vote on what will happen with funds over the next financial year, i.e. whether any large projects will be tackled." Bauer says if you are not present, you can't say after the fact thatyou didn’t want a new gate or the exterior walls painted, etc.
Attendance is important to all, as this gives everyone an opportunity to read through the minutes and reports of thescheme and ask questions or get explanations from the parties involved, he says.
“Again, one cannot complain if you are not going to take a vested interest in the scheme in which you live and you cannot hand the responsibility over to the management of the scheme completely.”