Message from Jeff Gilmour and ARC11th Feb 2019
The Association of Residential Communities (ARC) is very proud to be able to continue adding value to all member communities – and, in fact, to all communities, large and small, whether current ARC members or not.
During 2015 and early 2016 much has been reported on the rights of a homeowners’ association (HOA) to determine rules for its community, rights given to us by our Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) or constitution. Members often question whether we have such rights, and whether a given rule is fair. Certain rules attract more debate than others, for instance when it is suggested that an HOA is acting outside its mandate by enforcing rules that form part of other pieces of legislation such as the National Road Traffic Act. More often than not, when a breach is reported and a penalty imposed the matter is concluded effectively, but in some cases members are prepared to seek legal intervention and go to court on a matter.
Rules are there to regulate conduct between neighbours and must not necessarily be restrictive but rather take into account the cumulative rights of all residents to use and enjoy their estate. So while a member may feel aggrieved by the imposition of a rule, it is important to remember that:
1. All rules are laid down to serve the best interests of the community and not designed to punish any particular member; and
2. Rules are laid down in terms of the MOI and form part of the contractual arrangement between the HOA and all members. Membership of the HOA is compulsory and included in the title deeds of the property.
Much work has also been spent on the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act and the newly established Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS). By the time you read this journal, the regulations may well have been signed and the levy imposed on all community schemes.
ARC and the members that we have consulted with are not opposed to the notion of dispute resolution. However, we are opposed to any legislation that removes the rights of an HOA to self-govern, and we are opposed to being confronted with a forced levy where the current governing documents of the HOA already include dispute resolution processes. The Act will create a new landscape on governance, and all communities are urged to ensure that their internal dispute resolution processes are sound.
ARC has formed many new and exciting partnerships with experts in the industry. The issue of water management, especially relating to the quality of water, the storage of emergency water and water saving, is top of mind in our communities.
Initiatives including new camera technology, health and safety, director and officer liability, and the use of common areas are being launched and will be introduced at all chapter meetings.
ARC is also privileged to have visited and spoken at the Community Associations Institute (CAI) USA national conference and the CNAF2016 Conference of Property Managers in Seville, attended by over 1 200 community management professionals.
ARC is very grateful to all our business partners for their support to all member communities.