The latest addition to Trafalgar’s range of free e-learning courses is for sectional title building managers and caretakers.
“This means that the homes and property investments of many thousands of South Africans are in the hands of the sectional title trustees and HOA directors who are responsible for managing budgets, levies and insurance matters as well as the daily security, cleaning and maintenance issues that arise in community schemes, and on top of that are expected to ensure a harmonious living environment through the effective application of management and conduct rules.”
However, the majority of trustees and directors are property “amateurs” who often just get elected at an Annual General Meeting because they are the community-minded individuals who are willing to work – without compensation – for the benefit of their scheme, he says. “They generally have very little previous exposure to any of the role expectations, applicable legal frameworks and practicalities of being a trustee or director – and often receive more criticism than encouragement in return for volunteering a great deal of their personal time.
“And the same can be said of most caretakers and building managers, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations as decided by the trustees or directors, but are often also the first point of contact for residents and owners with queries and complaints.”
Schaefer says this is clearly a risky situation, which is why Trafalgar has made it a priority to provide free e-learning opportunities for trustees, directors and caretakers to obtain the information and knowledge they need to fulfil their roles confidently, effectively and in compliance with all current legal and governance requirements.
Raising the level of professionalism
“Our first course launched last year was Sectional Title for Trustees, and more than 1,100 trustees have already enrolled for this course, which we believe will do much to raise the level of professionalism in our sector while also addressing the legal requirement for trustees to educate themselves about what is required of them.*
“We have since also developed an online training course for HOA directors and a basic course for sectional title owners, as well as the new course for sectional title building managers and caretakers, all of which can be accessed here.”
A course for HOA estate managers is currently in development, he says, and for the past few months Trafalgar has also been running a series of public webinars on various community housing scheme issues. These can be accessed here or on YouTube.
*Regulation 14 of the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act stipulates that the executives of community schemes (trustees and directors) must take reasonable steps to educate themselves about their schemes, their affairs and activities and the legislation and governance documentation in terms of which the scheme operates.