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First quarter Rode’s Report raises doubts over the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act

First quarter Rode’s Report raises doubts over the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act

11-04-2022

The latest issue of the Rode’s Report has brought into question the practicality of the current Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (STSMA). Legislated in its new form in 2016, the Act is felt to be overwhelmingly one-sided and biased towards managers, trustees and compliant owners.

Explains Mike Spencer of Platinum Global (a professional valuer and a contributor to this quarter’s report): “The Act enables trustees to run their own schemes with or without the assistance of managing agents. Even when such agents are appointed, it makes these professionals subservient to invariably unqualified, unprofessional and thus uninformed trustees, who often run their schemes in whatever way they chose.”

Problems also arise in that the Act enables defaulting trustees – either in arrears of their levies or who do not abide by the rules – to be elected as trustees. Spencer adds: “What is the likelihood of these trustees holding themselves accountable? The best scenario would be for the Act to return to its previous legislative form in which any trustee in arrears is automatically disqualified from being a trustee.”

Where electrical and water service charges were then also in arrears, the body corporate was not allowed to disconnect these.

Says Spencer: “To make matters worse, the Community Schemes Ombud Services (CSOS) is clearly not up to the task of ruling on matters such as outstanding levies. These would rather need to be resolved via attorneys if any resolution is to be found.”

Another fault of the new STSMA was that it changed both the quorum required for decision making, as well as the way of voting.

Explains Spencer: “While it may be fairly easy to get an attendance of 33,3% – as currently required by the Act – in a scheme of 10 units, this becomes highly problematic with schemes that can have in excess of 200 owners and more.”

There were also questions around who could be given a proxy to vote on behalf of an owner, as well as limiting the votes an owner could have, irrespective of whether the number of units they owned in a scheme. The only way around this, believes Spencer, is to: “Revert to the previous way of voting, as per one vote per unit, unless any owner insists on a participation-quota vote.”

The current Act also enabled body corporates who held meetings at which the required quorums were not in attendance, to simply hold over the meeting to a second time and place. There would then be no requirements in place to meet the quorum at the second meeting.

“This means that a tiny number of owners would effectively be allowed to make major decisions on behalf of an entire body corporate,” notes Spencer. “It’s time to return to a more equitable, economical and practical system that favours those who bother to participate in the first call for an AGM.”

The latest Rode’s Report also reflects on the current office market, noting that it continues to be the worst placed of all the different property types.

Notes Rode: “Oversupply is enabling tenants to push negotiations to the extreme in their favour, and capitalization rates of office properties, understandably, are then also taking a turn for the worse.”

While no major city was thus able to record rental growth compared to a year ago, the Cape Town office market had at least managed to see rentals rising significantly from the low levels recorded at the end of 2021.

On the other end of the scale, in line with the recovery of manufacturing and retail, industrial property continued to fare relatively well, with nominal rental growth on average across South Africa rising to 4,1% year on year. This in turn meant that cap rates of industrial property had also improved.

Consumer inflation, however, seemed to be taking its toll on the housing market. While this sector had seen nominal prices in the first two months of 2022 growing by 3,8% year on year, it has also seen a 2% fall in real house prices due to the sharp rise in consumer inflation to 5,7%. Rising prime lending rates will eventually depress nominal house prices.

As for the flats market, a positive is that flats are filling slowly, notes Rode. Flat vacancy rates were slightly down from 10,2% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 9,9% in the first quarter of 2022 and have generally improved after hitting a peak of 13,1% in the fourth quarter of 2020. “However, thanks to the pandemic, vacancy rates remain well above the 5,3% average recorded between 2017 and 2019, placing strong pressure on achievable rentals.”

More information:
Kobus Lamprecht – kobus@rode.co.za
021 946 2480

Subscriptions:
Juwayra Januarie – juwayra@rode.co.za
021 946 2480

The STSMA is seriously flawed

Research Articles

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The STSMA is seriously flawed

April 2022

The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (STSMA) replaced the original Sectional Title Act some time ago. It essentially splits the registration of schemes from the management of sectional title schemes.

Read more: The_STSMA_is_seriously_flawed

State of the property market in quarter 1 of 2022

State of the Property Market

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State of the property market in quarter 1 of 2022

The following are significant findings or conclusions made in this issue of Rode’s Report:

• REIT results improve
• Flats filling slowly
• Real house prices continue to decline
• Industrial rentals accelerate
• Cap rates of retail property bounce back
• Office vacancy rates head further north
• Office rentals: a luta continua

Read more: State_of_prop_market_2022_1

Latest Rode’s Retail Report forecasts continued slow retail sales growth in the face of rising inflation and interest rates

Latest Rode’s Retail Report forecasts continued slow retail sales growth in the face of rising inflation and interest rates

31-01-2022

In spite of the challenges of the past two years, the retail property market managed to recover reasonably well in 2021, according to the latest Rode’s Retail Report 2021:4. However, the report also notes that real sales, that is after inflation, during the first eleven months of 2021 still remained slightly below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

Looking ahead, property valuer and economist, Erwin Rode of Rode & Associates also warns against both expected and possibly unexpected headwinds, the former being the rising of both interest rates and inflation.

“Inflation and higher interest rates will continue to dampen real retail sales, in line with the subdued income levels experienced in many consumer households,” says Rode.

Consumer spending will be particularly impacted by the rising cost of essential items such as fuel, food and electricity, which further causes downward pressure on any other disposable household income, where this even exists.

On the positive side, caution exercised by consumers over the past two years is being reflected in higher national savings for households, which have averaged 2,7% of GDP since the start of the pandemic – up from the 1,9% averaged between 2017 and 2019.

In the light of uncertainty about job security and the general economic outlook, consumers have in turn been wary to become more indebted, with the uptake of credit having visibly slowed.

Notes Rode: “While real credit granted to households increased by 1,8% year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2021 – picking up from the 0,8% growth recorded in 2020 – it was still well below the recorded growth of 3,8% in 2019.”

There has also been normalisation in the shopping patterns of consumers, with the ‘stay-at-home’ categories (such as hardware, household furniture and appliances) having shone during the first months of the pandemic, but with trends now starting to slowly revert to pre-pandemic spending.

Turning to retail space, “it is a fact that South Africa still has too much space to fill,” concludes Rode. “A slight positive for this sector is that new supply is expected to remain low.”

More information:
Kobus Lamprecht – kobus@rode.co.za
021 946 2480

Subscriptions:
Juwayra Januarie – juwayra@rode.co.za
021 946 2480

State of the property market in quarter 4 of 2021

State of the Property Market

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State of the property market in quarter 4 of 2021

The following are significant findings or conclusions made in this issue of Rode’s Report:

• The industrial market recovery is gathering momentum
• House prices losing steam
• Office-building market remains in the doldrums
• Flat rentals remain under pressure amid persistent oversupply
• Building activity still below pre-pandemic levels

Read more: State_of_prop_market_2021_4