By Auren Freitas dos Santos
On the 23rd of June 2020, the Community Schemes Ombud Service issued a notice providing clarity on body corporate and trustee meetings during level three lockdown. The notice states that no face-to-face meetings with respect to trustee or general meetings are permitted in terms of level 3 Regulations, published in terms of the Disaster Management Act. However, virtual means can be utilised by schemes as permitted in terms of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act and voting may be taken by members in writing with respect to resolutions (also referred to as round robin resolutions).
The notice mentions that where persons are unable to access virtual meetings, as in the case of elderly persons living in retirement schemes, the body corporate may hold in-person meetings, provided that the necessary health and safety precautions, in terms of the lockdown Regulations, are taken to mitigate the health risks associated with face-to-face contact. This includes the sanitisation of all surfaces before and after meetings, temperature checks, the wearing of face masks at all times and the implementation of social distancing.
The Community Schemes Ombud Service also advised in an earlier notice, issued on 21 April 2020, that they will not penalise any community scheme for scheduling an annual general meeting after the lockdown period and that it will not be necessary for schemes to complete an application for condonation for late filing of their annual returns. The Community Schemes Ombud Service added that should an annual general meeting be scheduled after the lockdown period, this should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
We believe that this recommendation is a sensible approach to general and trustee meetings and we strongly urge all community schemes to observe and respect the lockdown regulations when conducting such meetings.