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n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Geskilbeslegting by die toepassing van bestuursreëls van deeltitelskemas
Dispute resolution in the application of management rules of sectional title schemes
In practice the management of sectional title schemes gives rise to a number of problems. The purpose of this article is to investigate the need for a sectional title ombud's office as a method of alternative dispute resolution in the South African legal system. The reason for the introduction of a sectional title ombud's office is the failure of the existing provisions for arbitration in the management rules to provide a viable alternative to litigation. In terms of the wording of the relevant rule any dispute between the body corporate and an owner or between owners must be referred to arbitration unless an interdict or any form of urgent or other relief is required or obtained from a court. Thus any party willing to bear the cost of litigation may effectively ignore the rule and proceed with litigation.
At the end of 2004 the department of land affairs appointed a legal team to draft new legislation to provide appropriate dispute resolution structures for sectional title consumers. The proposed solution is a sectional title ombud's office, which will be less costly and more effective in resolving disputes than court orders and arbitration. In the financial sector various ombud's offices have been implemented in recent years, all of which have proven to be successful. If the sectional title ombud's office follows suit, it will prove to be a feasible solution to the underlying problem.
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