Dispute resolution process – CSOS

The process to follow when applying for relief from the CSOS

The Community Schemes Ombud Service (“CSOS”) was introduced to provide for a dispute resolution mechanism in community schemes. In this article, we will take a look at the process you will need to follow should you make an application to the CSOS for dispute resolution within your community scheme.

community scheme executive

In terms of section 38(1) of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act 9 of 2011 (“the CSOSA”), any person materially affected by a dispute arising in a community scheme may make an application to the CSOS for dispute resolution, either through entering into a settlement agreement at conciliation, or by an Adjudicator’s order.

There is a prescribed application form that must be completed by an applicant for submission to the CSOS. The form can be found on the website of CSOS, including an explanation of the process of dispute resolution. The application form can also be found on Paddocks’ Guide to CSOS Applications for Dispute Resolutions (http://csosguide.paddocks.co.za) website, along with a comprehensive explanation of the different orders the CSOS can grant.

The form includes 13 categories of information which is required. Firstly, the name and address of each person that the applicant considers to be affected materially by the application is required. This relates to both the applicant and the respondent, as well as any other materially affected person. The requirement for these details means that an applicant cannot be anonymous or be part of group, which does not identify its members.

The application or dispute resolution must further set out the grounds of which the applicant seeks relief. These grounds are the facts that the applicant believes are important and relevant to the dispute due to be resolved by the CSOS.

All attempts at resolving the dispute internally must be detailed, as the CSOS requires confirmation that the internal remedies available to the parties to a dispute have been exhausted.

The applicant must set out the details of the relief sought. This means that the applicant must set out which order they require in terms of the list of orders available, as set out in section 39 of the CSOSA, as well as the action they would like the respondent to take, or cease from taking.

The application may include any relevant supporting documentation, which will add to, explain or clarify the application, such as the scheme’s governance documentation, plans and correspondence. The relevant supporting documentation will depend on the nature of the dispute, and the availability of the documentation required.

If the applicant qualifies for a discount or waiver of the CSOS fees, the request for same must be set out in the application. In this regard, any person or category of persons whose monthly net household income is below R5,500.00 are entitled to a 100% waiver of application and adjudication fees.

Once comprehensively and properly completed, the applicant must declare that the information contained in the application form is true and correct, and may be disclosed in order to resolve the dispute.

Once completed, the form must be lodged with the CSOS by physical or electronic delivery, accompanied by the prescribed fee, which is currently R50.00. Once the application has been submitted to the CSOS, the CSOS is responsible to notify the respondent and any person listed as being materially affected.

Written by Zerlinda van der Merwe
An admitted Attorney of the High Court, specialist Sectional Title Attorney (BA, LLB, LLM), Zerlinda brings a wealth of experience and forms part of the Paddocks Private Consulting Division.
Should you require legal advice in this regard, contact the writer, Zerlinda van der Merwe at Paddocks on 021 686 3950 or at consulting@paddocks.co.za.

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