POPI Act and sectional title complexes

POPI Act and sectional title complexes

MAIN IMAGE: Marina Constas, director BBM Law.

After languishing in the background for a few years, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act) is now in effect and has significant implications for owners, tenants and executives in community housing schemes like sectional title complexes, apartment blocks, residential estates and retirement villages, says specialist sectional title attorney and BBM Law director Marina Constas.

“It seems that in the last few years, sectional title owners have been hit left, right and centre with new legislation and directives. Trustees have been promoted to ‘scheme executives’ in the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act and are now held to a higher standard in terms of their fiduciary duties. The latest piece of legislation to burst onto the scene after a long delay is the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act). Now that it is here, the wisest course of action for trustees is to get up to speed with what it says,” she stresses.

Constas explains that Section 1, Part A of Chapter 5, Section 11 of the POPI Act commenced on 11 April 2014.  “The commencement date of the other sections was 1 July 2020 with the exception of two sections. The Act is designed to promote the protection of personal information and to bring South Africa’s privacy laws in line with international standards. It limits the rights of businesses to collect, process, store and share personal information.  It also makes businesses accountable for protecting the privacy of this information.

“Trustees must now be able to respond when owners want to know what they are doing with their personal information. Trustees must consider how they will warn residents that their personal information may be made available to those inspecting the books of account and record. They must be able to account when it comes to visitors who provide their personal information to the guards at the gate.”

Constas recommends that every body corporate should have a clearly expressed and up to date policy about its management of personal information. The policy should include details of the type of personal information that the complex collects and holds, as well as how the complex collects and stores personal information. “The purposes for which the complex collects, uses and discloses personal information must also be detailed, along with information on how an individual may access personal information. The policy document must also outline how an individual can complain to the Information Regulator and how the complex will deal with that type of complaint,” she advises.

“This list of recommendations is not exhaustive. I would strongly suggest that, with the enactment of POPI, all sectional title complexes and community housing schemes obtain professional advice and assistance to review and update their privacy policies and privacy statements,” she concludes.



Marina Constas is a specialist sectional title attorney and a director at BBM Law, which has branches in Houghton, Bedfordview, Pretoria, Umhlanga Rocks and Cape Town. Marina is the co-author of the best-selling book, “Demystifying Sectional Title”, which is the definitive guide for anyone living, buying or leasing property in a sectional title complex, or anyone who deals with sectional title in any manner.

Showing 9 comments
  • Retha

    Really excellent info! What about personal contact details of owners to agents or marketing companies?

  • Marina Constas

    Hi Retha, that’s a definite no ,no! The Trustees would be breaching their duties by handing over this information without consent.

  • Carol

    HI Marina, is there an example of a document / policy that must be drawn up which we can keep on file?

    • Dr HJ du Plessis

      Dear Marina
      I am also interested to find an example of a document / policy that must be drawn up by a BC in compliance with the POPI Act.

  • Marina

    Hi Marina

    Where can we get a copy of your youtube presentation?

  • Berny

    Hi Marina.

    Is a body corporate member allowed to send my ID copy, that is meant for Coj queries, to all the body corporate members or should this only be sent to the person who has proxy to represent us at Coj and then there after the document be kept safe from others? I am one of the body corporate but I feel uneasy with my ID copy on everyone’s email.

  • Carolyn

    Hi Marina, is the chairman of a Body Corporate entitled to request a copy of a tenant’s lease agreement as was done in the past?

  • Naomi Fourie

    Hi Marina
    Today is supposedly very important in the implementation of POPI for sectional title complexes. Trustees mostly depend on the management companies for the administrative actions of the complex. The trustees don’t deal with the personal information but the management company do. Why is the responsibility of POPIA not on the management company but on the trustees of the complexes?
    Thank you!

  • Susan Jansen van Rensburg

    Hi, how does this affect a sectional title complex where some people want security cameras to be installed

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