The vast majority of complaints I get about the management of sectional title schemes, are from owners who claim that their scheme’s managing agent and/or trustees are in some way failing in their duties. It is interesting how we are able to recognise the failures of others, while often being blind to our own responsibilities. Most owners are blissfully unaware of most of their legal duties as members of a body corporate. They are well aware of the duty to pay contributions (commonly referred to as “levies”), but appear to be less aware of others. So let’s take a closer look at some of the duties owners are obliged to fulfill, in terms of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act.
Owners have to:
- Notify the body corporate every time they lease their unit to a new tenant
- Notify the body corporate if they have sold their unit; if they are registering a new bond over their unit, or moving their bond over to another bank.
- Pay for any assessments required to be done in respect of their sections.
- Pay any charges and expenses attributable to their sections.
- Keep the common property over which they enjoy exclusive use rights neat and clean.
- Use the common property (such as the communal swimming pool or parking area) without unreasonably interfering with others’ use thereof.
- Make sure their guests do not use their sections or exclusive use areas in any way that may cause a nuisance to neighbours and yes, this means owners are also responsible for their guests’ behaviour.
- Not use or allow others to use their sections or exclusive use areas for any purpose other than that shown on or implied by the scheme’s registered sectional plan, unless the written consent of all owners is first obtained.
- Grant anyone who is duly authorised by the body corporate access to their section in order for that authorised person to inspect the section to see if the body corporate’s rules are being broken by the occupants thereof; provided that the owner received notice of the inspection and that it takes place during reasonable hours.
- Grant anyone who is duly authorised by the body corporate access to their section in order for that authorised person to maintain pipes, wires, cables and ducts capable of being used by other sections; provided that the owner received notice of the inspection and that it takes place during reasonable hours, except in cases of emergency, when the body corporate does not have to give notice to the owner.
While this list is not an exhaustive one, I trust that it sheds light on some of the lesser known duties of owners. If you are a trustee or managing agent struggling with owners who are failing in any of these duties and you would like legal advice and/or assistance in this regard, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation quotation.
Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 14, Issue 12.
Specialist Community Scheme Attorney (BA (Law) LLB), Ané de Klerk, combines her work experience as a Portfolio Manager with knowledge of conveyancing and community scheme law.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.