Owners and tenants of units must be mindful of the use of their sections or the common property

Section 30 of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA) regulations deals in-depth with the uses of sections and common property, and many owners or tenants in sectional title schemes don’t know what these regulations stipulate.

“It is up to the body corporate to ensure that any infringements are dealt with timeously,” says Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM.

Regulation 30 (a) and (b), state clearly that the common property, sections and exclusive use areas should be used in such a way that does not interfere with others in the scheme, which is also mentioned in the STSMA in Section 13 (1)(d) and (e), says Bauer.

“This might seem obvious, but there have been instances where parking bays, for example, have been taken up by additional vehicles, boats, or trailers, even though they are not rented by the person using them. Another example is where a storeroom or garage)has been converted into a living unit or a garage is being used to store dangerous goods.”

He says occupants must adhere to the stipulated provisions and use of their particular unit as marked in the sectional plan. If they are in a residential unit then no business may be run from that unit, however small the business may be. It is only if a unit is expressly zoned as commercial and licensed as a commercial unit that a business may be run from there.

Owners or occupants may not make alterations to a section or exclusive use area that might impair the stability of the building or interfere with others’ use of sections, the common property or exclusive use area (Regulation 30 (d)).

The next point may also seem obvious, says Bauer, but 30 (e) states that no occupant may do anything to a section or exclusive use area that might negatively affect the value or use of another section or exclusive use area.

“Owners and tenants may not build any structure on an exclusive area that might be seen as an addition to their floor area unless they have the permission from the body corporate and adhere to the requirements of both the STSMA and STA.

“For example, a balcony may be enclosed with prior written approval by the trustees if it remains a balcony. If the balcony is enclosed and the previously external walls are demolished they create habitable space and therefore extend the section, which requires a special resolution from the body corporate to do so.

“Sectional title living is beneficial to all in that there are many shared expenses and amenities for those within the scheme, but it is the owners and occupants’ responsibility to sustain the harmony by adhering to rules and regulations so that the body corporate does not have to act against them in some way or another,” says Bauer.

Michael Bauer is a regular contributor to www.sectionaltitlesa.co.za. Visit www.ihfm.co.za, call 083 255 4442 or email michael@ihfm.co.za.