Remember the conduct rules when renting out a sectional title unit

With the rising prevalence of buy to let investors buying sectional title units to build a rental portfolio and the increasing numbers of these also renting out units as short term accommodation – often to holiday makers – there is a need to remind owners that they must make their tenants aware of the conduct rules of their scheme, says Mandi le Roux, operations manager of sectional title finance company Propell.

Whether an owner-occupant or a tenant, the same conduct rules apply – and these should be handed to any new occupant before they move in, so that they know they are bound by these rules for the duration of their stay. In this way, they cannot plead ignorance if they are reprimanded or fined by the body corporate for misconduct or breaching the rules.

Various provisions within the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, Prescribed Management Rules (PMR), and Prescribed Conduct Rules (PCR) refer to and bind owners and occupants. While “occupier” is not a defined term, it would also include short-term tenants.

PMR 3(2) states that a member (owner) must take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the conduct rules by any tenant or other occupant of any section or exclusive use area, including the member’s employees, tenants, guests, visitors and family members. This is supported by section 10(4) of the STSMA, which provides that a scheme’s rules bind the body corporate and the owners of the sections and any person occupying a section. PCR 7(4) states: “The owner or occupier of a section is obliged to comply with these conduct rules, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in any lease or any other grant of rights of occupancy.”

A landlord, while not directly responsible for his tenant’s behaviour – as the owner of the unit where the occupants reside – will still receive any fines issued from the body corporate for misconduct or breach of rules, and he will then have to recoup these from tenants in some way.

“Everyone needs to adhere to the conduct rules of their scheme, so that other residents are not inconvenienced or disturbed,” says Hanekom.

Call Mandi Hanekom on 0861 33 34 35 or visit www.propell.co.za.