When a person purchases a sectional title unit, he becomes a member of the Body Corporate. Many owners confuse the concept of Trustees and Body Corporate. Every owner is automatically a member of the Body Corporate, and the Trustees are elected from the Body Corporate at the Annual General Meetings.
As sectional title ownership is legislated by an Act of Parliament, the owner is bound to comply with the provisions relating to such ownership, as set out in the Act.
The most important duty of an owner is no doubt, the duty to comply with the Conduct Rules which are in force in respect of the building. The conduct rules deal with the day to day “house keeping” issues in the scheme and a good set of Conduct Rules, which are enforced will result in happy community living.
Apart from their legislative duties, owners should act with an enhanced degree of neighbourly consideration towards the other residents of the complex.
Two sections of the Act, namely Section 44 and Management Rule 68 deal directly with the duties and obligations of owners of Sectional Title units. For ease of reference we set out these sections of the Act, which are self explanatory as follows:
Duties of owners – (1) An owner shall –
(a) permit any person authorized in writing by the body corporate, at all reasonable hours on notice, (except in case of emergency, when no notice shall be required), to enter his section or exclusive use area for the purposes of inspecting it and maintaining, repairing or renewing pipes, wires, cables and ducts existing in the section and capable of being used in connection with the enjoyment of any other section or common property, or for the purposes of ensuring that the provisions of the Act and the rules are being observed;
(b) forthwith carry out all work that may be ordered by any competent public or local authority in respect of his section, other than such work as may be for the benefit of the building generally, and pay all charges, expenses and assessments that may be payable in respect of his section;
(c) repair and maintain his section in a state of good repair and, in respect of an exclusive use area, keep it in a clean and neat condition;
(d) use and enjoy the common property in such a manner as not unreasonably to interfere with the use and enjoyment thereof by other owners or other persons lawfully on the premises;
(e) not use his section or exclusive use area, or permit it to be used, in such a manner or for such purpose as shall cause a nuisance to any occupier of a section;
(f) notify the body corporate forthwith of any change of ownership in his section and of any mortgage or other dealing in connection with his section; and
(g) when the purpose for which a section is intended to be used is shown expressly or by implication on or by a registered sectional plan, not use nor permit such section to be used for any other purpose: Provided that with the written consent of all owners such section may be used for another purpose;
Management Rule 68 – Statutory and General
(1) In addition to his obligations in terms of section 44 of the Act, an owner–
(i) shall not use his section, exclusive use area or any part of the common property, or permit it to be used, in such a manner or for such purpose as shall be injurious to the reputation of the building;
(ii) shall not contravene, or permit the contravention, of any law, by-law, ordinance, proclamation or statutory regulation, or the conditions of any licence, relating to or affecting the occupation of the building or the common property, or the carrying on of business in the building, or so contravene or permit the contravention of the conditions of title applicable to his section or any other section or to his exclusive use area or any other exclusive use area.
(iii) shall not make alterations which are likely to impair the stability of the building or the use and enjoyment of other sections, the common property or any exclusive use area;
(iv) shall not do anything to his section or exclusive use area which is likely to prejudice the harmonious appearance of the building;
(v) shall, when the purpose for which an exclusive use area is intended to be used, is shown expressly or by implication on or by a registered sectional plan, not use, nor permit such exclusive use area to be used, for any other purpose: Provided that with the written consent of all owners such exclusive use area may be used for another purpose;
(vi) shall not construct or place any structure or building improvement on his exclusive use area, without the prior written consent of the trustees, which shall not be unreasonably withheld;
(vii) shall maintain the hot water installation which serves his section, or, where such installation serves more than one section, the owners concerned shall maintain such installation pro-rata, notwithstanding that such appliance is situated in part of the common property and is insured in terms of the policy taken out by the body corporate.