The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011 highlights the responsibility of the body corporate in the maintenance of the common property. It also indicates that each unit owner is responsible for maintaining their section.
The common property as defined in section 1 of the Act is the land included in the scheme, parts of the building or buildings that are not included in the individual sections, and any land referred to in section 5(1)(d).
Movable property is allowed to be hired or acquired by the body corporate for the use of owners for means of enjoyment or protection, or for the enjoyment and protection of the common property as stipulated in section 4(c) of the Act.
Any assets acquired by the body corporate to be incorporated into the common property remains their responsibility thus they will need to ensure that it is maintained.
These could include pool furniture for the swimming pool located on common property, a generator, equipment used for the maintenance of the gardens, gym equipment or any adjoined land which has been purchased for use as a tennis court, parking lot etc.
In terms of section 3(1), all common property must be property maintained by the body corporate. No differentiation is made between structural and non-structural maintenance and repair responsibilities thus, all parts of a building or scheme need to be properly maintained by the body corporate (common property) and unit owner (property included in the owners section).
In terms of section 28 of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 and the Prescribed Management Rule 30(d), owners are not allowed to make any alterations to their unit that if by doing so it affects the stability of the building or any sections or the common property which use it for support.
Also, if such alterations affect the use of and enjoyment of other sections, the common property or any exclusive areas, then these will not be allowed.
The STSMA also stipulates the body corporates responsibility of maintaining the utility infrastructure and services of a sectional title scheme.
This includes a number of things such as pipes, wires, cables and ducts, machinery, fixtures and fittings, equipment used in connection with the common property and sections.
Also separate meters used to record the consumption of water, electricity and gas, the supply of these services, air conditioning, telephone services, sewer systems and drainage, waste disposal services, and any other services provided for the enjoyment of sections or the common property.
All these need to be well maintained by the body corporate in terms of section 3(1)(q) of the Act. The body corporate generally has to maintain all of the utility infrastructure as it is mostly considered as common property, however, there are exceptions to this.
For example, the section 3(1)(r) of the Act states that the maintenance and repairs of pipes, wires, cables and ducts that exist on the land is the responsibility of the body corporate if it is used for the enjoyment of more than one section or the common property.
However, if these only supply utility service to an individual section and is located in that section, then the responsibility for maintenance falls on the owner of the section.
The owner of a section who is supplied with hot water by a system must maintain that system. If the system supplies a few sections with hot water, then these costs are shared amongst the owners of those sections.
If a resolution is passed by members of a scheme for the installation and maintenance of separate meters used to measure supply of services to each section, exclusive use area and the common property, then the body corporate have to do just so.
This is in terms of the Prescribed Management Rule 29(3)(a). PMR 29(3)b) then says that the cost of these supplies to the mentioned areas needs to be recovered from the member.
If a special resolution is passed for the installation of prepaid meters on the common property to control the supplies of water and electricity, then the body corporate is allowed to do so in terms of PMR 29(4).
All the details relating to the proposed resolution should be given to all members and occupiers of sections including the costs associated with the installation and the estimated cost over the next three years as a result of the service.
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