Sectional Titles


How does an owner in a sectional title scheme go about getting a carport erected over the parking bay that he or she uses? What approval is required and what processes must be followed?

There are two possible routes to getting this done, depending on whether the parking bays are unregulated common property or exclusive use areas. It is more likely that parking bays are exclusive use areas.

Exclusive use areas
An owner may make an improvement to the area over which he or she holds rights of exclusive use, but only with the consent of the trustees. The trustee may not withhold their consent unreasonably, so they need to consider the implications of such a request very carefully. The most obvious implication is that once one owner has a carport, others will want one too. The trustees must therefore consider the overall effect on the scheme of having all the parking bays covered.

At this stage, it seems obvious to consult the body corporate for a general approval of the idea and the look of the carports, and get a conduct rule passed to lay out the specifications and design that must be followed. A secondary benefit of making a rule governing the installation of carports is that the trustees would not need to be consulted before each new carport is installed. In preparation, the trustees should consult local contractors to see what designs and materials are available and the cost of each. The contractors would also know whether the local authority requires building plans.

Unregulated common property
If the parking bays are unregulated common property, the only way of having carports installed is to make them an improvement to the common property. Carports would almost certainly constitute a luxurious improvement and therefore a unanimous resolution would be needed to approve their installation. One owner unable or unwilling to pay the required share of the cost could prevent the resolution being taken.

It would be a better idea to make the parking bays subject to exclusive use rights. A conduct rule could be used to create these rights, requiring only a special resolution. Both rules could be made at one meeting where the body corporate agrees a design and installation specification together with creating the exclusive use rights.

Anton Kelly is one of the Course Conveners of the University of Cape Town (Law@Work) Sectional Title Scheme Management course. Next course starts, 5 December 2011. For more information please contact Emma on 021 447 7565 or or visit our website

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