Sectional Titles

Courier – September 09

These include:
Latest proposed amendments to Sectional Titles Act - will these be the last?
A Bill with proposed amendments to the Act was published in the Government Gazette of 17th August. These may be the last amendments prior to the Act being effectively split into three separate statutes.

It eliminates a substantial number of problems and clarifies uncertain aspects, to the benefit of both conveyancers, on the one side, and administrators (trustees and managing agents), on the other. Some of the amendments merely address 'housekeeping' issues, such as gender equality and removal of defunct provisions.

The amendments as discussed are for comment and therefore not law, however it is unlikely that the act will be substantially different to the Bill. Topics covered are:

  • Clarification of court orders to ratify unanimous resolutions.
  • Existence of doors and windows recognised for the purposes of maintenance responsibilities.
  • Extensions to sections in terms of s 24 will become easier.
  • A developer will be able to lengthen the time during which he may exercise a real right to extend under s 25 by agreement with the body corporate.
  • Proposed amendments to ss 25 and 37 now obliges developers to contribute to expenses in respect of areas of the common property reserved for future extensions.
  • Special levies receive special attention.
  • The need for tri-partite agreements when ownership is change is to be eliminated.
  • Usage of exclusive use areas is also to be restricted to the intended purpose (if any) as indicated.
Trustees face a tough task … and the hurdles just keep a-coming
Being a trustee or a managing agent for a sectional title body corporate is no easy burden and can be compounded by a lack of sympathy amongst magistrates as seen in the case of Sunninghill Park. Conclusions which arise from this case are that trustees should entrust their levy collections to an attorney who is well versed in the ever-changing complexities of the law and that day to day management especially in larger schemes should be left to an effective managing agent.

Barking dog causes a nuisance
In most cases the complaints come from overly sensitive persons and it would be unfair for the trustees to issue a warning or a fine.

Minor use areas are NOT negotiable!
Minor use areas have the advantage of being automatically assigned to the new owner of a related unit when transfer occurs, without any costs or special procedures being involved. They cannot however be exchanged between existing owners in a scheme by means of an agreement between the parties, or by any other means other than a proper rule amendment.

Determination of levies and involvement of the trustees
The processes involved in respect of the determination of levies and the related functions of the trustees regarding ordinary levies, increased levies, special levies and additional levies are outlined.

MCS Courier 34

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