THOSE who wish to live in sectional title must realise that they will be living in a communal environment and will have to abide by the Sectional Titles Act and the rules pertaining to the complex they live in.
Remember, a complex is as good as its rules.
The act and the rules require resident owners and occupiers or tenants to:
Keep their section (unit) in good repair and free from white ants and borer beetle. Any exclusive areas are to be kept clean and neat, failing which the trustees will give written notice that should the work, for example a broken window pane, not be carried out within 30 days it will be done by the body corporate and charged to the relevant responsible person.
Units should not be used in such a way as to cause a nuisance or be injurious to the reputation of the complex.
No part of the common property should be marked, painted or have nails or screws driven into it, nor should it be otherwise altered without the written consent of the trustees.
Occupants may not keep any animal, reptile or bird without the written consent of the trustees. Pets are sometimes banned. Trustees may withdraw their approval if there is any breach of the conditions prescribed.
They must enjoy the common property with concern for the rights of the other residents. They shall not park or leave or allow any vehicle on the common property without the written consent of the trustees, who are permitted to have vehicles towed away.
Major repairs to vehicles may not be done on the property and vehicles should not drip oil or brake fluid on the common property. Trustees may request that the mess be cleaned.
They shall not place or do anything on the common property which the trustees deem aesthetically displeasing or undesirable when viewed from outside the complex. Signs, notices, billboards or advertisements which are visible from the outside are not permitted without the written consent of the trustees.
Rubbish or litter may not be deposited on the common property and refuse receptacles must be kept hygienic.
Washing may not be visible from outside or from other sections of the complex. Owners must maintain the hot water geyser which serves their section.
Laws and by-laws pertaining to the property must be adhered to.
Occupiers may not store any material or act in such a way that it may increase the rate of the premium payable by the body corporate on any insurance policy.
In addition, if your complex has amended their conduct rules, these need to be noted and obeyed.
Owners must also have a financial responsibility (the monthly levy payment is statutory) and pay their unit's monthly levy. This levy is payable in advance, due and payable on the first day of every month.
Expect to pay a special levy every five years or so if your complex requires painting or major renovations.
The Sectional Tiles Act, Management Rule 69, reads: "The provisions of these rules and of the conduct rules, and the duties of the owner in relation to the use and occupation of sections and common property shall be binding on the owner of any section and any lessee or other occupant of any section, and it shall be the duty of the owners to ensure compliance with the rules by his lessee or occupant, including employees, guests and any member of his family, his lessee or his occupant."
Complaints from those who live in sectional title must be made only in writing to the trustees. Complaints not in writing are "moans" and no trustee should have to listen to them.
Owners, especially resident owners, should make the effort to attend the annual general meeting.
Les Reynard has been managing sectional title complexes for nearly 30 years. He is a committee member of the Sectional Title Association of PE, and Reynard Agencies is a member of the National Association of Managing Agents.