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					Question:

There is also the issue of the geyser (hot water installation as it is referred to in the Act). No matter
where the geyser is eg. in the loft, inside the unit or on the outside wall, maintenance of it is still for
the owner and not the body corporate. As it is referred to as "the hot water installation", the owner
of the unit must maintain the hot water pipes too.

Answer

That is correct. The exception to the general principle that the body corporate is responsible for the
maintenance of the common property and the owner is responsible for the maintenance of the
section, is the maintenance of the "hot water installation".

The obligation to maintain the hot water geyser and the pipes supplying water to the geyser, and
from the geyser to the unit, falls on the owner whose unit is being supplied. This is irrespective of
whether the geyser is situated in the ceiling or anywhere else on the common property. It is dealt
with in Rule 68(1)(vii) of the management rules of the body corporate.

In practice, the insurance of the buildings covers the geyser and so if there is a claim relating to a
hot water installation problem, the claim would be settled by the body corporate's insurer and the
owner would be liable for the excess.

Question:

We live in sectional title previously owned by the municipality.

We purchased it and were paying R245 to R300 levies. The body corporate did absolutely nothing.

Since then another group has been chosen and although we queried what happened to the monies
paid in by the different tenants they promised refunds, but to date nothing has happened.

At present we are paying R245 per month, but what is this money being paid to?

Paying the money is not a problem but what are you paying for is a concern as nothing is being
done!!!

Could you please enlighten with some more information regarding the responsibilities of the body
corporate?

Answer:

The levies are collected to primarily pay the municipal rates and the insurance premiums.
Depending on the particular sectional title scheme, levies may also be collected to pay many other
costs, for example, those relating to the maintenance of the common property, security and
management and audit fees.

The body corporate consists of you and every other owner of a unit in your scheme. The body
corporate elects trustees to represent all the owners and the trustees are responsible for a number
of things including the payment of rates and to ensure that the building/s are adequately insured.

You must ask the trustees for a breakdown of the levy fund and the monthly payments.

Question:

I own a sectional title unit with common property with exclusive use - a small
garden. However, most of my unit walls fall into the common property area.

All my external unit walls have rising damp, visible on the inner walls - exterior walls
are facebrick. Who attends to waterproofing and repainting?

Also, I have a large crack running down the entire length of my one inner unit wall.
On inspecting the patio area of the unit above mine, I notice a large window was installed in the
patio wall directly above the area where my wall is showing damage. Again, who will be responsible
for what regarding correcting this problem?

Answer

The body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of the common property in terms of Section
37(1) of the Sectional Titles Act. This includes the external walls of your unit.

If you can show that the source of the damp is the foundations, then the body corporate would be
liable for the repair – waterproofing and re-painting.

If you can prove that the installation of the window in the unit above your unit caused the crack in
the wall, then the owner of that unit would be liable, provided that he installed the window.

Question:

Who is responsible when a portion of a ceiling collapsed from "supposed" water damage dating back
to last summer (six months ago)? The sections of the ceiling are also not available for inspection as
the owner threw them away. This is a light industrial sectional title complex consisting of 16 units
spanning approximately 100sq m each.

Question:

My problem is not related to maintenance more about the billing of water and electricity accounts.

We never seem to get an account as to the usage or pro rata billing for our water and electricity
account. Can you please tell us if this is OK?

We have just been sent an account with no relevant documents as to the complete account and just
showing the pro rata billing amount.

Answer:

Your complex may have one bulk meter for the whole complex or the municipality may be saving
labour costs and only reading the main meter. Either way it will be the responsibility of the trustees
to ensure that each unit pays their share.

If there are separate meters, the trustees can then check the meters and bill each unit accordingly.
Rule 33(3) of Annexure 8 of the Sectional Titles Act states that, in the absence of separate meters
for each unit, each unit shall pay according to the percentage their unit holds in relation to the
entire property ie. participation quota.

Rule 33(4) states if the majority of the owners ask the trustees in writing to install separate meters,
the trustees shall do so and at the cost of the body corporate. This would probably involve the
raising of a special levy to cover the costs which could be quite high, but once installed each unit
would pay for their own water and electricity.

By a unanimous resolution of the owners, the system of allocation can be changed from that of a
participation quota to points eg. one point for adults, half a point for young children etc.

Question:

I live in a sectional title unit, when the units were developed I obtained approval from the developer
to erect a wooden deck, instead of a balcony preferred by the other owners. My question now is,
who is responsible for the maintenance on the deck?

Answer:

In my opinion, you are liable for the maintenance of your wooden deck. There is a provision in the
Sectional Titles Act which provides that the owners who are entitled to the exclusive use of a part or
parts of the common property, must make an additional contribution to the levy fund. If the amount
of your contribution is not set out in the management or conduct rules applicable to your scheme,
then it will be an estimate of the amount necessary to defray the costs of rates, taxes, insurance
and maintenance of that area.

Question:

The wall above my garage door is cracked right through and on the verge of collapsing. This is
mainly because there is no lintel above the garage door. The garage is in the common property, as
it is not fixed to my house.

Who is now responsible for fixing this? When I bought the house five years ago (from the original
developers), there were no cracks at all. It has since started to crack. The trustees now maintain
that, because I bought my house from the developers, I should get them to fix it.

Answer:

The fact that your garage is not fixed to your house does not mean that it is not part of your section
or an exclusive use area allocated to your unit. You must establish this from your trustees or
managing agents, if your scheme has employed agents.

However, even if your garage is built on common property, as you are using it exclusively, you will
be liable for its repair and maintenance in terms of Section 37 of the Sectional Titles Act. In theory,
you would have a right of recourse against your original developer although practically it is going to
be extremely difficult to recover costs from them. Even if you are able to locate the developer and
prove that he did not follow the building specifications and regulations, you still may not succeed.
You would also need to be careful of the period of prescription if you decide to proceed against the
developer as you lose your right to claim three years after becoming aware of the defect.

Question:

We live in the Brigadoon Townhouse complex in Edenglen. Please clarify something for me: Does
the caretaker have to be invited to meetings or is she entitled to attend all meetings bearing in
mind all decisions taken at the meetings she needs to know about for the effective running of the
complex? Please clarify as our new chairman and most of the new trustees are adamant that she
has to be invited and is not allowed to attend in the normal course of events.

Second, are owners allowed to attend every meeting or is it by invitation only? If not, which
meetings can they attend?

Lastly, can the trustees take decisions and vote at meetings when owners are not present and
without the owners consent and their votes?

Answer:

If the caretaker is an owner in the complex then she is welcome to attend any meetings of the body
corporate as she wishes. If she is not an owner, but merely an employee, then she is not obliged to
attend but she may attend if it is easier for the running of the complex. The Act does not state that
the meetings are for owners only and therefore if the body corporate agrees to inviting an outsider
then they are welcome to come.

Generally, the body corporate has an annual general meeting (AGM) and then special general
meetings when they are required. The trustees may have meetings whenever they deem fit. A
member of the body corporate (ie. an owner) is entitled to attend any of these meetings. However,
the owner has no capacity to vote at a trustee meeting and the trustees are not obliged to give the
owners notice of these meetings.

Trustees are appointed to act and make decisions on behalf of the body corporate. Therefore, they
are not required to get the body corporate's permission on every decision, otherwise this would
defeat the object of appointing trustees and would stifle the effective running of the complex.

The trustees have a duty to act in good faith and to the benefit of the body corporate. The Act
provides for certain decisions that have to made in consultation with the body corporate, otherwise,
any significant decisions, or when reasonableness requires, should be brought before the body
corporate.

Question:

I would like to know what the stance on exclusive use areas are. An example would be where a unit
owner has requested to install a pool in his yard (exclusive use, but still common property) or he
requested to erect a lapa or a wooden deck.

He had the body corporate's approval and he paid to have these alterations done. These alterations
will obviously increase the insurance value of his unit and therefore the insurance premium as well.
This will not increase his participating quota and his levy will therefore not increase.

But the actual question is who is responsible for the maintenance of these alterations? Will it be the
owner of the unit who had this done or the body corporate?

Answer:

Yes, you are correct, even though an owner increases the insurance premiums or rates valuation of
the complex by adding to his property, his levy is not increased accordingly. This is because the
levy of a unit holder can only be increased to cover body corporate liabilities by way of a unanimous
resolution of the owners, which of course the owner making the alteration is going to object to.

This situation is not fair but it is how the Act is worded. Therefore, one of the reasons why the body
corporate's consent is required is to ensure that the alteration does not unreasonably burden the
complex. The owner is responsible for the maintenance of their exclusive use area, but the body
corporate's consent will usually be on condition that the owner maintains the alterations.

Source: Property24 (www.property24.co.za)

				
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