Sectional title corner – Are owners liable to maintain and repair common property?
Our complex consists of 12 individual units. Approximately six years ago the trustees decided that ALL owners would be responsible for the maintenance of their own units and this has been the standing rules ever since.
Owners are solely responsible for the maintenance inside and outside their unit:
Damage to walls; (all units are insured as per our Policy Schedule)
All window frames and doors, inside and outside;
Repairs and replacement of taps;
Repairs and replacement of fascia and barge boards, gutters and water pipes from the unit side of the individual water meters; and
Roofing repairs and renewal thereof.
The body corporate will cover the following costs: Repairs to main water pipes up to the individual water meters, driveway, swimming pool, entry/exit gates and gate motors; security and palisade fencing and buying and repairing of tools.
The above was added to the House Rules to avoid having to increase levies by double or more.
Our body corporate engaged a managing agent in 2013, and at our 2015 AGM the managing agent informed us that our House Rules had not been registered at the deeds office but did not inform us of any deadline.
The managing agent has now informed us that the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) will probably not accept our specific House Rules if in conflict with the CSOS Prescribed Rules. If this is the case do we have any recourse?
Any advice or information you may have regarding our House Rules that have not been registered with the deeds office would be greatly appreciated. – Jean (chair/trustee)
Dear Jean, under the previous act only rules that were filed at the deeds office were enforceable (from the date it was filed). Under the new act rules have to be approved by the CSOS and they will then issue a certificate to the effect and the rules will be enforceable from the date of the certificate.
I cannot see the CSOS approving rules that make owners liable for maintenance of the common property as this is in contravention with the act. What I suggest you do is to make the outside of the sections exclusive-use areas in terms of the rules and in the rules specify that the owners are responsible for maintenance of their exclusive-use areas. That is the only way around it.
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Who is Karien Coetzee?
Karien Coetzee is the national property management consultant at property management company, Trafalgar. She holds qualifications in sectional title schemes management and homeowners association management.