The Sectional Title Act is not intended to impose onerous and restrictive conditions on owners and it is not necessary to do so. Most owners respect the wishes and privacy of others, keep their sections and exclusive use areas in good condition and generally act in a considerate manner.
It is for the less neighbourly minority that the Act imposes specific duties and obligations and prescribes actions that may be taken against offenders. An owner’s duties and responsibilities are contained in section 44 of the Act. Below are the rules explained?
An owner or tenant must allow any person who is authorised in writing by the body corporate to enter his or her section or exclusive use area to inspect or repair water pipes, electric cables or ducts which affect any other section or the common property, or to make sure that the section is not being used in contravention of the requirements of the Act or rules. Owners must be given reasonable notice for this and access must be at a reasonable hour. The only time approval is not needed is in the case of an emergency.
An owner must keep his section in good condition, if not the body corporate may carry out any repairs and maintenance needed and then recover the costs incurred from the owner. An owner must also keep their exclusive use areas like a garden neat and tidy. An owner may not use his exclusive use area any way which might disturb any other residents or interfere with the right of other residents.
Owners may not act in a way or use their section any way that may cause harm or damage to others. If an owner wishes to sell his unit or if there is a change of ownership, the body corporate, must be informed. An owner may not contravene any law, bylaw or building code. No alterations may be done that would compromise the integrity of the section.
No owner may construct or build anything on a registered exclusive use area without written consent from trustees, or unanimous approval of the body corporate in the case of a rule related under the exclusive use areas. An owner must maintain his own hot water system (geyser), even though parts of the system may be on the common property. Owners may not keep animals if so stipulated in the rules and regulations of the body corporate unless written permission has been given. Owners may only park in there parking’s provided. No vehicle may park illegally on any part of the common property, allow a vehicle to drip oil or hydraulic fluid onto the common property, or carry out major repairs to the vehicle on common property.
Owners have to comply with the harmonious appearance rule, meaning all sections need to conform to a certain design; this includes not fitting security gates, burglar bars or any other safety devices without having design, style and manner of installation approved by the trustees. This also includes not erecting clotheslines or hanging washing in such a way as to be visible from outside the building or any other section.
Although these might seem very constrictive toward owners, it does help in running a successful scheme and gives all owners equal rights to have undisturbed enjoyment of their sections.