Owning a property in a sectional title scheme can be a mine field. You would think that this new flat or townhouse now belongs to you – your name is on the title deed, after all – and you can do with it as you please. Not so. In a recent court case* the facts were as follows: the owner of a sectional title unit converted her garage into living quarters.
The Body Corporate approved this conversion, but one of the other owners was not happy and took the Body Corporate’s decision to court where she won. The Court applied the law** and stated that ALL the owners of the building must consent where one of the owners wants to use his or her property for a different purpose as set out in the building plans of the sectional title units. Furthermore, the consent is required if the change or conversion of the unit will affect other owners materially.
The Body Corporate was therefore not correct in approving the conversion of the garage into living quarters.
What are the lessons here? If you are a sectional title owner, make sure that you know what you are allowed to do inside your property or not. Get a copy of the plans and make sure that you know them. But even more scary: don’t assume that the Body Corporate know what they are doing. You could be one of the owners facing the legal fees from a failed court case. Do your homework.
*Mineur v Baydunes Body Corporate 2019 (5) SA 260 (WCC)
**S13(1)(g) of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act of 2011.
Neilsons Attorneys have conveyancers who know and understand the law relating to Sectional Titles.