SECTIONAL TITLE SCHEME MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

The issue of maintenance and repairs in sectional title schemes is not straightforward and can often result in heated debate between owners of sections and the body corporate, raising questions such as:

Who should repair/clean the roof?

Who must maintain the gardens, roads, gate and paths?

Who is responsible for the maintenance of my section?

This issue is made more complex by the fact that sectional schemes generally consist of three categories of sectional property: sections, common property and exclusive use areas. Each of these categories carry differing obligations and responsibilities relating to their maintenance and repair.

What are the different categories of sectional title properties?

  1. A section means a section as indicated on the sectional plan. The boundaries of a section are the centre line of the floor, walls and ceiling of that section, and can include any defined balcony or projection.
  2. Common property is any area in the scheme which is not part of a section. Common property often includes external walls of sections, corridors, roads, open spaces, or areas used for facilities or amenities.
  3. An exclusive use area is a part of the common property which has been reserved for the exclusive use of one of the owners of a section. These often include parking bays, gardens and storage facilities.

Maintenance of sections

Owners are required to keep their section in a “state of good repair”.  This means that an owner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the area within the boundaries of their section.  An owner will therefore, be responsible for internal repairs and maintenance, painting, plumbing within the section, plastering, cleaning etc.  However, owners are not responsible for the maintenance of the exterior of their unit as this will form part of another section or the common property.

Maintenance of the common property

The Sectional Titles Act provides that maintenance and repairs to the common property are the sole responsibility of the body corporate, both operationally and financially. This means that the body corporate is responsible for maintenance and repair of common garden areas, roads, pathways, facilities, roofs, and any other area of sectional property which is not considered a section. The body corporate must collect sufficient levies to ensure that it is able to maintain and make repairs to the common property.

Maintenance of exclusive use areas

Exclusive use areas are part of the common property and must be maintained by the body corporate, however, an owner of exclusive use areas must ensure that their exclusive use area is kept in a clean and neat condition. This would indicate that there is a shared responsibility to maintain exclusive use areas. The Sectional Titles Act further requires the body corporate to recover all amounts which it has spent on maintenance and repair of exclusive use areas. Therefore, the body corporate is operationally responsible for maintenance and repairs to exclusive use areas while the owner of an exclusive use area must bear the financial cost of such maintenance and repair.

One example of a common dispute over sectional repairs is where a pipe traversing the common property bursts in an exclusive use area. In this instance the body corporate may say that because the pipe is situated within the owner’s exclusive use area he/she is responsible for repair. However, provided the owner of the exclusive use area did not cause the damage, the owner will not be responsible for repair and maintenance to any pipes which traverse the common property.

For more information on this topic or any other property related queries please contact us at 033 392 8016.

 

By Randles Attorneys

 

19 replies
  1. Connie Fourie
    Connie Fourie says:

    Good day. If there is a water leak or damage on the ceiling of the unit under my unit. But in my unit there is no visible water leak. It must be somewhere in the walls. Who will be responsible for the finding and repair of the leak. Will it be for the owner of the unit or should it be for the BC?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Randles
      Randles says:

      Hi Connie. Thanks so much for your message. We will ask one of our team to make contact with you. Thanks so much!

      Reply
  2. Linda Marais
    Linda Marais says:

    Hi, the solenoid valve on the outside pipe of my house was replaced as it was faulty. The body corporate have told me that the cost must be shared between myself and them. Is that correct?

    Reply
    • Randles
      Randles says:

      Hi Linda. Thank you for your comment! We have asked someone to contact you. Kind regards. The Randles team

      Reply
  3. Jacques Slabbert
    Jacques Slabbert says:

    I also want to find out who is responsible for fixing a leaking pipe that is running in the roof between the roof and the ceiling. As the pipe is not within the medianline ceiling to floor but is above the ceiling.

    Reply
    • Randles
      Randles says:

      Hi Marius. Thank you for your comment! We have asked someone to contact you. Kind regards. The Randles team

      Reply
      • Ali
        Ali says:

        Hi
        Can u also be advised of the same?

        I would also like to know who is responsible for maintence of galvanized uwater pipes in ceiling?

        Reply
  4. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hi we are small contractors and the landlord would like us to tile their 3 bedrooms in a block of flats. The chairman of the Body Corporate has responded by saying that tiling of bedrooms according to their rules is not permitted. Do they have the power to enforce this?

    Reply
  5. Steven
    Steven says:

    If the body corporate arranged for the outside of units to be painted, and the workers break a window, who is responsible to repair this?

    Reply
  6. kathy
    kathy says:

    Good Day, We own a garage (described as a Unit consisting of Section No. 20) in a complex and (previously also owned this together with a Unit consisting of Section No. 30, which included its own garage. We recently sold the one Unit – Section No 30 but retained the other Unit – Section 20 which was a separate garage. At first the Body Corporate disputed our ownership until they did a Deeds Search and found we are indeed the Legal owners. They have now requested we remove the items from the garage in order to carry out maintenance work. We have indicated we are willing to do so, but have asked for alternate storage space which they in turn say they do not have. We have then suggested that we move the items onto a visitors parking during the day while the contract works on the roof and move it back in the garage at the end of the day, and repeat this for the 48 hours that the contractor requires to complete the work. Should they refuse this who will be responsible for costs incurred if we have to find alternate storage off the premises?

    Reply
  7. Ester Sonhera
    Ester Sonhera says:

    Good day my apartment is at the in the last floor .I have been experiencing rattling sounds when it is windy and I have reported to the body corporate several times .A construct once came to fix it but the noise is still there.What steps should I take to have this problem fixed once and for all?

    Reply

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