In most sectional title schemes in South Africa, owners are forbidden from altering their units without the permission of the trustees, who may then be obliged to consult the local municipality.
Owners of sectional title units will have to get permission from trustees in order to make any alterations to the unit.
This is according to Nancy Todd, the Rawson Property Group’s Western Cape regional sales Manager.
She says that Rawson rental agents often find that a new owner will buy with the clear intention of changing and upgrading the unit, possibly before moving in.
“However, the rules in almost all schemes make it clear that the owner cannot do so without the trustees’ consent and they may well have to get the approval of other members whose units are sited nearby,” Todd says.
Buyers should remember that building work can be disruptive to those living in close proximity.
On a freehold property this is usually only a minor problem – but on a multi-unit development, where neighbours may actually be sharing common walls - any building activity is likely to be a nuisance, especially if it goes on after hours.
Todd also points out that many sectional title residents see an incursion into a security estate or into a security building by a construction team as a very definite risk and, she says, it has to be confessed that a small minority of building teams do have a bad reputation for theft.
It is because of this that most sectional title schemes will insist on all the builders’ workforce being registered and made to carry an identity badge.
They will also ask for a substantial deposit to cover any damages or overlong delays, and will demand that the builder takes out insurance on their specific project if he does not already have an all sites insurance policy.
Todd says Rawson’s rental teams have had cases where the work undertaken was beneficial to all concerned, but work had to be stopped because they did not have permission to go ahead.
“Sectional title owners must stick to the rules, which almost invariably makes trustees’ approval mandatory before building work is undertaken.”