select
|

Property owners must stick to rules when renovating a unit

Problems often arise when an owner of a sectional title unit plans to make changes his property, says Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company IHFM.

This, says Bauer, is not permitted without the prior consent of the trustees of the body corporate and the local municipality, especially if the improvement involves structural changes, an extension of a section or an alteration to the external look of the building, or any major building work.

If electrical work is involved then a qualified electrician must be used and a compliance certificate has to be obtained. The same is necessary if plumbing work is called for: a plumber's compliance certificate has to be issued on completion of the work depending on the province of the scheme.

"These requirements are often overlooked, especially by those doing kitchen and bathroom renovations as they seem minor changes, but they sometimes can have serious consequences with regards to resulting damages to other units," said Bauer.

Any renovation that goes ahead without the trustees' approval is likely to be a breach of the scheme's conduct rules and needs to be stopped. The conduct rules of the scheme are usually filed with the Deeds Office and should be an addendum to the Deed of Sale. They vary from scheme to scheme, but owners should make a point of reading them carefully, this should be done before buying a unit in the complex, not only when renovations or alterations need to be made to the unit.

The most common problems caused by alterations and renovations in sectional title schemes, said Bauer, relate to material deliveries and the associated increased risk of theft, noise, dirt and rubble piles. Combined these can cause severe disruption to other residents' lives.

"Typically in the worst cases, a new owner will take transfer of a unit and two or three days later start a major makeover - without the trustees' consent. This can mean bringing in noisy jackhammers, grinders and floor sanders. It can also mean tons of rubble being moved from the unit to the ground floor - in all probability using the lifts of the building. If the plumbing is to be revamped cutting off the entire scheme's water supply for a few hours may be necessary.
"On top of all this, is that there will be a group of strangers (the contractor's staff) in and out of the complex, which is a breach of the security."

"Matters can get even worse if the changes cause damage to the structure, common property, or the neighbouring units e.g. by a support wall being removed. If the owner has gone ahead without the trustees' consent and possibly without his contractor having the obligatory contractors risk insurance, he will be in very serious trouble."

The correct procedure, said Bauer, is first to apply for the body corporate's permission (submitting plans of the work to be done) then to get their approval of the municipality, then appoint a contractor (and his all builders' risk insurance policy) and then register every one of his employees with the body corporate, preferably with a photograph. It has to be remembered, too, that delivery vehicles are also a hazard and can cause damage to common property - and should be covered by the insurance policy of the principle contractor.

It is also important, said Bauer, to get photographs of the areas to be worked on before work begins and on completion. This will act as evidence if and when an insurance claim arises or the contractor over-claims.

The trustees, said Bauer, have the right to ask for a building deposit and to stipulate what hours the contractors will work - and to ban any evening, early morning or weekend work. They can also ban the use of the scheme's common property for vehicle parking or rubble collection.
"Sectional title members have to be aware at all times that what might suit them does not always suit other members - and these matters are governed by the conduct rules, which no member can ignore."

If those conduct rules do not provide for a strict process, then the trustees should amend the conduct rules as soon as possible to cover the body corporate and the owners' responsibilities during this process.


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 19 Jan 2018
      Extending from Randfontein in the west to Roodepoort in the east and including the towns of Krugersdorp and Magaliesburg, the West Rand has a plethora of property available to residents who choose to make this unique area their home.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      When it comes to financial planning, doing the work to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected emergencies is just as important as ticking off your other goals and New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of the year is also the perfect time to review your various insurance policies.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      No surprises at the first Monetary Policy Committee of 2018, as Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, announced that the interest rates would stay at their current levels.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      The Southern Suburbs make up some of the most popular residential areas in Cape Town, comprising charming groups of suburbs which lie to the south-east of the slopes of Table Mountain. It is seen as the city's most expensive residential neighbourhoods with a choice of various private schools, upmarket eateries, wine estates, beautiful homes and trendy apartments.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      New year, new goals! If you’ve resolved to purchase your first property in 2018, then this 6-step guide from the Rawson Property Group is a must-read. It will help you navigate and simplify what is often be seen as a confusing process of buying your first home – right from the house-hunt to the house-warming.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      While the current property market may still favour buyers, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be well prepared before putting in an offer to purchase.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      Lightstone lists Blair Atholl as the most expensive suburb with an average house price of R11.2 million, followed by Westcliff (R10.5 million), Dunkeld (R9.3 million), Sandhurst (R9.1 million) and Inanda (R7.2 million).
    • 17 Jan 2018
      As it currently stands, there are four main ways in which a home can be bought in South Africa, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that deciding in which legal entity to purchase the property is not a decision that should be entered into lightly, as each has its pros and cons.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK