As the owner of a unit in a sectional title scheme you are subject to more restrictions than you would be if you were the owner of a freehold property. When you want to make alterations to your section you may well need body corporate approval as well as that local authority consent before you can start. A freehold property owner is not subject to the additional level of governance exercised by sectional title bodies corporate.Sectional owners therefore need to be aware of the correct procedures, so as to ensure that they comply with the applicable legislative requirements before effecting alterations to their sections. In this article we look at the requirements set out in section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 (“the Act”) which deals with extensions of sections.
What is an ‘extension’ of a section?
Any alteration to your section which increases its:
•- boundaries, or
•- floor area
is considered an extension of the section.
Where are your sections boundaries?
In terms of section 5(4) of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 (“the Act”) a section is owned to the
median line or midpoint of its dividing floors, walls and ceilings. The scheme’s sectional plan filed at
the Deeds Registry indicates them boundaries of each section, shown as solid lines.
So if your section is on the ground floor and you decide to push out your bedroom into the garden
area, you are almost certainly going to be extending the boundaries and floor area of your section
and will be hit by the provisions of section 24 of the Act.
Extending the floor area of your section
It is possible to extend your section without actually extending the boundaries of your section. For
example, if your section has a double volume ceiling and you decide to build a mezzanine loft area
within your section, you will be extending the floor area of your section and section 24 of the Act will
apply. Even if you just use the loft area for storage space, you will have effectively extended the floor area
of your section.
What authorization do you need to get before you can legally extend your section?
Section 24(3) of the Act stipulates that an owner must first obtain a special resolution of the body
corporate authorizing his proposed extension before he is allowed to effect the alterations. This
would involve putting a proposal to owners, normally via the trustees, and perhaps asking them for a
general meeting where your proposal can be considered and voted upon. Alternatively you could
send or take your proposed resolution to each owner individually and get written consents.
How is a special resolution passed?