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Tuesday Jul 21, 2015

Request permission before starting to renovate sectional title unit

When owners of sectional title units need to renovate their properties and replace windows or doors, there are some factors to be considered, says Mandi Hanekom, operations manager for sectional title finance company Propell.

"Conduct Rule 4 allows for alterations and additions to common property in certain circumstances and Prescribed Management Rule 33 deals with luxurious and non-luxurious improvements, which require different forms of authorisation from the body corporate. Where the outside appearance of a unit will be altered by the renovation, written consent is required from the body corporate before any work can be done," she says.

"Windows and doors have shared cost responsibilities by the owner and the body corporate if they are placed on the median line. The owner would then be responsible for the inside and the body corporate the outside. When a window or door is moved, the boundary and responsibility lines change."

For example, in a unit where the new windows are to be installed on the outside of the median line, instead of on it, the body corporate will become fully responsible for the maintenance and repair of these windows, unless otherwise specified.

In cases such as these, the trustees might agree to the alteration provided they approve of the new product to be installed and the service provider or company doing the installation, as well as the owner claiming full responsibility (cost and maintenance) for the structure.

"On the one hand, it's necessary for a body corporate to protect the appearance of the building, but sometimes too much control is applied and the owner's application for a change is opposed unnecessarily," says Hanekom.

"There are many buildings where developers did not think through very carefully the size or type of windows being installed and units could benefit from bigger windows letting in light and warmth. Or, as in older buildings, there may have been only a few standard window sizes available at the time and they could do with an upgrade."

Whichever the case, she says, owners must take care to apply for permission before undertaking any purchase or installation and trustees should be open to the reasons for certain changes being asked for.

For more details, call Mandi Hanekom on 0861 33 34 35 or see www.propell.co.za.

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