9 June 2020
WHAT YOUI NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE RULES THAT GOVERN BEHAVIOUR IN SECTIONAL TITLE SCHEMES: PART 1
Community scheme living can be challenging as it often involves people from diverse backgrounds and with different personal preferences. Issues that become a point of contention involve noise disturbance, the keeping of pets, parking problems and refuse disposal, to name only a few.
Know the rules
The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (STSMA) has prescribed rules know as conduct rules which schemes can apply to curb some of these issues. The Act also allows for schemes to add or amend these rules. This is especially helpful considering schemes are not alike and certain rules may not be relevant in their prescribed state.
How do schemes change their conduct rules?
Changes to these rules can be proposed to the members at a special general meeting. For the meeting to commence a quorum of 33,33% of the registered members must be present in person or by proxy.
Proposed changes are approved when 75% of the votes are in favour of the proposal. This 75% is calculated as a percentage of the quorum.
Once the changes have been approved, it must be submitted to the offices of the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) for review and approval. A certificate will be issued by CSOS confirming the changed rules. The rules only become enforceable once this certificate has been issued.
The prescribed conduct rules
Issues that schemes mostly have problems with are known in the industry as the three P’s: Pets, parking and people. The rules that deal with these aspects are:
- The first P: Pets
While not all schemes are conducive to having pets in the apartments, this rule allows occupants to keep pets as long as they have written approval from the trustees. In considering these applications, the trustees must be reasonable and consider aspects such as the conditions in which the pet will be housed and whether there are other pets in the complex.
The trustees can retract permission previously granted if the circumstances and conditions in which the pet is housed is found to be unacceptable. Residents who have disabilities and rely on dogs for assistance do not have to obtain explicit approval from the trustees to house the animal.
- The second P: Parking
Parking on scheme grounds is always a hot topic, especially in large complexes where there is never enough parking, making it very hard to manage as trustees. The relevant conduct rule states that vehicles must be parked in designated parking bays and may not be parked on common property. Visitors must also park in designated visitor bays and not on common property, or in bays belonging to other residents.
- The third P: People
‘People’ relate to the behaviour of occupiers and visitors in the complex. This rule requires residents to keep noise levels to a minimum and to take responsibility for their visitors. It further stipulates that the use of common property may not be to the detriment of any other residents.
The original article can be viewed here:
In part 2 – we will discuss other important prescribed rules, including waste disposal, damage to common property, appearance of the section and exclusive use area, storage of flammable materials and pest control.