South Africa - Sectional title alterations that don’t require body corporate approval
By Jennifer Paddock
When doing renovations to your section (generally the interior of your living area) in a sectional title scheme, it is often difficult to know which works you need to get approval for. As a general rule, unless your conduct or management rules state otherwise, you can go ahead without approval from the trustees or body corporate, if the alteration:
- is within the boundaries of your section;
- doesn’t prejudice the structural support that your section provides to other sections and the common property; and
- doesn’t prejudice the harmonious appearance of the building
How do I determine where the boundaries of my section are?
Don’t just take someone’s word for it. You need to get hold of a copy of the scheme’s sectional plan. You can request a copy from the managing agent, the trustees or directly from your local Deeds Registry.
How do I know if my alterations will prejudice structural support?
If you are considering bashing out interior walls you may well need to get a structural integrity assessment carried out in order to satisfy the trustees that you won’t be compromising the stability of the building. If you are not removing any walls, you shouldn’t need to worry about this.
What do you mean ‘prejudice the harmonious appearance of the building’?
The harmonious appearance of the building refers to how the building looks from the outside. If your alterations will not affect the outside appearance of the building then you don’t need to worry about breaching this rule. If you are planning on doing any renovations that would be visible from the outside or would change the way the building currently looks from outside then you would need trustee consent.
Even if your internal alterations don’t require approval, for the sake of good neighbourly relations, we suggest you notify the trustees (or managing agent) if your tradesmen will be parking in visitors parking bays or making noise for extended periods of time and to arrange bin placement and storage of building materials on the common property if necessary.