Sectional title schemes are becoming increasingly popular in South Africa whether as a primary residence or as an investment opportunity. They afford owners the opportunity to purchase and own a unit within the scheme and an undivided share in the common property thereof.

Section 35(4) of the Sectional Titles Act No. 95 of 1986 (“STA”) provides that the body corporate of a scheme as well as all the owners and occupiers of a unit in a scheme are bound the Management and Conduct Rules of the scheme (“Rules”). Owners must therefore be aware of their obligation to abide by the Rules and, in addition, ensure that any tenants to whom they grant occupation also abide thereby.

Annexure 8 and 9 of the Regulations in terms of the STA published under GN R664 in the Government Gazette 11245 of 8 April 1988, prescribe Management and Conduct Rules for a scheme. It must be noted that the body corporate may change these Rules, provided that these changes are not against the spirit of the STA. The process to be followed before the Rules can be changed is clearly defined in the STA.

Prescribed Management Rule 69 provides that the duties of the owner in relation to the use and occupation of units and common property within the scheme are binding not only on the owner but also on the tenant or any other occupant of the unit. In terms of this Rule it is the owners’ duty to ensure that his tenants comply with the Rules. Prescribed Conduct Rule 10 provides that despite anything to the contrary contained in the provisions of any lease agreement, the tenant is obliged to comply with the Conduct Rules of the scheme.

Sections 5(8) and 5(9) of the Rental Housing Act No. 50 of 1999 provides that an owner must ensure that a copy of the Rules applicable to the scheme is annexed to every written lease agreement entered into between such owner and his tenant. This is to ensure that the tenant is aware of the conduct that is expected from him as a resident of the scheme.

The Rules serve to be reasonable in so far as they contribute to a harmonious relationship between the body corporate, owners and occupiers of the scheme. Compliance with the Rules ensures that the scheme is controlled and managed in such a way as to ensure no unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units and common property.