UTH Newsletter December 2023 – Happy Holidays!!

Dear Valued Owner,

We trust that you and your loved ones are in good health and spirits, especially during this festive season. As we reflect on the challenges that have defined this year, it is evident that amidst adversity, there has been remarkable growth and unwavering determination within the industry. In the realm of sectional title schemes understanding the complexities of the legal framework can be quite intricate.

As the year draws to a close, Unlimited Townhouses is pleased to  extend guidance to  our valued clients regarding the legislative framework surrounding sectional title. In this newsletter, we aim to provide insights and support in navigating the intricacies of the common topics that have surfaced for the year.

We would like to say thank you to all Trustees, staff, support teams, and our clients for contributing to another year. Stay safe and enjoy a refreshing holiday season and New Year. We eagerly await the coming of 2024 with the hope that it would be a better year for all.


Managing agents frequently encounter inquiries  regarding the determination of  responsibility  for repairs. A misconception that prevails among sectional title owners revolves around the assumption that it is the responsibility of the body corporate to orchestrate and bear the costs associated with repairing things internal to their unit.

In terms of Section 3 of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, the body corporate is responsible for keeping the common property in good and serviceable repair. Section 13 states that each owner must take care of and maintain their own section, ensuring it remains in good repair.

Common Property includes the land included in the scheme, such parts of the building or buildings that are not included in a section. This definition entails the outer part of a section. The STSMA echo’s this with the concept of a median line, simply put the outer middle of the floors, walls, windows, doors and ceiling boards form part of the common property.

Exclusive use areas are arears of common property that are reserved for use by unit owners and allocated either on the plans or by the rules. Exclusive use areas remain common property, but the owner is responsible for its maintenance and upkeep.

In light of the above, the STSMA assigns the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the common property to the body corporate and the responsibility for the maintenance and repair of sections on their respective owners.


A prevalent concern that emerged in the realm of Community Schemes this was schemes with insufficient fidelity insurance coverage, coupled with a lack of understanding among scheme executives regarding the purpose of fidelity insurance.

Fidelity insurance offers protection against business losses stemming from employee dishonesty. In Community Schemes, fidelity insurance extends its safeguard to cover acts of fraud or dishonesty committed by  individuals within the scheme, including scheme executives, employees, or managing agents.

Regulation 15 of the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act mandates community schemes to secure fidelity insurance, outlining specific criteria that must be met. These regulations indicate that a community scheme must obtain fidelity cover for a minimum amount, calculated based on the scheme’s investments and reserves from the previous financial year and 25% of the operational budget for the current financial year.

Trustees are required to take reasonable measures to stay well-informed about the insurance needs of the scheme and to secure sufficient coverage. If this responsibility is neglected and a loss occurs, scheme executives may encounter challenging circumstances. The details of the coverage should be revealed during the Annual General Meeting, where owners are at liberty to either endorse the existing coverage or instruct trustees to acquire in- creased coverage.


In response to the challenges posed by load shedding and its associated disruptions, many in South Africa are in- creasingly considering solar power as a viable alternative. However, for individuals residing in sectional title schemes, the process of installing these becomes notably more intricate.

In community schemes, solar panels are commonly placed on unit roofs, which constitute common property. As such, an owner may not independently decide to install solar panels.

The trustees may  pursue a solar solution for the entire scheme or specific components like security systems, lighting, or Wi-Fi. In pursing these trustees must be guided by PMR29, in terms of which trustees ascertain if the proposed improvement is reasonably necessary or not. This influences the type of resolution needed for approval. The trustees must consider optimal panel placement, assessing structural capacity for panel loads, and understanding insurance implications.

Should an owner wish to install individual panels, obtaining written consent from the trustees is the initial step. Given the anticipated continuation of load shedding, trustees are likely to approve such requests, unless building infrastructure proves unsuitable. However, it thereafter extends beyond trustee’s approval because of the potential damages that could occur to the common property. Consequently, it warrants members approval.

The STSMA empowers the body corporate to create a conduct rule establishing exclusive use areas over  the common property. It is advisable for the body corporate to exercise this authority, ensuring that the unit owner takes on the responsibility of  maintaining the solar system and overseeing the maintenance of it. Achieving this requires the passing of a special resolution, followed by CSOS’S approval.


In Sectional Title Schemes, each resident, whether an owner or a tenant, weaves a unique thread into the tapestry of the shared living experience. However, communication has traditionally been directed towards owners, given their role as members of the body corporate. This structure has inadvertently left tenants feeling less included.

It is important for tenants to understand that the requirement of having to coordinate requests that require trustee’s approval with landlords so that the landlord may convey it to the trustees, Is not indicative of the significance of their inquiries. The coordination process is simply a structured approach to ensure the authenticity of their needs.

The STSMA underscores that a scheme’s rules extend their binding influence not only on the body corporate and section owners but also on individuals occupying specific sections. It further empowers the body corporate to take reasonable measures to enforce these rules.

The Prescribed rules stipulate that owners must take reasonable steps to ensure their tenants, along with other occupants, adhere to conduct rules. While owners are responsible for guiding their tenant behaviour, they may not be held liable for their tenant’s breaches.

Tenants possess the right to defend their positions when faced with accusations of contravening the rules. Beyond representations to trustees, this extends to participating in CSOS proceedings.

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