Community scheme Q&A with TVDM Consultants

1. Is this parking bay mine?
Just because you are using an area in a sectional title scheme, or are the only person that can seemingly access same, does not mean that it is yours. Be sure to take a look at the sectional plans of the scheme to see if the area in question, such as a parking bay, is a section, part of a section, a registered exclusive use area (EUA) or common property. Also take a look at the amended conduct and/or management rules of the body corporate to see whether the parking bay is an EUA created and allocated in terms of the rules. Check your title deed or do a WinDeed search to see if it is a section, part of a section or a registered EUA, and check if it is subject to a lease agreement, a written and signed lease agreement. 
2. Can I park in front of my garage?
In a sectional title scheme, it is most likely that the area directly in front of your garage is common property, owned by all owners in undivided shares and therefore able to be used and enjoyed by all. However, this use would not be practical as you would not be able to access your garage, be it a section, part of a section, an EUA or subject to a lease. It is quote normal for the body corporate to “declare” that this part of common property is “off limits” to anyone else other than you, by means of signage on the ground or on your garage door, but sometimes it is best to formalise this area as an EUA, or subject it to a lease agreement, as options, to secure your right of use. Check your body corporate’s rules as well, as there may be a rule requiring you to park inside your garage if it is vacant and not in front of it, unless it is for a short period or in the case of an emergency. 
3. Can I install solar panels?
In its nature, solar panels are installed on the exterior of a section, which is normally common property. There are a variety of routes to follow to allow this. You could have a conduct rule providing for a written application to be made to the trustees, who may set reasonable conditions in granting their approval, or you could be required to enter into a lease agreement with the body corporate to allow you the use of a part of common property, or you may be required to enter into a servitude agreement. You could also be required to formalise the use of the common property by means of an extension of a section or the registration of an EUA, or the creation and allocation of an EUA in the conduct or management rules of the body corporate. Perhaps your body corporate conduct rules do not allow for such an installation, so check for that as well.
4. How many owners can I represent as a proxy holder at an AGM or SGM?
As a proxy holder, at a body corporate AGM or SGM, you can represent two (2) members, irrespective of the number of sections that they own as such a member. As a proxy holder, you can be a non-owner, but you cannot be the managing agent or an employee of the body corporate, unless you are also an owner. Remember there are no proxies for trustee meetings.
5. Can I turn my garage into a flatlet?
Yes you can. Provided you obtain the written consent of every owner within your body corporate to approve the change of use of your garage, be it an EUA or a section, or a part of a section. 
6. When must my scheme hold an AGM?
Your body corporate must hold an AGM within four (4) months of the financial year end. Please remember that it is best to hold this meeting as soon as reasonably possible following the FYE.
7. Where are my scheme’s rules?
Your body corporate’s conduct and management rules should be part of the body corporate’s records, kept by the managing agent or the trustees, or perhaps a body corporate employee such as a manager. The rules are also at the CSOS if it is a scheme established after 7 October 2016, or at the deeds office as well if before then. If you own in an HOA, the constitution will be with the management of the Association, as well as the Local Authority, namely the Department of Planning and Building Development Management. If you own in an HOA NPC, the memorandum of incorporation (articles of association) will be with management and the CIPC.
8. Do I have to get a levy statement?

No, but if you own in a body corporate, you do have to receive a notice within fourteen (14) days of the AGM to notify you of the levy and increase, if any. 
9. Must I get the trustees permission to undertake alterations in my unit?
Yes you do. Check your body corporate’s conduct rules, which should set out that before undertaking any renovations or alterations, you will need to make a written application to the trustees. The rule will guide you through the process, which may include plan submission, municipal approval, payment of a deposit, registration of contractors, explanation of what will be done and how long it will take, working hours, noise limitations etc.
10. How do I appoint an executive managing agent?
A special resolution of the members is needed to appoint an EMA, but if this can’t be achieved, you can approach the CSOS, either for the relevant Adjudication Order in terms of section 39 of the CSOS Act or with twenty-five percent (25%) support of the total participation quota (PQ) of the body corporate, approach the CSOS for the appointment of an EMA from their panel of “approved” EMA’s within your jurisdiction.
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