Why you need to know your sectional title scheme's rules
Sectional title schemes are governed by rules, those that are for the management of schemes and those to manage behaviour of those within the scheme, i.e. conduct.
Both sets are used in conjunction with each other, but are very different in their application, says Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM.
The Regulations to the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (STSMA) contain a prescribed set of management (Annexure 1) and conduct (Annexure 2) rules.
The management rules are there to prescribe the way sectional title scheme administrative duties are carried out. Within this section items such as how to run meetings, voting, electing and appointing trustees, duties of trustees, budgets, quorum requirements, use of sections, financial planning and management, etc., are dealt with. The way the rules are set out is the way all sectional title schemes must be run.
Conduct rules govern behaviour of residents, which are prescribed within the Regulations and cover issues such as pet ownership, refuse removals, usage of common and exclusive use areas, vehicle parking, and so on.
Bauer says the conduct rules and some of the management rules can be changed if the owners within a scheme decide they need amendments made.
If it is a management rule to be changed, a unanimous resolution is required and if conduct rule, then a special resolution. These can be amended by applying to the Community Schemes Ombud Service, who will evaluate whether they are just and applicable, and then approve them.
The STSMA stipulates that all bodies corporate should keep a record of both sets of rules in force at any given time. These rules should be available for any trustee or owner meetings where someone might want to inspect or refer to them, and the rules must also be given to every owner and tenant living in the scheme.
“All owners in sectional title schemes should become acquainted with the rules so that they can assist in ensuring that the scheme is well managed,” says Bauer.