Owners in a sectional title scheme often view their balconies as being an additional part of their section, which can be enclosed and converted into the perfect sunroom or extra entertainment area. The problem with this, however, is that if the proper procedure is not followed, this could lead to unnecessary costs, frustration, and of even greater concern, the owner potentially being compelled to demolish their new addition.
In a sectional title scheme, an owner’s section is depicted on the sectional plan. Generally, the walls of a building are the boundaries of a section and anything inwards of the median line of the wall forms part of the owner’s section, while anything outside of the median line forms part of the common property.
Balconies typically form part of the common property and are allocated to a unit as an Exclusive Use Area, either by way Notarial Deed of Cession or in terms of the Scheme’s Rules.
As a balcony is not usually an owner’s sole property, it is not permissible for him to simply do with it as he pleases. Therefore, the first step to enclosing your balcony is to determine whether it forms part of your section, or if it is part of the common property. If the balcony is part of your section, the procedure to enclose it is not as stringent as would otherwise be the case, however, this article will deal with the balcony as being an Exclusive Use Area, as this is by far the most common situation.
If an owner were to enclose their balcony, they are effectively incorporating it into their section and are extending their section’s floor area (and consequently the owner’s participation quota) by the size of the balcony.
Section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 describes the procedure that must be followed whenever a section is being extended. The procedure is as follows:
- Firstly, the owner must obtain a special resolution of the owners in the Body Corporate, consenting to the proposed extension. (A special resolution requires 75% of the total number of owners and total participation quota voting in favour of the extension).
- Thereafter, draft amending sectional plans must be prepared by a land surveyor or architect and submitted to the Surveyor General for approval.
- If the proposed extension will result in a deviation of more than 10% of the owner’s participation quota, then an additional step is required. If this is the case, the owner must give 30 days’ written notice to every bond holder in the scheme of the intended registration of an amending sectional plan. Should no objections be raised during this time, registration of the amending sectional plan may proceed.
- Once the draft amending plans have been approved by the Surveyor General, and all consents and resolutions have been obtained, the amending plans must then be registered in the Deeds Registry.
Furthermore, while building plans are not necessary for the purposes of the procedure described in Section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act, they will still be necessary for submission to the local authority for approval.
Article by Jeremy Leech
Meumann White Inc