Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

Enclosures and decks – section extensions or not?

patio-enclosure-2-balcony-marvelous-enclosures-for-apartments-nyc

By Paddocks

The Sectional Titles Act, 95 of 1986 (“the STA”) defines a section as an area shown as a section in the sectional plan for that scheme.  The STA allows owners to extend the floor area or boundaries of their sections so adding a bedroom to the outside of the building, or a mezzanine floor to a double volume living room is pretty clearly an extension of the boundaries and floor area of the section.

Whether the section is extended or not, is not so clear when the area being changed is common property over which the owner of the section holds exclusive use rights. That is because the prescribed rules under the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (“the STSMA”) allow owners to erect structures or make building improvements to their exclusive use areas (“EUAs”), with the consent of the body corporate by ordinary resolution, as long as the change is not an extension of the section.

The question then is, is enclosing an EUA balcony or adding a deck or a patio to an EUA garden an extension of the section or erecting a structure or making a building improvement to an EUA?

One of the clues is the use of the area. Any EUA, whether the exclusive use right is registered or granted by a scheme rule must have its use specified. If the right is a registered rights, the area is shown on the sectional plan and its use specified. Likewise, a rule granting an exclusive use right must specify the use of the area. Common uses of EUAs include gardens, garages, parking bays, patios, balconies and store rooms. None of these quite match the fundamental use of an apartment/flat, which is to provide weatherproof, secure and relatively comfortable living space for human beings.

Therefore, if the change to an EUA is such that it makes the EUA weather proof, secure, and complies with the building regulations that apply to areas designed and built for human habitation, such as ventilation and light, damp proofing, fire resistance and so on, it is likely to constitute the extension of the section. If the change is not of this nature, it is probably a structure or building improvement added to an EUA.

Bear in mind that this article focuses on the extension of residential sections. Sections are also commonly shops, offices and light industrial units. The conclusion then is that the specific circumstances must be considered to establish whether physical changes to EUAs are section extensions or not.

If you have any doubts about a physical change to an EUA being the extension of the section please contact consulting@paddocks.co.za for a no-obligation quotation for advice.

Image source: sognidarte.com

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2 comments on “Enclosures and decks – section extensions or not?

  1. Robert Stronach
    December 27, 2018

    Is changing the use of a stand alone garage (which is a section) into a bedroom permitted?

    • Paddocks
      February 6, 2019

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your comment. We would love to help but unfortunately do not give free advice. Please see below for how we can help:

      – We offer consulting via telephone for R490 for 10 minutes. Please call 0216863950.
      – We have Paddocks Club, an exclusive online club, headed by Prof Graham Paddock, to help you get answers to your questions about community schemes: http://club.paddocks.co.za/

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

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