A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog
By Graham Paddock
Section 5(5) of the Sectional Titles Act provides:
“any window, door or other structure which divides a section from another section or from common property, shall be considered to form part of such floor wall or ceiling”
The effect of this provision is to extend the “median line boundary principle” beyond the actual floor, wall or ceiling to include doors and windows that are set into them. This wording was included in the provision by way of a 2010 amendment that I drafted and that was intended to address difficulties and disputes that regularly arose between body corporates and owners in regard to the calculation and sharing of maintenance costs for these items.
The amendment made sense in principle, but difficulties are still regularly encountered when the door or window frames and the moving parts they surround require maintenance, repair and replacement. The window or door panes, the rubber seals and the handles are often not located in the centre of the installation, where it would be clear that they are a joint responsibility.
In my view, one should accept that windows and doors are complex mechanisms that have to operate as a whole and that their parts are seldom symmetrically located in the whole mechanism.
The effect of the provision quoted above is, in my opinion, that the costs of maintaining all parts of the door or window, addressing the wear and tear that arises from normal use of that item should be an expense shared between the owner and the body corporate equally, even when the particular sub-component that needs maintenance, repair or replacement is not located in the very centre of the window or door.