Can a Body Corporate fine an owner for, e.g. making too much noise, being discourteous to security officers, or keeping a pet, against the Conduct Rules of the complex?
Karen Bleijs email@example.com a colleague and sectional title expert, had this to say:
The issues of keeping pets in sectional title schemes, as well as the imposition of fines, are both extremely thorny issues, and both fall within the ambit of the Rules of a particular scheme. This means that each particular body Corporate will have its own Conduct Rules unless the generic Conduct Rules in terms of the Sectional Titles Act apply.
Two new Acts that govern sectional title schemes have just come into operation: the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act and the Community Schemes Ombuds Services Act! (but this is by the by!)
As regards Rules and Bodies Corporate and in answer to your questions:
Conduct Rules most definitely have the ‘power of the Law’ behind them, provided that they are made in terms of the Act.
Is the power to impose fines sometimes abused? MOST DEFINITELY. This is why educating the public regarding the rights and duties of ownership of sectional title units and the law relating thereto is so critical, to avoid abuses of power.
One last thing, some sectional title schemes permit the keeping of pets and some do not allow it at all. Many schemes allow the keeping of pets subject to certain conditions. A number of others allow the keeping of pets subject to the permission of the Trustees, which permission cannot be unreasonably withheld.
Every individual case must be dealt with on its merits but fairness must prevail – so if someone moves into a scheme and they know beforehand that there is a rule that provides that: “NO PETS ARE ALLOWED”, then they must not be surprised if they bring a pet on to the premises and are required to remove it. HOWEVER, if the new owner is blind and NEEDS a dog to assist him in his day-to-day living, the situation is of necessity different, and the Trustees would be violating his constitutional rights to deny him the right to keep a dog in the scheme.
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