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structure not registered

By Desiree Mansfield on Sat, 10 Mar 2018 at 05:43

Many years ago (about 10) one of the owners in the complex had an extra room built on to their existing townhouse. They got 100% permission by the body corporate including the trustees at the time. They submitted their plans to the local municipality which were approved by them and we have them on file, so they went ahead and built on.

At that specific time, the trustees was not aware of the correct procedure of the ST Act that this extension had to be registered, or that a resolution needed to passed at the time, which included a land surveyor or architect to prepare a draft sectional plan of the extension including adjustments to the participation quotas of the section and submitted to the Surveyor General's office for approval, so because of this, it was not registered at the Deeds office at the time.

The previous MA said: “Let sleeping dogs lie, many structures in most complexes are illegal and not registered, and after all these years, there is nothing we can legally do about them”.
The present MA says: “We have to address the matter as the now trustees could be held liable for this including himself”.

This matter has now been brought to the attention of the present trustees by our new MA who has stated that we need to get this matter addressed in the correct way according to the new ST Act. Failing which, the present trustees could be held liable for this fiasco that happened many years ago. The same owners are still resident in the townhouse.

My question is this: In what capacity can the present trustees be held liable for this fiasco that took place many years ago, only one is still serving and he says he was not aware of all the procedural points that had to be implemented at the time this took place.

Perhaps I need a legal eagle to explain the above, or Carryn Durham herself could give some advice?

Thank you,


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RE: structure not registered

Callie de Jager replied on Sat, 10 Mar 2018 at 22:03

Paddocks offer personalised support and coaching by Prof Graham Paddock, Anton Kelly, Dr. Carryn Melissa Durham and Zerlinda van der Merwe.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 686 3950.

RE: structure not registered

Desiree Mansfield replied on Sun, 11 Mar 2018 at 04:18

Hi, Thanks Callie for your reply. However, I am in Joburg and to contact Paddocks for legal advice by cell phone will involve double costs for me which I am not in a financial position to entertain in my present financial circumstances.
I would appreciate it if you could throw some light on the question.

RE: structure not registered

Desiree Mansfield replied on Tue, 13 Mar 2018 at 07:28

Hi Callie,
Is there any chance of a reply from you or from Anne Greening on this matter as I really need some kind of input on it and would appreciate any I can get.
Thank you.

RE: structure not registered

Annette Stones replied on Tue, 13 Mar 2018 at 18:06

Hi Desiree -

We recently dealt with a similar situation in our own complex concerning three unregistered section extensions effected a decade and more ago. The current trustees co-ordinated and monitored the process, obtaining the signed consent of the owners concerned, along with signed acknowledgement of their pro rata responsibility for the costs involved, to proceed with (1) contracting a surveyor to measure up the respective extensions and draft the sectional plan of extension and (2) appointing a conveyancer to act on their behalf. Once the plan had been approved by the surveyor general, it was forwarded to the conveyancer we'd appointed and briefed, with his own dealings thereafter directly with each of the owners concerned, whom we'd meanwhile requested to obtain and have available the documents required (certified copy of ID, original title deed, details of any mortgage bond). Towards the end of the process, two trustees were called in to sign certain documents on behalf of the Body Corporate - and two months later we finally had an up to date sectional plan registered, along with a finally correct PQ schedule, and hence finally lawfully apportioned levies.

And that is where the liability of your trustees would lie if you fail to protect the interests of every other member of your body corporate by failing to do whatever is required to ensure that the owners of the extended sections do what they are obliged to in terms of Section 24 of the STA. What it boils down to is, after all, that, by extending their sections they acquired additional property, which, as with any other acquisition of immovable property, needs to be registered and their title deeds endorsed accordingly. When we put it that way, the previously resistant owners of the extended sections in our own complex suddenly stopped regarding the requirements in this regard as unreasonable and co-operated cordially throughout the process, including covering the costs.

RE: RE: structure not registered

Desiree Mansfield replied on Fri, 16 Mar 2018 at 05:27

Hi Annette,
Thank you for participating in this discussion and for the input you provided. I take note that you said "recently", which in our case was not recently, but approx 10 years ago and the trustees at the time was not aware of all the legal stuff that was required at that time. Now 10 years later the new MA said that the present trustees must deal with the matter as they could be held responsible what happened 10 years ago. I fail to see how he can say this! If this happened at present yes, they would do it exactly as you did it in your complex as you described, but bear in mind this happened 10 years ago. Where to now? Your and any other advice from anyone on the panel will be much appreciated.

RE: RE: RE: structure not registered

Annette Stones replied on Fri, 16 Mar 2018 at 16:36

Hi Desiree -

To the contrary. The word "recently" did not refer to when the extensions in our complex were effected (between November 2005 and April 2006) but to when they were eventually registered (end of January 2017). In between, directives to the trustees at AGM after AGM to ensure that the owners concerned did what was required in this regard were simply ignored. And yet, when the current trustees stepped in to both initiate and co-ordinate the Section 24 process, the previous resistance was found in all but one case to be due not so much to "mafia-mindedness" as to utter ignorance and bewilderment as to how to proceed and what the costly process was all about....Show More

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