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Tenants and conduct rules in sectional title schemes
With the rising prevalence of buy-to-let investors purchasing sectional title units to build a rental portfolio and the increasing numbers of them also renting out units as short-term accommodation, often to holidaymakers, there is a need to remind owners that they must make their tenants aware of the conduct rules of their scheme.

This is according to Mandi le Roux, operations manager of sectional title finance company Propell, who says whether it is an owner-occupant or tenant, the same conduct rules apply, and these should be handed to any new occupant before they move in so that they know they are bound by these rules for the duration of their stay.

In this way, she says they cannot plead ignorance if they are reprimanded or fined by the body corporate for misconduct or breaching the rules.

Various provisions within the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, Prescribed Management Rules (PMR), and Prescribed Conduct Rules (PCR) refer to and bind owners and occupants. While “occupier” is not a defined term, it would include short-term tenants.

PMR 3(2) states that a member (owner) must take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the conduct rules by any tenant or other occupant of any section or exclusive use area, including the member’s employees, tenants, guests, visitors and family members.

This is supported by section 10(4) of the STSMA, which provides that a scheme’s rules “bind the body corporate and the owners of the sections and any person occupying a section”. PCR 7(4) states that: “The owner or occupier of a section is obliged to comply with these conduct rules, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in any lease or any other grant of rights of occupancy”.

A landlord, while not directly responsible for his tenant’s behaviour, as the owner of the unit where the occupants resides, will still receive any fines issued from the body corporate for misconduct or breach of rules, and will then have to recoup these from tenants in some way.

Everyone needs to adhere to the conduct rules of their scheme so that other residents are not inconvenienced or disturbed, says Le Roux.

Source: Property24
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