Complex living is... complex. Specialist sectional title attorney Marina Constas, a director of BBM Attorneys and co-author of the book, "Demystifying Sectional Title",says that she continually receives novel queries from sectional title owners, bodies corporate and managing agents, after 17 years in the business.
In a recent case, the trustees of a complex were in a quandary over whether they could prevent a sectional title owner from having a burly body guard stationed in the corridor outside his front door. "They were concerned about the safety of other residents, and the negative impression being created by his presence," Constas explains. "In the end, the owner had to move his personal body guard off the common property and into his home."
Complex rules are also a consistently thorny issue, but what rules can be upheld, and what might be considered unconstitutional? Constas says that one conduct rule she encountered stated: "No children will be permitted in the complex. If an owner falls pregnant, the trustees will be entitled to request that she leave the complex." Another stipulated: "No woman may be seen kissing visitors in the corridors after 8pm."
"Owning a home in a sectional title complex can sometimes be testing, and issues are bound to arise when people are living in close proximity and sharing common property," Constas states, but concedes that in the current tough economic climate, not everyone can afford legal advice to resolve a tricky dispute. It's for this reason that, as part of BBM Attorneys' corporate social responsibility programme this year, Constas has dubbed the last week of February "Sectional Title Week", and is offering a free half-hour consultation to sectional title owners.
For more information, or to book a consultation, sectional title owners should contact: Lola da Costa by calling 011 622 3622 or emailing LDaCosta@bbmlaw.co.za.