Complex Living. Why do you have a body corporate?

With cities getting bigger , spaces  and families getting smaller  and crime being so prevalent most people have opted to stay in sectional titles commonly known as complexes .Complexes have become an obvious choice because they are much cheaper and safer compared to “stand alone”  homes . This phenomenon has brought about some changes, one of which is the concept of a body corporate. A body corporate is a collective name given to the owners of the units and common property within a sectional title scheme. Sectional titles are regulated by legislation in the form of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.




What is the function of the body corporate?

  • Body corporate has a duty to manage and maintain the common property. This includes the drive ways, common grass and play arrears, swimming pool clubhouse etc. The body corporate appoints trustees to act on its behalf to attend to duties such as
  • Establishing a fund via levies paid by the owners for maintenance, management and administration of the common property and payment of taxes, water, electricity and insurance.
  • Opening a bank account
  • Insuring the buildings
  • Maintaining common property
  • Arranging for repairs maintaining all instruments and machines that form part of the common property
  • Section 44 (1)(c ) of the above mentioned Act places the obligation to maintain and repair sections squarely on the shoulders of the owner .As mentioned above the body corporate is only responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the common property .
  • The body corporate has discretion to step in and make prescribed repairs in certain sections of the property if the owner fails to repair a section that he is obligated to repair. Before such repairs can be effected the trustees need to notify the owner (i.e. give owner a thirty (30) day notice to make the necessary repairs failing which the repairs will be effected and all reasonable costs may be recovered from the owner.

What is the consequence of an owner that has tenants?

Landlords and Tenants in a sectional title scheme have additional responsibilities to ensure that their rights and obligations arising from the lease agreement are protected and cannot be interfered with. It needs to be clarified that the owner’s rights and tenant’s rights and responsibilities are contained in the Rental Housing Act and some aspects of common law. The owner’s rights and responsibilities to other owners is governed by the Sectional Titles Act.

Can a body corporate decide who the owner can lease his/ her property to?

Who the owner decides to lease his property to is the sole prerogative of the owner, the body corporate cannot interfere. Should the tenant be in breach of his lease contract the landlord can follow the procedure for breach and has the right to cancel the contract and bring an application for eviction.


  • Most body corporate have rules and policies in place, if you are thinking of purchasing property it is absolutely imperative that you go through these and understand them especially in relation to matters such as damage insurance (whether there is an access that needs to be paid before any repairs to your property can be effected) and the rules relating to leasing out your property.
  • Owners are not allowed to cancel lease agreements and evict tenants without the proper procedure being followed. Remember the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) is the highest law in the land and no individual right can supersede same.
  • Please note that this is general advice, you may need to consult a professional to receive further advice in relation to this topic

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