Can my outdoor spa land me in hot water with the body corporate?

“My wife and I recently moved into a sectional title unit. We used to have an outdoor spa at our previous house and would like to put one in again, but we are not sure what the rules of sectional titles schemes are when it comes to installing spa baths? Do I need permission or can I just continue?”

Before installing a spa bath or Jacuzzi in your sectional title unit, you should consider the following. Firstly, it is important to distinguish whether the area you wish to install the spa bath on forms part of the common property of the sectional title scheme or forms part of your section. A sectional title unit is defined as a section together with its undivided share in the common property. Below is a brief distinction between the common property and a section along with the type of consent required for erecting a spa bath on these areas.

The common property is owned jointly by all the sectional owners within the scheme, is controlled by the body corporate and is made freely accessible to all the sectional title owners. A sectional owner who has a right to the exclusive use of a demarcated area of the common property, may however exclude other sectional owners from exercising rights on that part of the common property. Improvements to such an exclusive use area require the consent of the body corporate, which may not be withheld without good reason.

Should your spa be placed inside your section, then, subject to any scheme rules that may require such consent to be obtained, there is no general requirement to obtain consent from the body corporate. Should the spa however affect the electrical or water supply or require alterations to the plumbing or electrical installations of the scheme or possibly have an impact on other sections, the consent of the body corporate will probably be needed.

The following two points should also be considered, namely nuisance and maintenance.

With regards to nuisance, it must be considered whether the spa bath may cause a disturbance or nuisance to the other sectional title owners. Spa baths can be noisy and even visually cause a nuisance to other owners which may result in the body corporate requiring the removal of the spa bath. Additionally, such a spa bath will require maintenance and cleaning. Failure to do so may affect the cleanliness and hygiene of your unit and potentially result in the body corporate requiring its removal.

It is important that the above factors be carefully considered before you install a spa bath, and rather obtain the necessary consents beforehand to avoid later disputes. It is also wise to scrutinize the rules of your sectional title scheme to check for any prohibitions or specific consents required for such an installation.

March 8, 2017
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