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Amendment commentary

10 November 2005

Amendments which affect mainly the standard management rules (MRs) became law in May this year. Tertius Maree gives his attention to those which relate to important matters.

The first amendment affects body corporate insurance. Procedures remain the same, except that MR 29(1)(a) now explicitly empowers the trustees to negotiate premiums, insurance rates and excesses with the insurer.

The second amendment is to MR 32(1), which places an explicit obligation upon trustees to ensure that, when rule amendments are adopted, these are 'submitted forthwith to the Registrar of Deeds for filing'.

The next amendment is to MR 33(2)(b), which relates to the authorisation of non-luxurious improvements on common property and provides a 'short-cut' mechanism to effect such improvements.

The next amendment, to MR 59(2), also settles uncertainties, sometimes leading to nasty disputes, about the election of a 'surrogate' chairman at general meetings. The position has now been clarified and it is now possible to elect a non-member to act as chairman at the meeting.

The last amendment discussed here relates to MR 68, which is the rule regulating the 'dos and don'ts' of owners and occupiers. These may be seen as 'high level' conduct rules which have been regarded as important enough for inclusion in the MRs, entrenching the provisions against imprudent alteration.

The amended MR 68(1)(vi) now reads:
'[An owner] shall not construct or place any structure or building improvement on his exclusive use area, without the written consent of the trustees, which shall not be unreasonably withheld and that the provisions of section 24 and section 25 or other relevant provisions of the Act or the rules, will not be contravened.'

In his discussion, the writer is of the opinion that the addition to the rule is grammatically clumsy to the extent that the significance of the added text is not immediately clear. In the discussion which follows he suggests an approach to be adopted in order to ensure that the necessary compliance is ensured. The application of section 24 and its relevance to MR 68(1) is discussed in detail.

Article on November De Rebus

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