Extension of a section vs. EUA improvement

Sectional title is filled with procedural requirements that need to be followed by owners, trustees and the body corporate to achieve certain objectives.

Extending a section or improving an exclusive use area (EUA) falls within specific requirements of the Act. It is important to note the difference between the two and what is required for each of them.

Extending a section

A section is owned by the registered owner and can thus be extended. Any improvement to a section will be done inside the section and will require trustee permission. Extending a section to increase its footprint requires a special resolution from all scheme members. If the required vote in favour of the extension is not achieved, the owner may not extend their section. If a vote in favour is achieved, it will involve additional costs to the owner such as employing a land surveyor to measure the extension and amend the sectional title plans.

Improving an Exclusive Use Area (EUA)

In contrast to a section, an exclusive use area is effectively common property but exclusive use is assigned to a specific owner. Not all owners have the benefit of exclusive use areas in a scheme. Exclusive use areas have specific uses – for example gardens, balconies, parking bays and so on. An owner who has the exclusive use of an area may not deviate from this by using it for any other purpose. This may only be done if the owner obtains permission from all the owners in the scheme.

An exclusive use area may be improved. Examples of improvements include installing a deck or a retractable awning or pergola. The area may not be enclosed in such a way that it is water tight or where it becomes liveable or part of the section. Permission for the improvement only needs to be obtained from the trustees and not the members of the scheme as in the case when permission is sought to extend a section.

In summary

The distinguishing factor is that when an area is enclosed to extend a section, it qualifies as an extension and will require approval from scheme members as well as additional investment by the owner to legitimise the extension.

An improvement to an exclusive use area only requires written approval from the trustees and may not involve enclosing the area to form part of a section or so it becomes liveable.