RENTED BY MANY, OWNED BY FEW: BECOMING A SECTIONAL OWNER

 

Thinking of buying the section of the flat you renting? You can go from being a tenant to an owner of your flat. “When you buy into a sectional title complex or development you purchase a section(s) and an undivided share of the common property”. Common property includes external walls of sections or units, corridors, roads or areas used for facilities or amenities within the sectional title scheme.

Sectional Title is simply defined as separate ownership of units or sections within a complex. Blocks of flats or complexes that many of us live in are governed by the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 and Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011. Sectional title developments are governed by a body corporate, which is the collective name given to all the owners of units within any particular complex. The body corporate is mainly responsible for managing the Sectional title scheme and taking care of its finances.  “The body corporate also lays down rules that all the owners have to adhere to.

Just like everything in life Sectional title ownership has its advantages and disadvantages which includes the following:

Advantages:

  • An owner of a unit or section in a sectional title scheme automatically becomes a member of the scheme’s body corporate.
  • Sectional titles have a greater sense of communal life, which allows for interaction forming close knit communities.
  • It is perceived to be more secure.
  • Buying into a sectional title scheme maybe more affordable than buying into a freehold property (freehold property defined as an estate “free from hold”, meaning the owner of that estate enjoys free ownership for property and can use the land for any purpose in accordance with the regulations.)
  • The costs of living in a sectional title are often lower because the costs of maintaining the commune property are shared by all owners.
  • Sectional title units are popular in rental market and usually leased out easily.

Disadvantages:

  • The owner will need to comply with the management rules and conduct rules as determined by the body corporate, even though the sectional title owner may not agree with some of the rules.
  • Owners of sectional title units do not have the freedom to alter, renovate or expand their sections without the approval of the body corporate. In terms of Section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act, any owner wishing to extend his/her section needs to apply to the body corporate for approval. Once you have received the approval the owner will need to arrange a draft sectional plan of extension (indicating exactly how you wish to extend and how far, because there is a specific extension, percentage you cannot exceed.)
  • All owners are jointly and separately liable for the debt of the body corporate.
  • Being part of sectional title owner can be costly as it includes additional costs such as having to pay levies whereas a tenant you just pay your rent.
  • If you do not obey the rules as a Sectional title owner, you can be fined by the body corporate.

What does it mean when you become a Sectional title owner? It means that you, yes you who purchased a section of the complex, become a joint owner of the common property of the sectional title scheme. This also means that being a sectional title owner you have more responsibilities as opposed to being a tenant.

The responsibilities include the following:

  • Owners of units or sections must comply with the body corporate rules.
  • Taking care of your unit so that common property and other units are not damaged.
  • Paying the levy on time, the levy is paid monthly (the purpose of the levy is so that the body corporate as enough money to pay for all the expenses for the common property such as, insurance premiums, wages/salaries of cleaners and security.)

Want to become a Sectional title owner? Ensure that you gather all the information you need know, investigate the sectional title scheme, consider all the legal implications of sectional title ownership by getting in touch with Randles Attorneys, who will ensure that you are fully aware of all your legal rights under the sectional title. Invest into a sectional title fully educated.

BY: RANDLES ATTORNEYS

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