Sectional Title Property - Who Pays for What?

Sectional title property has become increasingly popular in South Africa in recent times and it’s easy to understand why; sectional title properties tend to have good security, they’re cheaper to buy and maintenance is shared by owners and the scheme’s body corporate. For many investing in such a property seems like a no-brainer. As with any property purchase it’s important to understand what you’re buying and how the costs will be allocated.
Is it common property or not?
The property in sectional title developments tend to fall within one of three different classifications; common property, sections and exclusive use areas. According to the Sectional Titles Act the body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of all common property, examples of which can include stairways, street lights, common gardens and parking bays.
A section on the other hand refers to the actual apartment or townhouse bought and paid for by a home owner – according to Greyvensteins Attorneys this area “extends from the centre line (median line) of the walls, floors and ceilings”.
Thirdly there are exclusive use areas (EUA’s) which are technically common property and are to be maintained by the body corporate, although the owners are financially responsible. An example of this would be a private garden which only the home owners may use but which ultimately forms part of the scheme’s common property. 
An exception to this classification is all pipes, wires, ducts and cables that serve multiple sections or the common property. “While these classifications seem to demarcate everything nicely the problem comes in when one starts dealing with water damage caused by a problem in another unit and similar issues”, says Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, “determining who is then responsible for payment can become quite confusing and increasingly frustrating”.
And then it gets technical
Sectional title specialists, Paddocks, often handle queries from members such as this one where a sectional title unit developed a leak in the roof space above the kitchen (which fell within the external meridian lines). The answer might seem simple in that owners are responsible for the maintenance of their unit’s geyser (whether it’s located on common property or not), however as Paddock’s notes it depends on which pipe is leaking – if it’s in the cold water feed pipe before it enters the geyser it becomes the body corporate’s responsibility.
Another member explains that two apartments have serious damp problems on a common interior wall. As the source of the problem is unknown Paddocks recommends that the owners are responsible for locating the source and that the body corporate need only get involved if it can be proven that the root of the problem lies within common property.
Read the fine print before buying
Swain advises buyers looking at purchasing a sectional title property to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations of the specific body corporate as well as making very sure exactly what is included in their section and EUA (where applicable). “I would also strongly encourage buyers to take note of the levies and levy structures when looking to buy in a sectional title scheme so that there will be no unpleasant surprises later”, he says, “even so complex situations like those cited in this article can arise and I’d recommend getting the help of a company like Paddocks or a property attorney to help clarify matters”.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Possibly one of the biggest sources of contention between landlords and tenants surrounds the rental deposit. “Most tenants rely on getting their rental deposits back when moving, so that they can use it to pay a deposit on their new home. Having it withheld or even having large amounts deducted can lead to a lot of distress,” explains Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Situated approximately halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Midrand was established in 1981 and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. It has become one of the major business hubs in the country with major pharmaceutical, textile, telecommunication and motoring giants situated within its boundaries.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      The PayProp Rental Index Annual Review of 2017 shows that the rental market suffered from much volatility during the year. It kicked off with rental growth spiking in January with weighted year-on-year growth (YoY) growth peaking at 8.3% before dropping to 6.34% in July, dipping down to less than 5% in November and then experiencing a slight uptick at 5.75% in December.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      While most homes in cluster complexes, estates and other gated communities come with at least one garage or carport, residents would often like additional permanent parking or storage areas for things like trailers, bikes, boats and caravans.
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    • 15 Feb 2018
      One positive consequence of the financial crash in 2008 was the rise in consumerism, especially in the property market, where buyers have steadily become more knowledgeable and more value conscious.
    • 15 Feb 2018
      While most homeowners will take the agent’s commission into consideration when they are trying to determine what the will get out from the sale of their property, many often forget to factor in the other costs involved in a home sale, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 14 Feb 2018
      The forecast for the national rental market in 2018 remains a mixed bag of good news and bad news. Although rentals are expected to rise slowly as the challenges of home affordability and tighter lending criteria tighten their grip, it’s a double-edged sword as the market also will come under increasing pressure from factors like declining disposable income levels.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us