select
|

Protect your sectional title property from devaluation

Sectional title owners are often lulled into a false sense of security, believing that they can safely hand off all management, maintenance and repair responsibilities to their Body Corporate with no repercussions.

According to Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, this kind of disinterest from owners, especially common with buy-to-let investors, has seen the deterioration and subsequent devaluation of many sectional title developments across South Africa.

"To protect your investment in a sectional title scheme," says Clarke, "it is vital to play an active role in the ongoing maintenance (and, ideally, improvement) of all the development's facilities. That means knowing what you should be doing yourself, as well as keeping an eye on what the Body Corporate is doing with all those levies you pay."

As a sectional title owner, the main area you are responsible for is, of course, your section - the apartment, house or office space and any garages, store rooms, etc. that are indicated on your Sectional Title Plan and registered on your Title Deed. Remember, these areas are measured to the centre of the external walls, and include the floor and ceiling as well as everything in the space between. It's your job to keep all of this in good condition, which means scheduling regular inspections if you have tenants - every six months is recommended.-

You may also have areas that are reserved for your exclusive use (such as patios, balconies or enclosed gardens), but are defined as Common Property by your sectional title scheme. In this case, developments will generally require the property owner to accept responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of these areas. "This will either be specified on your Deed of Sale or in the Body Corporate's documentation,? says Clarke. ?It?s a good idea to check this for insurance purposes before undertaking any repairs."

Clarke urges property owners to remember that maintaining the physical appearance and integrity of their section is not their only responsibility, however. "You are also required to ensure that you and your tenants are not a nuisance or burden to any other residents,? he says. ?Unruly occupants can destroy the quality of life for other residents, and severely damage the reputation of a development. This, in turn, lowers the demand for units, resulting in devaluation of the properties."

With all these owner responsibilities, you may be wondering what on earth the Body Corporate is for. Their duties include maintaining all Common Property that is not reserved for exclusive use. That means the roof space, roof coverings, gutters, downpipes, below ground areas, and the external half of all the outer walls. They are also responsible for all outdoor areas and communal facilities, and any plumbing or electrical cables that service more than one unit.

A well-run Body Corporate with an effective managing agent will use your levies to not only repair these areas when things go wrong, but actively maintain and improve them to increase the value of the development as a whole. "This is one of the key factors to a successful development," says Clarke, "and is far more likely to happen with owners taking an active and informed role in the Body Corporate."

Sectional title developments can offer some of the highest returns of all property investments, but the property owners play a vital role in their success or failure. Ignoring your personal responsibilities as an owner and allowing an underperforming Body Corporate or managing agent to continue unchecked, could turn your prime investment into a financial burden.

"The best way to protect your asset is to get involved," says Clarke. "Pay attention to what's happening indoors and out, and don't be afraid to make your voice heard."


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 21 Nov 2017
      The buying process is over, and the moving truck has delivered your household goods to your new property. Now it’s time to unpack and turn your new house into a home.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      When an offer to purchase a property is signed by both buyer and seller, this constitutes a binding agreement or “Deed of Sale” between the two parties. However, in most cases the “standard contract” might not be enough to cover all the specifics pertaining to the sale. The agreement may require some additions or alterations to clauses, which needs an expert hand in the drafting of such
    • 21 Nov 2017
      As more and more South Africans look to invest in property abroad, Spain is offering them one of the best deals in global real estate.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Property valued at approximately R1 billion is on High Street Auctions’ sales floor during the month of November, including the much-anticipated sale of the Tshwane Mayoral Residence and the land occupied by one of South Africa’s oldest operating gold mines.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK