Consolidation of sectional title units is permitted by law

Prospective buyers of sectional title apartments are sometimes put off because the apartments are small in comparison with the properties they are moving out of.

However Johalna Minnaar, National Sales Manager for the Rawson Property Group, recently pointed out that there can, in some cases, be a way around the difficulty of limited space: the Sectional Title Act (95 of 1986) makes provision for the consolidation of two or more sections and this, said Minnaar, can often be a far less expensive solution than selling the unit and upgrading to another home.

"Consolidation," said Minnaar, "is a relatively simple process provided that the correct procedures are followed.

First of all, the body corporate members have, by means of a special resolution, to approve the change. The owner then has to apply to the Registrar of Deeds, submitting two copies of the consolidation plan, the title deeds of the sections to be consolidated, details of outstanding mortgages on both of the two sections (if any), together with the written consent of the mortgagee to the consolidation plan. In addition, a certificate approving the new consolidated plan has to be given by the body corporate.

Sometimes it is possible, said Minnaar, to extend a section, provided again that the approval of the body corporate members has been achieved by means of a special resolution. The revised plans then have to be submitted to the Surveyor General for approval.

Minnaar said that in recent months, prices of freestanding homes have, according to the FNB Property Barometer, been increasing at a faster rate than sectional title units.

Nevertheless, she said, the outstanding performance of sectional title homes in the 2003 to 2009 era shows that this type of living is likely to remain popular in perpetuity and there will always be a special market for the larger apartments of the kind which still sell at remarkably good prices in the Kenilworth and Claremont areas of Cape Town and throughout most of Sandton in Gauteng.

Consolidation, therefore, she said, can represent an excellent investment for those who choose to go this route.

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