Understanding sectional title properties

If you’re house hunting, and you’re considering buying an apartment or unit in a complex, chances are you’ll be buying a sectional title, rather than a freehold property.

“It’s important to understand the obligations that come with a sectional title, so that you factor these in to your budget and planning,” says Fanie de Lange, Non-Metro Sales Manager at ooba, South Africa’s biggest bond originator.

A freehold is a free-standing property. The owner is entirely responsible for its upkeep and can make any decisions about what to do with it. A sectional title scheme is governed by the Section Title Act, and allows for a number of people to own parts of a single property – like a block of flats.

“Obviously, when you own an apartment, your responsibility for the property doesn’t begin and end at your front door,” says De Lange. “The parking garage, communal gardens, walkways, security, building exterior and many other elements are the joint responsibility of all the owners.”

With this responsibility naturally come obligations. The interests of the members of the sectional title scheme will be represented by a body corporate, which will have an established list of rules and regulations governing things from pet ownership and noise levels to maintenance requirements and the monthly levy.

“Familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations before making an offer to purchase, because you might find that some are in conflict with your lifestyle or that the financial obligations are beyond your budget as a new homeowner,” says De Lange. “Remember that you are legally bound to honour the requirements of the sectional title.”

In addition to budgeting for the monthly levy, you should also be aware that many sectional titles’ regulations allow for a special levy to be charged if there is a need for renovations to the building that falls outside of normal maintenance.

“Make sure that if there is such an allowance, you would be able to afford it, and it’s also worth comparing the levy on the property you are interested in to others of the same value and with similar shared areas, so that you have a good understanding of what you’re budgeting for,” says De Lange. “You can also ask to speak to the head of the body corporate to find out if there are any planned special levies in the near future, and check the financials to make sure that the body corporate is being effectively managed.”
While sectional title adds another level of complexity to property ownership, it also adds a degree of reassurance. While you will be paying your levy every month, you will also benefit from the maintenance of common areas and exteriors – all of which would be your responsibility if you purchased a freehold.

The actual purchasing process is like any other. “Your bond will be registered as a sectional title bond, and the registration and transfer all take place in much the same way,” explains De Lange. “Once you’ve moved in, if you want to be involved in the decisions that are made about your property, it’s a good idea to get involved in the body corporate.”

ooba has experienced experts who will assist you in obtaining the best finance to purchase your property, whether it is a freehold or a sectional title, and will help you to understand the obligations and requirements.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 19 Mar 2018
      If a landlord opts to use a managing agent for the rental of his or her property, the inspection process can be easier as the agent is not emotionally involved and will certainly have concluded an in-depth inspection report in the interests of all parties.
    • 19 Mar 2018
      We all wish we could have the cheat sheet for selling a property – a simple Ctrl+Shift+C code that will magically secure an offer on your home in an instant. Though it is not possible to provide you with this cheat code (sadly, reality does not come with such perks), it is possible to provide you with a list of the most common blunders some of your neighbours have committed in their efforts to sell their homes
    • 19 Mar 2018
      Although property technology is now widely accepted as an established trend, especially in the international real estate arena, the industry has been cautious to advance and smaller markets like South Africa are still hesitantly dipping their toes in the water.
    • 16 Mar 2018
      Strange as it may seem, there is a stock shortage looming now in the luxury sector of the Johannesburg property market, because astute buyers have for the past few months been hurrying to snap up high-end homes being offered at excellent prices.
    • 16 Mar 2018
      No one likes having to claim but having insurance for your household contents is vital, and at the start of a new financial year, homeowners either applying for new household insurance or revising their existing insurance should take a comprehensive inventory of their possessions and keep track of the total value.
    • 15 Mar 2018
      First-time buyers typically need to save for at least three years to afford the deposit on a home, and the VAT and fuel price increases announced in this year’s budget are going to make it even more difficult for them to reach that goal.
    • 15 Mar 2018
      Sea Point shows how developers use these organisations to advance their own interests
    • 15 Mar 2018
      As the rand strengthens against other major currencies, the prospect of investing in properties abroad is an increasingly appealing option for South African investors. Several factors, local and international, are sending a clear message: now is the time.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us