Sectional title - Heed the “right to extend”

When a sectional title complex is introduced, the developer can decide to build fewer units than was initially allowed and might reserve the right to develop those units at a later stage.

This is known as an " Article 25 right to extend " and buyers who wants to buy in both new and established schemes should always check whether such a right exists - and the expiry date - before they sign a purchase offer, says Berry Everitt , MD of the Chas Everitt International property group .

He writes in the latest edition of the newsletter , Property Signposts , that the Sectional Titles Act sets out strict conditions under which a developer can exercise an Article 25 right . The developer must include:

* When he applies he must include the right to extend in the original sectional title application;
* Indicate the period in which the additional units may be built;
* Indicate exactly how many additional units will be built;
* Indicate where and how it will be built;
* Indicate the size of the extra units and show how it affects the existing units and;
* Show the exteriors of the new units .

" The Act also specifies that once the legal process has been completed, the developer cannot change any of the above specifications without the consent of all the legal parties involved.” 

To further protect both buyers and owners, the Act also requires that every new buyer shall be notified in writing about the existence of the right to extend, and if they are not, the buyer can legally cancel the transaction at anytime.  

"The reason for this is that existing owners , will be affected personally as well as in monetary terms , if a developer decides to act on his right to extend.”

"Think of all the dust and disruption that an established community would have to endure if construction resumes . Whether it is the shock when you find out that a new building will spoil the picturesque views that your home had or that new units will be added on top of your once top level apartment. 

With sectional titles it is also advisable to note, that the land forms part of the common property and is in undivided shares owned by the members of the body corporate .

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