Damage to S/T property

 Be aware of exactly what insurance cover is held by your Body Corporate in a Sectional Title Scheme so you do not end up liable for damages.

It is also important to know the value of the insurance cover to ensure it is sufficient to protect you from loss or damage to common property or personal injury that may arise, advises Brett Nicholson of Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys.

Nicholson explains that the Sectional Title Act makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the Body Corporate to insure the building and all improvements to the common property within the scheme to their full replacement value, against any such risks and damages as may be prescribed.

In addition, all buildings and common property must be insured against any other risks identified through special resolution by the owners within the scheme. The Body Corporate will then recover the insurance premiums required from the levy fund paid by all the owners.

This insurance should cover damages such as:

Fire, lightning, malicious acts, storms, floods, earthquake, bursting pipes, impact of any buildings by a motor vehicle or other object, housebreaking
and loss of rent due to any of the aforementioned.

"This is by no means a complete list and only provides an indication of what type of damage is generally covered by the insurance taken out by a scheme", adds Nicholson.

Furthermore, the body corporate should take all reasonable steps to insure all the owners within the scheme and to keep them insured against any liability, which may arise in respect of:

Death, bodily injury or illness; and
Loss of property or damage to property

These liabilities may arise as a direct result of or in connection with the common property.

The minimum legal value prescribed for a Body Corporate is R100 000, but this amount is only a minimum value and can, and often should be, increased by the owners in a general meeting, adds Nicholson.

He stresses the importance of owners making enquiries regarding the quality and value of the insurance held by their scheme and not just to presume that this has been adequately provided for.
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