5 Sep 2017

What is a Sectional Title?

A sectional title is formally referred to as a sectional title development scheme, which in essence is a building or buildings that are built on a piece of land that is divided into two or more sections.

A person who buys a building or a portion of a building in terms of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 actually buys a unit consisting of a section (measured from the median line of its boundary walls) together with an undivided share in the common property allocated to that section in terms of its participation quota (i.e. lifts, staircases, driveways and access gates etc.) OR a section and the right to the exclusive use of a part of the common property (i.e. a garden area or a carport) together with an undivided share in the common property allocated to that section in terms of its participation quota.

The registration of schemes, transfer of ownership and registration of mortgages over the units in the Deeds Office are regulated by the Sectional Titles Act which came into effect on 1 June 1988.

What is the Body Corporate?

The Body Corporate is a legal entity created on transfer of the first unit. The Body Corporate is responsible for the enforcement of the rules of the scheme and for the control, administration and management of the common property for the benefit of all owners. A person that becomes an owner of a unit in the scheme is a member of that body corporate. The Body Corporate is regulated by the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011 read with the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act 9 of 2011 which came into effect on 7 October 2016.

The Body Corporate must perform the functions entrusted to it by or under these Acts and the rules, and such functions include but are not limited to:

to establish and maintain an administrative fund to cover the annual operating costs; to establish and maintain a reserve fund in such amounts for the cost of future maintenance and repair of common property; to require the owners, to make contributions to such funds; to determine the amounts to be raised for the purposes of the above paragraphs; to raise the amounts so determined by levying contributions on the owners in proportion to the quotas of their respective sections; to open and operate an account with any registered bank or any other financial institution; to insure the building or buildings and keep it or them insured to the replacement value thereof against fire and such other risks as may be prescribed; to maintain all the common property and to keep it in a state of good and serviceable repair; to ensure compliance with any law relating to the common property or to any improvement of land comprised in the common property; to maintain any fixtures and fittings used in connection with the common property and sections and to keep them in a state of good and serviceable repair; subject to the rights of the local municipality concerned, to maintain and repair including renewal where reasonably necessary, pipes, wires, cables and ducts existing on the land; to do all things reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the rules and for the management and administration of the common property; in general, to control, manage and administer the common property for the benefit of all owners. The Community Schemes Ombud Service created by the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act provides for dispute resolution between persons who have a material interest in the scheme and/or the body corporate.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)