Sectional Title Rights

What Is A Sectional Title And What Are Your Rights And Responsibilities

As it is common cause that we live in a society where high levels of crime deter  a potential home owner from purchasing a free standing house and rather move into an Estate or a Complex whereby the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.

You’re Rights and Responsibilities are vastly different compared to a free hold title and ordinary home ownership due to communal living.  There are more obligations and additional charges whilst staying under a Sectional Title Scheme.

A residential sectional title is a situation whereby a home owner owns a portion of a property within a communal holding example a Flat, Estate or a Complex.

A sectional title owner will own a portion or a unit in a Flat, Estate or a Complex there will be certain rights of use to the Property sometimes to the exclusive use of the owner example a designated parking bay. In the same breath there are various common property in the sectional title that people can use example roads, gardens and refuse areas.

Most people know about body corporates but fail to understand its functions. A body corporate is an entity established within the Complex, Flat or Estate to ensure that the Administrative, Financial and Ancillary issues of the Property is maintained and taken care of. An Automatic right attaches to owners making them members of the body corporate. The body corporate will then appoint Trustees of the Property to ensure its day to day running.

As a Sectional Title Owner you have a responsibility to take care of your portion of the Property and pay your levies on time. The subsequent question that follows is what is a levy and am I entitled to pay? All Home owners in the Sectional Title have an Obligation to pay its Levies to ensure that the Trustees or an appointed Managing Agent have enough finances for the expenses and maintenance of the Common property. Remember expenses from the levies may not only be current but can be for future expenses as well example upgrade of security feautures.

What do your Levies include?

  • Security and Maintenance costs;
  • Annual Audit;
  • Rates and Taxes;
  • Water and Electricity;
  • Insurance for the Property;
  • Management Agent fees (if appointed);
  • Any budgeted and future expenses that may arise.

How are Levies calculated?

Trustees prepare a yearly budget for the body corporate for its day to day running, and determine the income needed to satisfy such expenses. Such income and expenses will be divided accordingly to Sectional Title Owners. Generally it is payable by square meter, meaning that a Larger Unit will pay more than the Smaller unit.

There are generally two different types of Rules that govern a complex, flat or Estate.

  1. Management Rules - these set out the rights and responsibilities for Trustees on how to conduct themselves.
  2. Code of Conduct - These rules govern the tenants and owners within the Sectional Scheme. The trustees have an obligation to enforce these rules.

Can a body corporate evict a tenant for non-payment of levies?

A body corporate cannot evict you as a tenant for non-payment for levies as a relationship between the body corporate and the owner of the Property exists. Subsequently the owner is responsible for ensuring the tenant pays. One must remember that there is still a contractual agreement between the tenant and owner, whereby an owner can sue the tenant for outstanding levies and/or rental.

Living in a sectional title scheme has various rights and responsibilities however it has its perks particularly in terms of Security and cheaper communal accommodation.

Kylen Ghirao

Practising Attorney