What is Sectional Title?
A Sectional Title Development Scheme (usually referred to as a “SCHEME”), provides for separate ownership of a property, by individuals. These schemes fall under the control of the Sectional Titles Act, No. 95 of 1986 (and its amendments), which came into force on 1 June 1988. This Act replaced an earlier Act (No. 66 of 1971).
What do you actually own ?
You own the inside of the property i.e. the space contained by the inner walls, ceilings & floors of the unit. You are entitled to paint or decorate or undertake alterations as desired, providing such alterations do not infringe on municipal by-laws.In buying into a scheme you will acquire a SECTION (or Sections), and a share of the COMMON PROPERTY. These are collectively known as a UNIT. In practical terms, a Section is usually a flat or townhouse, but may also be a garage, domestic staff room, parking bay or external storeroom. Please note that in many Schemes, the garage and external rooms may NOT be sections, but may be part of the common property in which you may have EXCLUSIVE USE.The outside of the building is owned by the Body Corporate. In the interest of keeping uniformity, therefore, minor changes may be approved (in writing) by the trustees. This includes all external changes, i.e. aerials, satellite dishes, awnings, enclosures, changing of exterior colour schemes, etc. Any major structural changes must be done in accordance with government and municipal approval and before proceeding, with the Body Corporate’s approval, as any alterations may change the look of the property, or increase the insurance. No reasonable request may be refused. As regards common property, allocated for individuals sole use, such areas as indicated on the original plans or subsequently in writing, from the Body Corporate, may not be altered or reclaimed without the owners consent.
What is meant by “Exclusive Use”?
Often this will be a garden or patio attached to a section, in which case you do not OWN the garden or patio, but you have EXCLUSIVE USE of those areas for as long as you are an owner in the scheme. A balcony attached to a flat is sometimes designated as an exclusive use area, although in most cases, the balcony forms part of the section. The 1986 Act allows an owner to sell the exclusive use of an area to any other owner in a scheme, but not to an outsider. The practical implication is that owners who have exclusive use of a garage, storeroom or parking bay which they do not require, can sell the exclusive area to another owner in the Scheme. This benefit does not apply to owners of units registered under the 1971 Act, as under that Act, exclusive use areas were allocated under the rules of the scheme, whereas under the 1986 Act they are registered at the Deeds Office.
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