O4. The Sectional Title Schemes Management Act

The purpose of this Act is for the:

  • Establishment of bodies corporate and to manage and regulate sections and common property in sectional title schemes
  • To apply rules applicable to such schemes
  • To establish a sectional titles scheme management advisory council
  • To provide for the incidental matter.

This Act is always used in conjunction with the Sectional Titles Act.

Overview of these 2 Acts

Every sectional title scheme comprises three elements, owners’ sections, exclusive use areas and common property. It is important for an owner to understand the differences so that he knows what is his to use and what is not, and what use/entitlements he is paying levies toward.

1. Owners’ sections

These are the houses within a scheme that are individually owned and are registered in the name of the owner. These areas can sometimes include gardens, storerooms or garages. The extent of your section is determined from the sectional plans filed in the Deeds Office. The client should always check precisely what he is buying before he buys it. It often happens that estate agents and even sellers are unaware of what they own and that unsuspecting owners are ‘given’ less than they bargained for when the transfer takes place.

A unit is comprised of a section in a scheme, together with an undivided share of the common property in the scheme, calculated in accordance with the owner of the unit’s participation quota in the scheme. When a purchaser buys into a scheme he doesn’t only buy his section, he also buys a bit of common property and he owns a bit of the common property along with every other owner, but in undivided shares ( it can’t physically be divided up and allocated to each of the co-owners individually).

2. Exclusive use areas

These are portions of the common property in respect of which an owner will pay a levy for the exclusive right of use of the said area and which can then be used exclusively by the owner, to the exclusion of all other owners in the body corporate.

Common types of exclusive use areas include parking bays, gardens, storerooms, and balconies. However, as above, you need to check the sectional plans (and sometimes the body corporate rules) to determine whether a particular piece of ground is an exclusive use area, part of a section or part of the common property.

There are two types of exclusive use right – those shown on the sectional plan and those recorded in the scheme’s rules. Exclusive use areas are transferred or allocated to an owner in a scheme in a different way to which a unit is transferred to an owner, so a purchaser needs to check that any parking bay, storeroom, garden, etc., that he is buying, is being ceded or otherwise allocated to him at the same time as transfer passes to him of his unit.

3. Common property

This is the remainder of all of the land that comprises the scheme (including exclusive use areas but excluding owners’ sections). All common property is owned by all of the owners in the scheme in undivided shares based on the owner’s participation quota and is for the use and benefit of all members of a scheme. An example would include a pool area or a communal garden or the driveway. The rights of use of common property areas can, however, be limited in terms of the rules of the scheme. It is essential for a purchaser to check the rules thoroughly to ensure that he is happy with them before he signs a sale agreement purchasing a unit in the scheme.

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