Sectional Title Ownership – what do you actually own and what can you do with the property?
Category Sectional Titles and Body Corporate
This article is aimed at the person who has bought or is either considering buying an apartment, a townhouse or a flat and is meant to clarify some of the terminology.
In the past, if you viewed a sectional title property, you might have heard:
- The garage can be converted into a study, store room or an additional bedroom
- The patio can be extended
- You can easily erect a carport
- The balcony can be enclosed
- A jaccuzi, splash pool or lapa would be ideal over here
Just to mention a few!
This sounds great but it is more than likely impossible in Sectional Title Schemes and if you don't follow procedure, you might just have to undo all your luxurious improvements, at your own expense.
Sectional title schemes appear most commonly in traditional residential homes in the form of flats, townhouses and apartments but have also become popular in office complexes, buildings, multi-unit warehouses and small factory units.
When you purchase property in a sectional title scheme or complex what you buy is a “section” or even “sections”. These sections are an undivided share of the common property. It is important to understand that the section owners own and responsible for extends to the centre of outside or dividing walls, the inside of the ceiling and the top portion of the floor itself.
A unit within a sectional scheme or townhouse complex can be defined as a section together with its allocated share in the common property.
A Sectional Plan is a formal survey document/documentation which clearly defines the borders or boundary of all of the various sections that are held within the relevant sectional title scheme together with information pertaining to the various exclusive use areas and the resultant PQ’s (participation quotas). PQ’s can be defined as the “share” that any particular section has in the common property in a sectional title scheme. The complexes sectional plan will include a participation quota schedule which clearly allocates a specific share to each section. This quota is used to assess and calculate what each owner’s portion of the complexes common expenditure together with the “value” of every title holders “vote”.
The common property is made up of those parts of portions of a sectional title complex or scheme which aren’t part and parcel of a particular “section”.
Swimming pools, driveways, passageways and entranceways would be good examples of these.
So what do you actually own and what can you do?
Going back to basic art, we attempted to include some of the most important definitions of sectional title ownership above and also demonstrate the classifications in the infographic.
To cut a "long story short(er)”, you only own the structure starting from the middle of the outer wall of the section to the inside. This is indicated by the ----------- line on the infographic above.
You may NOT do ANYTHING to any area outside your section without written consent from the trustees or home owners, depending on what you would like to do. This may come as a surprise but while we are at it, we might just mention a few things that you should consider obtaining permission for before you carry on regardless:
- TV aerials, DSTV or any other receptive devices.
- Air-conditioning units
- Wall spikes, electric fence, security beams (watch dogs included), cameras or additional lights
- Planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, grass, any plants or the replacement thereof with paving or concrete
- Placing of potted plants on balconies or any other communal areas
- Fixing your first class, hand made family name pottery crafts outside your front door
- Welcome mats, garden furniture or
- Unauthorised pets and their pooh...
How do you extend your unit in a sectional title complex?
It is possible but it isn’t simple! You will need to have amongst other things the approval of the relevant authority at a municipal level, approval of the body corporate, have a surveyor draft a Sectional title plan of extension and have this approved by the Surveyor General, obtain consent of bondholders.
Source – Sectional Title Diaries
Author: Sectional Title Diaries