Complicated procedure for extensions under the Sectional Titles Act makes life a lot easier for all
ACCORDING to Section 24 of the Sectional Titles Act of 1986, owners wanting to extend the floor areas or boundaries of their sections must obtain special permission from body corporate members.
The owners do not have an automatic right to extend their sections, similar to the right of owners of freestanding properties to extend their houses subject to local authority consent.
You could argue that the act makes the lives of sectional title owners unduly complicated by requiring special authorisation for extensions, but the stipulation has important implications.
As a result of the increase in the floor area or boundaries of a section, the participation quota (PQ) of a section will also increase. The PQ of a residential section is determined by dividing the floor area by the total floor area of all the residential sections in the scheme. In the absence of a rule to the contrary, the PQ of a section determines the proportion in which an owner pays levies. Any increase in the PQ will therefore lead to an increase in the levy amount payable by an owner.
If the special resolution to extend a section was not taken, a land sur- veyor would not be able to amend sectional plans of extension and a conveyancer would not be able to register any amending plans in the deeds registry. Amending sectional plans of extension will include a new PQ schedule, which will indicate the increase in the PQ of the section. The levy increase cannot be enforced in the absence of registered amending plans of extension and an amended PQ schedule.
The replacement value of sections for insurance purposes is determined in accordance with the area of each section, which is indicated on the PQ schedule. If amending sectional plans of extension are not registered, the replacement value of a section is not accurately calculated as no amended PQ schedule has been registered in the deeds registry. This could lead to the owner being under-insured.
The trustees of the body corporate should also be involved in the process of extending a section, as the trustees should approve the building plans before they go to the local authority. It is important for the trustees to approve the draft building plans so they do not detract from the building’s appearance.
Judith van der Walt is a Cape Town attorney, notary and conveyancer. E-mail email@example.com.