Com­pli­cated pro­ce­dure for ex­ten­sions un­der the Sec­tional Ti­tles Act makes life a lot eas­ier for all

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY - JU­DITH VAN DER WALT

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 ju­dith@95of86.co.za.

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