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Frequently Asked Questions

If an owner rents his unit to a third party – does he have to notify the Body Corporate?

Yes. Section 44 (1)(f) of the Act states that an owner shall notify the Body Corporate of any change of ownership, or of mortage changes or any other dealings in connection with his section.

Can an owner who is in arrears vote at a General Meeting?

Fortunately not in most cases! The Act in Prescribed Management Rule 64 states that an owner shall not be entitled to vote at any general meeting if any contributions payable by him in respect of his section have not been paid – except in cases where a special or unanimous resolution is required.

What is the difference between “full title” and “sectional title”?

In short :

In Full title the members form a Homeowners Association – In Sectional Title the members form a Body Corporate.

In Full Title the Association is a Section 21 Company governed by the Companies Act 61 of 1973 and the Memorandum and Articles of the Association– In Sectional Title the Body Corporate is governed by the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986

In Full Title the members at a general meeting elect a Board of Directors to handle the day to day management – In Sectional Title the members at a general meeting elect Trustees.

In Full Title you own your own stand – in Sectional Title you own an undivided share of the stand the complex was built on.

In Full Title you maintain your own unit – in Sectional Title the outside of your unit is common property and maintained by the Body Corporate.

What is a participation quota?

The participation quota (PQ) of a section is a percentage expressed to four decimal places (i.e. 0,3488). It is calculated by dividing the floor area of a section by the sum of the floor areas of all the sections in the scheme (i.e. the larger a section, the larger and PQ and the other way around). The PQ determines the size of the owner’s undivided share in the common property ; it determines the value of the vote of an owner at a general meeting (where the votes are determined by value); and most importantly it determines the amount of the monthly levy payable per section (unless otherwise decided by the Developer in the beginning or the Body Corporate)

What is a section?

A section can be either a specific portion of a building (a flat) or a building in itself (a townhouse). A section must be shown on the sectional plan and each section is given a different number. The section number does not need to correspond with the door number. Lock-up garages may either be common property (with or without exclusive use rights) or constitute separate sections.

We had an Annual General Meeting last night, but the Managing Agent said that “there wasn’t a quorum present so the meeting has to be postponed”

Prescribed Management Rule 57 states that no business shall be transacted at any general meeting unless a quorum of persons is present in person or by proxy and entitled to vote at the time when the meeting was scheduled to start.

A quorum at a general meeting shall be :

  • 50% of the owners where there are 10 sections or less
  • 35% of the owners where there are less than 50 but more than 10 sections
  • 20%of the owners where there are more than 50 sections

The Act also prescribes in Prescribed Management Rule 58 that if a quorum is not present within half an hour the meeting will be adjourned to the same day, same time, same place the next week. That is why it is so important that owners attend meetings and where possible give their proxy to another owner or the Chairman when they cannot attend the meeting.

The Developer sold the last of his units in our complex, but still owns a number of exclusive use garages that he rents out to residents.

The Act stipulates in section 27(1)(b) that all exclusive use areas in the developer’s name are to be ceded (free of charge) to the Body Corporate when the last section in his name is transfer to a new owner.

I am selling my unit and the Managing Agent gave amounts outstanding to the Body Corporate to the transferring attorneys? What is a clearance certificate and why do I have to pay for it and not the buyer?

Section 15B of the Act contains a requirement that the Registrar of Deeds may not register the transfer of a section until a certificate has been produced by the conveyancer that no money is owing to the Body Corporate as at the date of registration. As transfer will not be registered and the certificate is applying to amounts owed by the seller – the seller is required to pay for the certificate. The buyer and seller can however decide to make an arrangement that the buyer will pay for it.

What is the difference between a “special resolution” and a “unanimous resolution”?

A special resolution can be passed in one of the following ways :
  • It can be submitted in writing to all owners to accept the resolution or not. It is then required that at least 75% (seventy five percent) of all members of the Body Corporate agree to the resolution in writing.
  • A general meeting can be called. 30 (thirty) days' notice must be given to all members of the Body Corporate. The notice must specify the proposed resolution. At the meeting a normal quorum is needed and 75% (seventy five percent) of the members present at the meeting must agree to the passing of the resolution.

A unanimous resolution can be passed in one of the following ways :
  • It can be submitted in writing to all owners to accept the resolution or not. It is then required that 100% (one hundred percent) of all members of the Body Corporate agree to the resolution in writing.
  • A general meeting can be called. 30 (thirty) days' notice must be given to all members of the Body Corporate. The notice must specify the proposed resolution. At the meeting a quorum of 80% (eighty percent) of all members of the Body Corporate is needed and all the members present at the meeting must agree to the passing of the resolution. Also any owner whose proprietary rights are affected by the proposed resolution must consent in writing.

We have a set of House Rules drawn up by the Trustees. A new resident in the complex have told us that they are not enforceable?

Conduct Rules are drawn up by either the Developer or the Trustees and must be approved with a special resolution taken by the Body Corporate. Thereafter the Conduct Rules must be filed at the Deeds Office. Only then do the Rules become enforceable.

At every Annual General Meeting we have an item on the agenda about “directions or restrictions in terms of section 39(1)” – what does it mean?

Section 39(1) of the Act allows the members of the Body Corporate to issue directions to and place restrictions on the Trustees. It is often used to restrict the Trustees from spending more than a certain amount of money on any item without consulting the members, but it can also be used to direct them to carry out certain actions – i.e. investigate the Conduct Rules etc.

My neighbour has not paid his levies for months and now the unit has been sold – will we have to pay a special levy to cover the cost of the unpaid levies on his unit?

Section 15B(3) of the Act stipulates that the Registrar shall not register a transfer of a unit unless there is produced to him a certificate from the Body Corporate certifying that all monies due to the Body Corporate have been paid.

The Trustees told me that the roof of my unit only protects me, so that means that I have the exclusive use of the roof and are responsible for maintenance thereof. Is this true?

Exclusive use rights are either registered – in which case it is shown on the sectional plan registered at the Surveyor General’s Office and at the Deeds Office – or it can be created under the Rules filed at the Deeds Office. Anything else is not exclusive use areas. You are therefore not responsible for the maintenance of your section’s roof as it is common property and must be maintained by the Body Corporate.

Do we have to charge an extra levy for exclusive use areas?

Section 37(1)(b) of the Sectional Titles Act requires owners who have the benefit of exclusive use areas, either registered in terms of the Act or created under the Rules of the 1971 Act, to make extra contributions (call it an exclusive use levy) to cover the costs of rates, taxes, maintenance and insurance for this area. Exclusive use areas created under the rules of the current Act are not automatically required by the Act to be levied a contribution – unless it is specifically required by the rule that created them.

I want to be on the Body Corporate, but the Trustees told me that only owners of units in the complex can be on the Body Corporate?

Your Trustees are correct! The Body Corporate consists of all owners of sections in the scheme. At a general meeting the Body Corporate elects Trustees – if this is what you want to be! – The Sectional Titles Act in Prescribed Management Rule 5 states that a Trustee or alternate Trustee shall not be required t o be an owner in order to qualify for office as a Trustee provided that the majority of Trustees are owners or spouses of owners.

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