Consumer Information

Author:  Auren Freitas dos Santos
Founder and Director of The Community Schemes Advisory Inc
29 September 2020

What you should know about the Sectional Title Amendment Bill

The minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, recently published the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, 2020, which she intends on presenting to Parliament before the end of the year.

The Bill is aimed at amending the Sectional Titles Act and will have no impact on the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act or the day to day running of established bodies corporate – therefore sectional title trustees and owners have little to be concerned about.

It is aimed at “giving additional protections to tenants and other people who hold the lease of a property”.

“Ultimately it will bring about some useful, practical tweaks aimed at providing more flexibility for developers at the pre-establishment stage of a body corporate,” says Auren Freitas dos Santos – Founder and Director of The Community Schemes Advisory Inc.

An explanatory memorandum published by the department includes the following proposed changes:  can be viewed here:

  • Make it a requirement for developers to have a meeting with every lessee of a building in instances where part of such building is to be wholly or partially let for residential purposes – as well as to answer questions put to the developer by the agents of the lessees;
  • Provide that a certificate issued by an architect or a land surveyor must also comply with section 26(2) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act;
  • Further provide for the amendment of sectional plans in respect of exclusive use areas;
  • Provide for the amendment and cancellation of a deed upon an order of the court
  • Provide for a developer to submit a plan for subdivision or consolidation to the surveyor-general for approval to subdivide, consolidate and to extend a section.
  • Make allowances for the filing of replacement documentation in respect of lost or destroyed documents
  • Amend the provisions relating to the extension of a scheme.

What should sectional title trustees and owners know?

“As mentioned, the Bill does not pose any real threat to the daily lives of sectional title trustees and owners. But is of real interest to conveyancers and developers that regularly deal with matters pertaining to sectional titles and the registration thereof,” says Freitas dos Santos.

She says it is however important to reiterate that trustees and owners should always increase their level of compliance with the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act and the Community Schemes Ombud Services Act by paying closer attention to the day to day management of their sectional title scheme.

There are however a number of common sectional title management problems that we have identified over the years that deserve closer attention and scrutiny by owners and trustees alike.

These common day to day management problems stem from the following failures:

  1. The body corporate’s failure to utilise the processes provided in terms of the prescribed management rules to make arrangements for owners to attend annual general meetings during the national lockdown by way of Zoom or other methods of remote attendance.
  2. The body corporate’s failure to understand the extent to which it has the power to regulate an owner’s right to let their unit on a short-term basis. Click here to read more;
  3. The body corporate’s failure to regulate the allocation and use of common property parking bays. Click here to read more;
  4. The body corporate’s failure to review and update its management and conduct rules. Click here to read more;
  5. The body corporate’s failure to prepare a written maintenance, repair and replacement plan for the common property;
  6. The body corporate’s failure to raise and collect contributions to the scheme’s reserve fund in terms of the maintenance, repair and replacement plan;
  7. The body corporate’s failure to use the cost effective levy debt collection process allowed in terms of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act. Click here to read more;
  8. The body corporate’s failure to file its annual returns with the Community Schemes Ombud Service;
  9. The body corporate’s failure to comply with requests made by owners to inspect the scheme’s records within 10 days as required in terms of the prescribed management rules;
  10. The failure of owners to use their sections in accordance with the purposes for which it is intended to be used; and
  11. The failure of owners to notify the body corporate any time that there is a change of occupancy in their section.

The Community Schemes Advisory is a leading boutique firm specialising exclusively in community schemes law – for more info www.theadvisory.co.za

The original article can be viewed here: