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Sectional title corner – How do we convert to full title?


Hi, I have three questions:

#1 I would like to know who is responsible for repairing electrical cables. We live in a small sectional title complex and the chairman of the body corporate is also the developer. We have been battling this problem for some time and every now and then it gets repaired, with cables hanging everywhere. Apparently, the municipality has given him a week to sort out the problem, imposing a fine. He has now decided to only fix the cables near his units and has told the other owners that they need to fix the cables near their own units because he doesn’t have the funds.

#2 Last year he imposed a 67% increase in the levy, thanks to his majority votes, but no maintenance gets carried out. What the money gets used for is anyone’s guess. What options do we have?

#3 What is the procedure to convert a sectional title home to full title, and what are the costs involved?


#1 If the complex is within the first five years of existence there is a claim against the developer for work not completed/properly done. If the council gave him a penalty and instruction to fix it – in his capacity as the developer then the owners should just refuse to do the work – let him face council! If the penalty was issued to the body corporate it will have to be done and paid for by the body corporate (as it is common property) and then they can claim the money back from the developer. The only problem is that should you want to take legal action against the developer you would need to get a special resolution passed first – and the way you describe it he still has the majority vote. You can also – as an owner – think of going to the NHBRC to lay a complaint against the developer.

#2 It is your right as an owner to inspect the books of account of the body corporate. Should the trustees not do the necessary maintenance – the new Act since 7 October 2016 even forces them to have a proper maintenance plan in place and to create a reserve fund – you can go to the Community Schemes Ombud.

#3 It is not always possible to convert from sectional title to full title. You will have to consult an attorney to assist you with the process. The first step will be to see if there is any way that the units are freestanding and can therefore each have their own stand/erf/portion of an erf. You can confirm this with your council, before you even consult an attorney and start paying money. It is difficult to estimate costs as attorneys and councils differ. Your attorney will, therefore be able to give you a quote.

Got a burning question? Email david@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist you

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Who Karien Coetzee?

Karien Coetzee, national property management consultant at Trafalgar.

Karien Coetzee, national property management consultant at Trafalgar.

Karien Coetzee is the national property management consultant at property management company, Trafalgar. She holds qualifications in sectional title schemes management and homeowners association management.


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Review overview
  • Craig 13th February 2017

    I see the CSOS as a tool to find out which white people own property. Making it easy for the government (ANC) to take the property and assets of white people without compensation. Mandela promised his supporters he would do this. And now the ANC wants to honour his legacy with the Freedom Charter and Land Expropriation Bill.

  • Laura Niermann 4th October 2017

    The previous owner of our semi-detached free-standing house (with only a dividing wall between ourselves and our neighbour) registered the property as a Sectional Title. We have lived here for 15 years and have never had a Body Corporate, nor have we collected, paid or raised levies. Both ourselves and our neighbour pay utility bills separately, i.e. rates and taxes (not joint, although we are not sure here that we are perhaps not paying too much), water and electricity and refuse charges. There are no plans for our specific property and I am in the process of trying to sort this out perhaps via the Johannesburg-based Deeds Office and the Surveyor General’s office in Pretoria. The whole situation is a nightmare because we keep getting excessive billing charges for water when there are only two people living in our semi who do not have a swimming pool or a garden (only potted plants) and we may want to sell this property next year as we are considering emigration. Could you please advise?