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.
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Who Karien Coetzee?
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.