CHANGING TO A SECTIONAL TITLE DUET SCHEME
The term 'duet' scheme is a description for a sectional title development that consists of only two dwellings. Typically these are created on land that cannot be subdivided. A 'mini' sectional title scheme is then created, consisting of two sections only and these may be separate dwellings or semi-detached.
BUT WHAT IS A SECTIONAL TITLE SCHEME?
Sectional title living has become very popular due, partly, to a sense that such schemes offer improved security and a more communal way of living. Buying in a sectional title scheme also tends to be more affordable which makes it easier for young people to own their own property.
The concept 'sectional title' describes the separate ownership of units or sections within a complex or development. When you buy into a sectional title complex, you purchase a section or sections together with an undivided share of the common property. A sectional title unit may refer to anything from a small house, a semi-detached house, a townhouse, a flat or apartment to a duet house.
Ownership of sectional title property involves a number of elements, as the owner owns a section plus an undivided share in the common property. All the sections together with common property comprise "the sectional title scheme".
The "common property" refers to the areas which are utilised by all owners, e.g. the grounds, driveways, roads, recreation facilities, corridors, entrance areas and exterior of the building.
When a client recently approached us with the question whether he can convert his mountain-facing property to sectional title, the one part of the house constituting one unit, and the other a second sectional title unit, the answer was yes, the Sectional Titles Act allows for this.
The building work involved with the process will require municipal building plan approval. However, provided the planned building complies with all building line, title deed, zoning scheme and town planning provisions (and certified as such by a land surveyor), no municipal/local authority approval for the opening of the sectional title scheme is required. If it deviates, local authority and or court approval must be obtained. In addition, if there is a bond over the property being developed, the bondholder must consent to the opening of the sectional title register.
Owners in these duet arrangements must comply with the Sectional Titles Act. Accordingly, both owners have joint liability, responsibility and use of the common property areas and must agree on and maintain the common property and amenities, insurance and the like. They need to conduct meetings, take minutes, manage a bank account, collect levies and issue clearance certificates where one owner decides to sell a unit.
You may require assistance in this regard, especially if neither of the owners have knowledge of managing a sectional title scheme and the Sectional Titles Act.
Contact the property law experts at www.stbb.co.za