Sectional title owners often wonder who is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of their units and who is responsible for those of the common areas. Considering the levies paid and the investment into a property, this is a very relevant question with a fairly easy answer.
Maintenance in sectional title schemes is regulated by the Sectional Titles Scheme Management Act 8 of 2011 (“The STSMA”) which provides that the body corporate must maintain the common property while unit owners must each maintain their own section. Exclusive use areas are the responsibility of both the owner and the body corporate.
Before developers build these complexes, a plan will be drawn up which will establish the areas of common property and those of the individual owners. This will make it clear to both the body corporate and the owners of who will be responsible to maintain certain areas.
Common use areas
Common property can be identified as gardens and walkways, swimming pools, play areas for children and shared parking facilities. In effect, this would mean that land and parts of the building that are not included in a section, would be clarified as common property and the maintenance thereof is the responsibility of the body corporate. The maintenance of these areas are covered by the levies paid by the owners. Levies also cover the garden services, waste removal, cleaning and pool services.
Exclusive use areas
Property owners are responsible for the inside of the unit. This will include pipes, wires, cables and ducts; anything inside the unit that supplies a utility service to that section.
Exclusive use areas are areas that is still part of the body corporate, but an owner have been given exclusive right of use, such as garages and driveway gardens.
The foundations, shared walls between the sections as well as the windows and doors in the exterior walls of sections are part of the common property and part of the owner’s section. This would make it both the responsibility of the owner and the body corporate to maintain. The expenses will be split equally for the repair and maintenance.
The STSMA also requires schemes to have a reserve fund also known as the 10-year maintenance plan for unforeseen maintenance and repairs of the common property.