Exclusive use area rights must be registered

Exclusive use areas, a common feature in sectional title properties, often cause uncertainty in the minds of property owners when it comes to rights over this land.

March 3, 2016

When buying a property that includes exclusive use of a particular demarkated area of the common property, it is important to understand the requirements in terms of necessary paperwork to ensure rights to these areas are transferred correctly.

The first step is to understand the structure of sectional title ownership. A sectional title property owner has full ownership over the specific section within the scheme which he purchased. He also enjoys joint ownership, along with all other owners within the sectional scheme, of all the common areas which form part of the scheme. This often means that outdoor areas such as gardens, balconies and parking areas are jointly owned by all owners and can therefore be used by all owners.

However, it is possible for all the owners, or members of the sectional scheme, to agree that the owner of a particular section will have exclusive use over a particular area. This makes practical sense so that owners have designated parking bays or garages, or have sole use of the garden or balcony that is directly attached to their section.

Ensuring that the terms of this agreement are both clear and accessible is vital to avoid any uncertainty. This becomes particularly important when dealing with the transfer of a sectional title property as the relevant exclusive use rights should be transferred by way of notarial cession along with the transfer of property ownership. There are two ways to ensure this is done, and the most common of these is to register these rights along with the title deeds at the Deeds Office in accordance with the Sectional Titles Act of 1986.

When a property owner begins the process of selling their property, they are required to inform the relevant estate agent and transfer attorney of the property ownership details. This includes specifying which portion of land is owned, and declaring any areas over which the owner has exclusive use rights.

This information will then be included in a separate notarial cession and lodged along with the property transfer documents at the Deeds Office, resulting in a real right (exclusive use area) being ceded to the new owner. Once registered, rights over the exclusive use area will be permanently attached to the ownership of the relevant property until such time as a new agreement is entered into between all owners of the sectional scheme.

Written by Wessel de Kock

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