By Anton Kelly
Anton KellyOwners of units in sectional titles schemes are responsible for the repair and maintenance of their sections but share the general costs of running the scheme. They do this by contributing to an administrative fund from which the scheme’s expenses are paid.
STSM courseThe share that each owner contributes to the administrative fund is usually, in the absence of a rule made in terms of section 32(4), calculated according to the participation quota (PQ) allocated to the section or sections that they own. This is in accordance with section 32(3)(c) of the Sectional Titles Act (the Act), and is commonly referred to as “the levy”.  

In addition to owning their sections, owners may also hold rights of exclusive use over portions of the common property. These areas are most commonly parking bays and gardens. Owners who hold exclusive use rights are obliged by section 37(1)(b) of the Act to pay all the costs attributable to the areas over which they hold the rights. They do this by making an additional contribution to the administrative fund, although the contribution might, in practice, just be included in their monthly levy account.   

Exclusive use areas can also be areas or facilities used, not just by one owner, but by groups of owners. Large garden areas, access roads in very large schemes and even satellite TV services are examples. But how are the costs attributable to these areas shared by the owners who share their exclusive use? On the face of it, they should pay according to their participation quotas because they are, after all, paying the costs attributable to a portion of the common property. But these areas are not being used by all the owners in the scheme and only that specific group of owners are paying the costs. Section 37(1)(b) makes the costs attributable to exclusive use areas, the responsibility of the owner, or owners, who hold the rights of  exclusive use. This suggests that the contribution should rather be shared equally among the owners who share the exclusive use.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 6, Issue 5, Page 2
Anton Kelly is one of the Course Conveners of the University of Cape Town (Law@Work) Sectional Title Scheme Management course. The next presentation will start on 20 June 2011.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license

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