Anton Kelly

For those who own sectional title property, or are thinking of becoming a sectional title owner, it’s worthwhile having a basic understanding of how a sectional title scheme is developed.

The process begins when the developer acquires a portion of land or a suitable building. The developer must have a sectional plan prepared, approved and registered. It’s important to note that a sectional plan is not the same as a building plan, indeed the two are very different and serve completely different purposes.

The purpose of the sectional plan is to show how the building or buildings are divided into sections and common property. It’s vital to understand the distinction between sections and common property because the sections are individually owned but the common property is owned by all the owners in shares. The significant point is that owners pay all the costs of maintaining their own sections but share all the costs relating to the common property.

The sectional plan must be prepared from actual measurements, so the building must either exist or be sufficiently complete for measurement to be taken. The completed draft sectional plan is sent to the local Surveyor General for approval. Once approved, the developer applies to the local Registrar of Deeds for the registration of the sectional plan and the opening of a sectional title register for the new scheme. It’s useful to know that included in this application is a certificate that says what rules apply to the scheme. The effect of the opening of the register for the scheme is that the property ceases to be conventional land and becomes sectional title property.

The next step is for the developer to transfer the units to the new owners. The transfer of the first unit from the developer to a third person is the legal act that establishes the body corporate of the scheme. Usually all the units are transferred at the same time but the developer could retain some for later sale. If that happens, the developer becomes one of the owners in the scheme, a member of the body corporate (as are all owners), bound by the rules, entitled to vote, and liable to pay levies for the unit or units they own.

The final step in the development process is the first meeting of the body corporate. From the date the body corporate comes into existence until this first meeting, all owners are trustees – so there could be many, all of whom have a fiduciary duty to the body corporate – and the developer is the chairperson.

The developer must convene the first meeting within 60 days of the establishment of the body corporate. At the first meeting the developer hands over control of the scheme to the body corporate, the members approve a budget, elect trustees, and assume control of the scheme. The persons elected as trustees must then meet, elect a chairperson, and most important really, raise the first levy so that the scheme can function independently of the developer.

A well planned scheme adequately managed and with appropriate rules should function well and be a pleasure to live in.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 12, Issue 01, Page 02.

Anton Kelly is an extremely knowledgeable specialist Sectional Title and HOA teacher and consultant. Having been the lead teacher on all the Paddocks courses for the last 7 years, Anton lives and breathes Sectional Title and HOA law, all day every day. There are not many issues he hasn’t come across before.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Back to Paddocks Press – January 2017 Edition.


  • Greg King
    25/01/2017 11:15

    Dear Paddocks,
    Please could you advise:
    For the purpose of a delineation between ‘common property’ and ‘exclusive use property’ – how is this determined? Does ‘Median line’ come into the equation?
    Is the outside wall of an exclusive use area the responsibility of the body corporate or the owner?
    Is roof maintenance of an exclusive use area the responsibility of the body corporate or of the owner?
    Is gutter maintenance of an exclusive use area the responsibility of the body corporate or of the owner?
    Greg King

    • Paddocks
      09/02/2017 10:01

      Dear Greg,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,

  • Hi Paddocks

    Thanks for the informative article , we as new development have gone through the steps above. please advise the steps as to how to transfer ownership for entire complex onto a body corporate. All individual units have been transferred onto the unit holders names its just the municipal accounts as well as the body corporate that have to be registered that we require?

    Many thanks

    • Paddocks
      06/07/2018 13:24

      Hi Wesley,

      Thank you for your comment. We would love to help but unfortunately do not give free advice.

      Please email with a bit more detail on the situation at hand and the name of the scheme, and our attorneys will provide a no-obligation quote for assistance with this matter.

      Kind regards

  • Simphiwe
    14/08/2018 10:15

    Hi Paddocks, but what if a developer wants to develop a sectional title scheme on two adjoining plots of land ? Which steps he must take before he can sell sectional title units erected on the land and have the units registered in the names of the purchasers?

    • Paddocks
      17/08/2018 09:01

      Hi Simphiwe,

      Thank you for your comment. We would love to help, however we do not give free advice. Here’s how we can help:

      – We offer a 1-week Free Basics of Sectional Title short course.
      – We offer consulting via telephone for R490 for 10 minutes. Please call us on 021 686 3950.
      – We have Paddocks Club, an exclusive online club, to help you get answers to your questions about community schemes.

      Kind regards,

  • Dale Obermeyer
    28/08/2018 10:47

    Please advise if your 1-week Free Basics of Sectional Title short course is every held in Johannesburg?

    • Paddocks
      31/08/2018 13:01

      Hi Dale,

      The Free Basics of Sectional Title short course is online, via the internet. No workshop is held for this 1-week short course.

      Click here to register.

      Kind regards,

  • Thankgod
    02/07/2020 09:15

    I would like to know if upon all paper work and fully paid for sectional title scheme unit, which its transfer to my name are underway at the transferring attorneys.

    do i have the right to move into the unit, pending the transfer completion? hence i have fully paid for the unit including their transferring attorney fees.

    • Paddocks
      06/07/2020 10:33

      Hi Thankgod,

      Thank you for your comment.

      This is something our attorneys would be able to assist with. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,