Sectional Titles

Duplicated names

There is no statutory or regulatory obligation on SurveyorsGeneral or Registrars of Deeds to disallow the duplication of names assigned to sectional title schemes upon approval of the sectional plans or upon opening of the Sectional Title Register.

This oversight by the legislator has given rise to numerous instances where objection was made to the duplication of a name, more specifically in instances where a name is registered with CIPRO as a trademark, and the matter having to be resolved in a court of law.

It would appear as if the Surveyor General in KwaZuluNatal does not allow the duplication of a scheme name in the same local authority area. This practice still does not solve the problem of names registered as trademarks. Duplications in other local authority areas could still result in lengthy court disputes.

Research as shown that in numerous instances, certain Bodies Corporate, in view of changed circumstances, have changed the name allocated to the scheme as same was no longer acceptable to the majority of the members. In view of the fact that no enabling legislation exists to change the name of the scheme, the body corporate merely assigns a new name to the scheme which then appears on signage, correspondence, etc. This causes major confusion to all and sundry and should be frowned upon and not be allowed.

Should a court be approached to change the name of a Sectional Title Scheme, the Surveyor General should be instructed to amend the sectional plans and in turn notify the Registrar of Deeds concerned to note a caveat against the scheme. However, this is a costly and drawn out procedure (see in this regard RCR 68 of 2008).

It is submitted that the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986, or regulations promulgated thereunder should cater for the change of name of a Sectional Title Scheme name, as well as to prevent Surveyors General from registering sectional plans duplicating names, specifically names reserved as trademarks.

The matter will be referred to the Sectional Title Regulation Board meeting, but in the interim and until the act or regulations is amended we do have an intolerable situation.
Allen West
Deeds Training

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