The building insurance of the body corporate would usually cover this insurance claim. There are two types of cover: repair or replacement. Some insurance companies, however, do not offer a repair option, they only offer replacement cover.  

The excess amounts will vary from building to building, depending on what the trustees decide, what the claims history is and how many replacements have had to be done in that scheme.  

There are many who do not realise that most insurance companies offer a “geyser hotline”, where help to find a plumber and replacement is expedited. The insurance company would give the owner details of preferred service providers and in most cases there would be a reduction in the insurance excess payment or, in some cases, no insurance excess payable at all, if the owner uses the insurance company’s preferred service providers, says Bauer. 

Individual water meters for ST units
Water costs, in most cases, are a body corporate’s single largest expense. This is mainly due to bulk water meter systems being installed in most developments pre-2004. 

“In many cases we find that tenants and owners in sectional title schemes are not too concerned with water usage as this has always been an expense carried by the body corporate,” says Johann le Roux, Executive Director of Propell. 

He says they are not too concerned with leaking toilets, geysers or taps as the perception is that this amount will be covered by the body corporate and therefore included in their levy amounts. 

In many sectional title schemes over-crowding of units has become an issue and due to the bulk water meter systems, the smaller households end up ‘sponsoring’ the over-crowded units. 

Notwithstanding the environmental impact of water wastage that will catch up with society soon enough, there is a fear that water tariffs will go the same way as electricity costs in the near future. 

New sectional title Act explained
In mid-2011 it was announced that two new Acts affecting Sectional Title and Community Schemes in South Africa had been signed by the President and were expected to become operational by the end of the same year. However, the end of 2012 is in sight and these two Acts still remain non-operational.  Martin Bester, Managing Director of Intersect Sectional Title Services offers a synopsis on what these two Acts are about and, once operational, what they will mean for Sectional Title and Community Schemes. 

“The first is the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, and although the application of this Act is yet to be tested, the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act will seek to assist bodies corporate to manage and regulate sectional title schemes and to establish a sectional title schemes management advisory council."  

According to Bester, who sits on the board of the Residential and Sectional Title Committee of SAPOA and is a committee member of the Sectional Title Regulations Board, the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Advisory Council will be tasked with making recommendations and advising the Minister on the provisions of the act, as well as keeping the implementation of the Act and the regulations under regular review. 

Suspensive clauses must have due dates
When putting in an offer to purchase on a property, all clauses of any nature where there is a requirement of performance on a party need to have a date by which this must be performed or there will be negative consequences.

This is according to says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, who says frequently, real estate agents write clauses into a sales agreement, forgetting to put in a date. 

What are the implications of this? 

In a recent Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes newsletter, the case Hanuschke Beleggings CC v Kungwini Local Municipality shows that the agreement will lapse if the conditions are not filled in a reasonable time.  

In this case an agreement of sale did not give a due date for the suspensive clauses in the contract and the sale lapsed, says Seward.  

Here Hanuschke was informed in August 1996 that the sale was going ahead and that the suspensive conditions were in the process of being fulfilled. In February 1997 another confirmation of this came through but by February 1998, even after being told that the processes were still going ahead this was not done. 

Rental protection for tenant defaults
During the current economic downturn, defaults in rentals have escalated.This can have devastating consequences for landlords, not only because of massive utility and repair bills that may be left behind after tenants abscond or high legal costs associated with eviction, but also because many property owners could lose their properties.

Lee Greeff, who heads up the Amanzimtoti office of South Africa’s leading rental and management group, Just Letting division of Just Property Group, believes that RentSecure, a rental guarantee policy, is the best means of handling this problem proactively.

As a result, his office has secured the largest number of RentSecure agreements nationally this year.

RentSecure was developed over the past two years in conjunction with Just Finance, another division of Just Property Group.