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Many owners don’t understand how sectional title works



It is a pity that a substantial number of owners buy into sectional title complexes without understanding how they really work.

Most importantly, they don’t understand that they are becoming part of a community that is run on democratic principles where the majority rules.

So often we have individual owners that don’t understand why a building is not being run the way that they want it to be run.

Body corporates are made up of every owner in the building or complex and each owner has a say at a general meeting.

They are able to vote on any item that is raised based on both one vote per owner and, importantly, a vote based on the size of their unit.

So, for example, a bachelor flat of 30 square meters would have a third of the vote of a three-bedroom flat of 100 square meters.

In practice, this really happens as most agreements are usually done by consensus – vast majority of owners, if not all, agree to the decision taken.

But there is always one owner who does not understand why he cannot have his way.

In one of our buildings, an owner is complaining because he feels that the body corporate (the trustees) and/or the managing agents are charging too much for electricity.

It has been explained that the charges are metered and charged out at exactly the same rate as the Centlec rate and that the building makes no profit on the resale of electricity.

On top of that, at his insistence, the body corporate has received a quotation from Centlec for putting individual pre-paid meters directly connected to Centlec.

Apparently, the quotation has confirmed that the current system gives the cheapest electricity and that everything is working fine.
The cost of the changeover for just 14 units is something like R160 000 or R11 500 per unit.

The other owners have decided not to go this route as their electricity would actually be on a higher tariff, apart from which they don’t have R11 500 each or a special levy to make this change.

But our one owner is still not happy and has complained to the Community Schemes Ombud Service.

It is clear that this owner should never live in a sectional title scheme.

Rather, he should sell and go and live in a free-standing home where he would have to pay for everything for himself.

As it is, he is in arrears on his normal levy and is unhappy that he has been handed over for collection as a result.

Sectional title schemes work well when they are well managed and the running of the scheme is open and above board.

There are just those people who cannot work as part of a group and should not buy property where other people’s opinions count.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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Gas it out, give Eskom the boot



ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION . . . Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general

Electricity has simply become unaffordable. And, as if that’s not enough, it’s not always available.

In recent months, the power utility has been churning out media statements explaining the loss of generation at various power stations and pleading with consumers to use electricity sparingly.

While the updates are important, consumers naturally expect electricity to be available whenever they turn on the switch.

The recent tariff hike of over seven percent in Mangaung Metro has proved quite steep to most households and it might not be far-fetched to expect another round of hikes in the coming months.

I strongly believe it’s now time to seriously consider other practical solutions to end this double inconvenience of high prices and inavailabilty of electricity.

Alternatives like solar and gas could ease the problem quite significantly but it comes at a cost.

In fact, the installation costs might be quite discouraging, but once the systems are in place, there are no major expenses to be incurred – this including solar electricity, solar water heaters and gas.

Electrical geysers chew electricity while solar heaters are effective and efficient.

Natural gas is also a realistic alternative.

The system is cheaper to install by far and gas cylinders normally last for months.

Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general.

Larger systems can also have central heating.

Gas is readily available and suppliers have delivery services for 10kg cylinders and above.

And unlike electricity, gas geysers only heat water on demand, which means that you don’t sit around with pre-heated water in your geyser.

It only heats on demand.

And when cooking, pans heat up quickly and, importantly, cool down when the gas is switched off.

It is a different type of heat and is great for making oven bread.

Worth a try!

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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Langenhoven Park chain store robbed



SHOP ROBBERY . . . The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park

Bainsvlei police in Bloemfontein have launched a manhunt for suspects involved in business robbery at a chain store at The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park on Wednesday.

The complainant, who is the manager of the shop, told the police that two men walked into the shop pretending to be customers before robbing the shop.

“Suddenly they pulled out firearms and accosted the four cashiers and instructed them to walk back into the complainant’s office,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in a statement.

“The suspects robbed the shop of different brands of cellular telephones as well as an undisclosed amount of money, and fled the scene in a white Renault Clio with registration number HRT 558 FS,” he added.

Police were called to the scene and they are now investigating a case of business robbery.

Covane said anyone who might have information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects may contact Captain Thapelo Motseki on 082 466 8405 or call the SAPS Crime Stop number: 08600 10111. Alternatively, information can be sent via MySAPS App. – Staff Reporter

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Duets are sectional title too



A duet unit is by definition a two-unit sectional title scheme. Or at least is supposed to be.

However, I have seen these mini schemes with up to five units. Not sure how they get away with it.

Either way they are still mini sectional title schemes and have to be treated like their big brothers – but they aren’t.

Usually, each owner has their own rates account, own water and electricity account and just does their own thing. But that is where the complications come in.

Some owners have a bond and thus insurance. Some bought cash and forgot.

A body corporate is supposed to have a body corporate policy on all the buildings.

Let’s say that there is a fire in an insured unit but it also results in the building down of an uninsured unit.

And because this is a body corporate and all parties are trustees that are expected to have a body corporate policy, they will be equally negligent.

That means that the owner will have to pay 50 percent — or whatever the Participation Quota (PQ) ratio is — of the uninsured unit owner’s loss.

Would you like to be in that position? I don’t think so.

The same applies to maintenance.

So, if your neighbour thinks that his roof needs to be replaced, you will be liable for that same PQ part of the replacement cost.

The trouble is that nothing will happen while everyone is happy and things are running smoothly, but when there is a major problem, people look for solutions to their financial crisis.

It’s not worth it.

Run your mini scheme properly and contact Community Schemes Ombud Service if your neighbour won’t.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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