25 Jul

What Is Common Property

A sectional title is a property divided into sections, of which each section is owned privately. Last week we touched on common property within a sectional title, and what the common property entails. This week we will go into a little more detail regarding common property, and what this property is in the legal sense.

Shared Ownership 

Common property is owned as an undivided share. This means that no owner has particular ownership of any part of the property. However, in monetary value, the proportion of the common property owned by each owner is proportionate to the quota of their respective sections owned. This means that if an individual owner owns 50% of the property value in sectional titles, in monetary value he/she owns 50% of the common property.

The Sectional Title Deed 

The deed to the sectional title outlines the laws regarding the use of the common property. It is here that the quota system is explicitly discussed, but also simultaneously explains the disposal of the property in association with the undivided property as a single unit. Furthermore, if insurance is taken out for a sectional title property, then that insurance also covers the undivided share of the common property ‘belonging’ to the sectional title owner. This is not necessary explained in the title deed, but rather applies in every event.

Common Property Resolution 

The owners of the sectional titles may, by a unanimous vote, direct the Body Corporate to either sell or lease a portion of the common property. This is done by a property resolution, and the resolution is drafted to include any necessary information referring to the property. This is the only time that a land’s deed can be changed from that of common property to otherwise. The Body Corporate is required to reregister the land and involve a Surveyor-General to agree to the repurposing.

There are a few more intricate and complex laws regarding common property, some of which are not understood widely by the entire Body Corporate or the owners of the sectional titles. Therefore, it is important that Body Corporates hire the services of attorneys to assist them in cases regarding sectional titles, and litigated procedures that involve property. In these events, make sure that you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys. We are always willing to help!

20 Jul

What Is A Sectional Title?

In an effort to enlighten all our readers, we’d like to take the opportunity to revisit an old question; what is a sectional title? This is an important question and is never as easily understood by the layman. So you would be forgiven for not knowing the minutia, and really, you shouldn’t need to know the minutia, but only the basics.

A sum of its parts

A sectional title, to put it rather simply, can be either a single building, a piece of ground, or a collection of buildings on a piece of property. If and when the building or property (and attached buildings) gets divided into sections with common property, this is considered to be a sectional title. However, a sectional title is more about the trusteeship between sectional title owners or property directors than the property itself, and the relationship and decisions between members of the trustee are largely governed by law.

Sectional titles have become exceptionally important in urban South Africa, where the demand for economical housing has driven the market to develop more apartments, townhouses and complexes, all likely to be subdivided and separately owned.

Common Property 

All the owners of the individual titles or sections are invested in the co-ownership of common property. Quite simple to understand; common property is all the property within a sectional title that can be used by all owners, trustees, and tenants. The Body Corporate of the sectional title is usually responsible for the maintenance of the common property, and they are also responsible for drafting rules and regulations determining the use of common property.

As can be expected, sectional titles involve many parties, agreements, and laws. As such, there is often misunderstanding between Body Corporate members or trustees of the sectional title. Sometimes disagreements lead to legal conflicts. In such cases, it is recommended that parties make use of sectional title attorneys to assist them. Ivan Zartz Attorneys is one such practice, available to anyone who requires help with regards to sectional title law in South Africa.

If you require our assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us!

13 Jun

Marriage and Property Law

Did you know that a property contract agreement pertaining to property law can be overruled by agreements made in the marriage contract?This can have far-reaching consequences if couples are unaware of the outcome regarding the sale of a property when married or after a divorce. It is important that couples realise, before making their vows, that doing so can change the outcome of a property agreement.

In Community of Property

In Community of Property is an easy law to understand. It basically means that any assets that either one of the spouses owns during or before the marriage vows are made belongs to both spouses equally. This means that in the event of divorce the sum of both assets will be divided as equally as possible, while during the event of death, the living spouse will have ownership of all the marriage assets. This agreement is the most repudiating with regards to property law and the individual ownership before marriage.

Anti-nuptial Contracts and Property

An anti-nuptial contract is very different from the Community of Property rule. In the case of anti-nuptial agreements, spouses can agree to accrual or not. Accrual means that any assets made during the marriage period will be shared equally in the event of divorce. However, any property or assets owned by any one of the spouses before marriage strictly stays in that individual’s name unless agreed on the anti-nuptial contract otherwise.

Without accrual means that all property and assets, whether accumulated during the time of marriage or not, is owned by the individual in whose name the assets are in. Without accrual can be problematic in the event that the other spouse helps to pay for a particular asset, and how a particular asset is shared needs to be expressed within the contract.

With regards to property, couples must think long and hard as to their choice in marital contract. As with any agreement, we cannot predict the future, and agreements need to be made now to safeguard individuals in the case of divorce and/or death. A hasty decision may supercede the common property law in any event.

For more information regarding property law, please contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible. Furthermore, take a look at our blog page to peruse our latest articles.



08 Jun

What Is A Sale In Execution?

An individual’s credit history sometimes catches up with them. The occurrence is no more prolific than in the property market, and many a homeowner in South Africa has had their home taken away from them because they have failed to pay their home loan or bond. When this occurs, the practice is called ‘a sale in execution’.

Sale In Execution Of An Unpaid Home Loan

When the new property owner has not paid the bond or home loan, efforts will be made to enter some sort of financial agreement with the homeowner, often in the presence of legal representatives. After multiple instances of notification, it falls on the bank to sell the house on the market through the sheriff of the court. This can only be done through a court order, a cumulation of decisions made in court, and justified by the financial capacity (or lack thereof) of the individual.

The sale of the house is usually done by an auctioneer, and the auction itself would have been advertised in both the Government Gazette as well as print media. The price at which the house is sold by the auctioneer cannot be denied by the bank, as the property is strictly not their own. Often houses are sold well below their market value due to the nature of the sale.

Legal Opposition To Sale In Execution

There have been recent cases whereby individuals and organisations have challenged the sale in execution. A recent case involved the Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) where they challenged the courts, believing that the sale of a particular individual’s home far below the market value, as an infringement on the individual’s rights. Some properties are sold for less than the amount owed by the homeowner towards the bank loan or bond. This often means they have to pay additional fees or risk being ‘blacklisted’.

If you require more information on issues regarding property law, sectional title law or debt collection, make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today.


06 Apr

South Africa’s High Economic Crime Rate

The Global Economic Crime Survey, a study provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has provided information regarding the current trends and hotspots of economic crime. Unfortunately, South Africa suffers one of the highest rates of economic crime in the world.

Currently, the rate of economic crime in the country doubles that of the international average, even when compared to other states in Africa. This, PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests is a ‘pandemic’, and at least a third of all upper-management in a number of corporate businesses have experienced economic crime in one form or another.

While, internationally, asset misappropriation is the most common form of economic crime, other forms of crime such as cybercrime as well as bribery are also common. Many would think that corruption is the most common economic crime in South Africa, but this is not the case. HR crime is at its worst in South Africa. More than a quarter of employees’ matric certificates cannot be confirmed, while 1 in 15 employees have a falsified tertiary degree or certification. HR crimes are usually noticed when hiring new staff, but the studies suggest that a shocking number of employees in South Africa do not have the correct qualifications.

Those in the field of risk management and auditing suggest that businesses should be proactive with regards to the crimes that plague South African companies. There are many services available on the market that can help businesses prevent fraud, and even HR crimes like that of forged qualifications.

Those of our clients that require our services with regards to commercial law must ensure that they have employed measures that help them prevent economic crimes within their businesses. It is important that they understand the scope and damage that economic crime inflicts on the South African economy, and that they protect themselves accordingly.

If you require the services of a professional commercial law attorney, then make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible.

Take a look at our commercial law page to see the commercial law services that we offer.