Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

Sectional Title Definitions and Terms Explained

Sectional Title Definition

Sectional title jargon giving you a headache? Read our glossary below to ease the pain.

If you want a more detail read our free Introduction to Sectional Titles booklet.

AGM: Annual General Meeting.

Body corporate: The legal entity that exists to manage and control the common property, made up of all owners of units in the scheme.

Body corporate manager: Another term for a sectional title managing agent.

Chairperson: The chairperson is the head of the board of trustees and has the primary role of chairing owner and trustee meetings. S/he is elected by the trustees at their first meeting after the AGM.

Common property: All the areas not included in the sections of the scheme and which every owner co-owns. Common property includes foyers, driveways, fences, gardens, stairways, lifts, pools and so on.

Exclusive use area: This is an area of common property co-owned by all owners, but to which only one owner holds the usage rights ie. no one else can use it. Good examples are a garden area directly outside the front or back of an owner’s section or a parking bay.

Levy/levies: Are contributions paid by owners to the body corporate to cover its anticipated expenses. Levies are usually paid monthly and are based on an owner’s PQ.

Managing agent: A person who manages sectional title bodies corporate professionally. They take over the responsibilities from the body corporate for arranging the maintenance of the common property and for collecting levies, calling and arranging meetings and so on. They report to the trustees of the body corporate.

Participation quota (PQ): A value expressed as a percentage that allocates the portion of the body corporate expenses that an owner is liable to pay, as well as the value of an owner’s vote. For residential sections, the PQ is calculated based on the size of the floor area of an owner’s section. Therefore the bigger the section the larger the share of expenses that owner is liable for and also the larger their voting value.

Reserve fund: Also called a sinking fund. Levies paid into this account are saved and used to cover the costs of future capital expenses such as replacing common property roofing, repainting the building and so on.

Rules: The rules that the owners of units and occupiers of sections must follow.

Section: A portion of a building or property, usually an apartment or townhouse (but may also be a garage, storeroom or other area) which can be separately owned from the rest of the building or property.

Sectional plan: The plan that shows the division of the land and building(s) into sections and common property. A copy of the scheme’s sectional plan will be held at your local Deeds Registry and can be obtained from there.

Sectional title scheme: Is a piece of land with a building(s) where individual owners own portions of the building(s) and co-own the common property. A scheme can be a vertical block of apartments or a one level row of townhouses which may be attached or detached. A scheme has a minimum of two sections and can be used for residential or commercial purposes or a mixture of both.

Trustees: The persons elected by the body corporate at each AGM to represent all the owners in the scheme. The trustees are responsible for the management, administration and maintenance of the common property and they must ensure that all the body corporate’s duties are carried out.

Unit: The ‘thing’ that a sectional title property owner actually owns. This is made up of his section (generally apartment/townhouse) and his undivided share of the common property.

Happy increasing your sectional title knowledge!

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5 comments on “Sectional Title Definitions and Terms Explained

  1. Pierre Rossouw
    October 4, 2018

    It is unclear how exclusive use areas, covered or not, and unit areas not covered such as patios that are included in the original sectional plans, have an effect on the measurement of a unit and thus PQ

  2. vicky sage
    October 9, 2017

    how is it possible that a unit levy can be increased for the next year by 34% pls assist

    • Paddocks
      November 2, 2017

      Dear Vicky,

      The answer could be simple or quite complicated and depends on specific provisions of the HOAs governance documentation.

      The answer is therefore that this is a consulting matter. 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. Alternatively, you can call us on 021 686 3950 for a 10 minute consult for R390 (no prior reading of documents or background info included).

      Kind regards,

  3. Hilary Driver
    February 28, 2017

    I would like clarification please as Chairperson of a Sectional Title Complex.
    1.Owners with exclusive use gardens are they allowed to padlock their gates?
    2.Complex fences are looking shabby and need to be treated .those in exclusive
    gardens is that the BC or owner who foots the Bill?
    3 Who is responsible for upgrades etc. for Sattelite TV

    • Paddocks
      March 2, 2017

      Dear Hilary,

      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,

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2013 by in Legal and tagged , .

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