The Two Main Kinds of Property Ownership in South Africa

There are four forms of residential property ownership in South Africa: freehold, sectional title, 99 year leasehold and share block. This article will help you to better understand the similarities and differences between them so that you can make an informed decision when you enter the property market.


If you own a freehold property this means that you own the land and any permanent or impermanent structure on the property. This generally refers to a freestanding home in a residential area. Freehold tenure refers to your legal right to own a piece of property and/or land without limitations on its use. You are free to extend and modify any structure both on its exterior and interior as you see fit. You are not governed by any external bodies like those living in a complex other than local council regulations.

The only payments you are required to make are your rates and taxes to the municipality. The amount of rates and taxes you are expected to pay is worked out according to the value of the land and the buildings within its perimeters. Your ownership papers will be in the form of a Title Deed.

Sectional Title

This usually refers to a “section” in the form of a semidetached house or townhouse within a complex or cluster developments. The ownership of said “section” includes the interior unit, the containing walls as well as the ceilings and floors as well as a share in any communal property within the complex.

Owning a sectional title means you are obliged to be a member of the complex’s body corporate as well as abide by its rules. Complex administration should be available to deal with all governance and communication. You will pay a levy which goes towards things like the costs of running development, the unit’s insurance and communal water. As a sectional title owner you are still responsible for paying municipal rates like electricity, sewage and refuse removal. It is worth mentioning that these costs when living in a complex tend to be significantly lower for sectional title owners than freehold owners.

A healthy body corporate is a good indication that you are making a sound investment when it comes to sectional title properties. It is also beneficial to own should you ever want to rent it out to others whereby the body corporate and sectional title managers can ensure everything runs smoothly for all parties when renting a sectional title home.

Contact our complex management services at Mansfield PS for professional complex management agents ready to assist.



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