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Whose staircase is this?

Sectional title is a form of ownership where a number of people jointly own the piece of land on which buildings are built, while each one of those people individually owns a flat or townhouse in that buildings.

A section is that part of the sectional title scheme which an individual owner owns - the space between the four walls, including windows, doors, ceilings and floors. This could refer to the inside of the unit, but also to an enclosed garage, balcony, staff room or storeroom.

Common property is the whole area of a sectional title scheme that does not form part of any section - including the "outer skin" of the building - the exterior of the walls, the roof, stairs and corridors, parking area and pool.

An exclusive use area is an area of the common property, such as a garden, which is set aside for the sole use of the owner of a certain section of the scheme. Exclusive use areas can be registered at the deed's office in terms of the sectional plan, or be allocated in terms of the management rules of the scheme.

The owner of a section is responsible for repairs and maintenance inside the unit, unless the damage is caused by something which is covered in terms of the building insurance, like ceilings or carpets damaged by a burst geyser.  The outer part of a window should be treated as common property, and the inner part as part of the section.  Repairs to and maintenance of the common property is the responsibility  of the body corporate. This is paid for from the levy fund, to which all owners contribute. An owner is also responsible to keep his exclusive use area in a good condition.

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