Land ownership, expropriation of land without compensation and property ownership are issues which have dominated South Africa’s social and economic discourse. Ongoing engagement between government, diverse communities and interested parties highlights disparities in land and property ownership. Here are the types of common property ownership you need to know in the midst of this ongoing debate.
Freehold tenure is the legal right to own a piece of property without any limitations on its use. In a freehold or full title property you may modify, extend, alter or change both the interior and exterior of your property and fully express your own taste levels and creativity. You can adapt your living areas and land to suit the needs of your family. You are not governed by any laws other than your local council regulations.
Sectional title is the separate ownership of units or sections within a complex or development. Sectional title dwellings comprise mini subtype houses, semi-detached houses, townhouses, flats or apartments, and duet houses. Owners of sectional title units only need to pay for their rates and taxes, the unit’s insurance, the contents of their home, their own private gardens and for their monthly electricity and water consumption.
Leasehold property is usually owned by the government or local authority. Unlike freehold title, leasehold is not full ownership. Under leasehold title, a leaseholder has the right to use and enjoy a property for the period of the lease. With the consent of the owner, the leaseholder may sub-let the property, renovate it or add to it.
Long term lease
A long term lease entitles the lessee to a limited real right over a property for an agreed period of time ranging from 10 years to 99 years. A long term lease, with all the terms of the agreement, is registered and an endorsement is made against the property’s title deed in the Deeds Registry. This affords both the lessee and the lessor security in terms of the real rights and obligations afforded to each party as a result of the agreement.
The listed types of ownership should assist you in understanding the differences.