Your responsibilities as a new home owner

“So many new property owners believe that once the property is in their name all that is left is to enjoy their new home. Unfortunately, there are still a few other important responsibilities that should not be forgotten.”

Generally, when you buy a home, you buy either a stand-alone house or a unit in a sectional title scheme. In both these instances, your main responsibility must be to ensure you pay your monthly mortgage installments. And remember … keep your bank informed of any changes to your property, like renovations or additions, as usually this is a requirement of your agreement with the bank that you must inform them and obtain their consent.

You will need to open an account with your local municipality and pay the required deposit in respect of the services to be supplied to your property as from date of ownership transfer. Once your municipal account has been activated, you must pay your monthly municipal rates and taxes. This is applicable for both conventional and sectional title properties. Typically with conventional properties this will include also water and electricity charges, although accounts for these may need to be separately activated should there be different municipal entities that provide these services to homeowners. 

Should your home be a sectional title property, in addition to your monthly municipal rates, a monthly levy will need to be paid to the body corporate of the scheme in terms of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act. This levy covers the annual operating costs of the body corporate and can include municipal charges such as water and electricity, insurance costs, internet access, security etc. As a new sectional title owner you should also obtain a copy of the scheme rules and ensure you abide by these. Don’t just assume you can get a dog, or put up a solar panel on your roof. Check the rules and if necessary, get the required permissions.

Another aspect not to forget is taking out insurance on your property. Generally, the financial institution will require insurance on the land and buildings as a condition to providing the financing, leaving you as owner to yourself insure your house contents and other potential risks. Don’t forget this and regret not having insured your TV after the welcome thunderstorm knocks out your electrical appliances!

These are just a few of the main aspects to consider when you become a new home owner. They are not exhaustive, but should ensure that you have the basics in place to enjoy your new home!

Disclaimer: This article is the personal opinion/view of the author(s) and is not necessarily that of the firm. The content is provided for information only and should not be seen as an exact or complete exposition of the law. Accordingly, no reliance should be placed on the content for any reason whatsoever and no action should be taken on the basis thereof unless its application and accuracy has been confirmed by a legal advisor. The firm and author(s) cannot be held liable for any prejudice or damage resulting from action taken on the basis of this content without further written confirmation by the author(s). 

September 15, 2022
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