Check body corporate finances before purchasing sectional title property

Category General News

If you’re looking to purchase an apartment in a block, you’ll usually begin your research with the location, surrounding facilities and amenities. You’ll check the specs of the property and do the sums for monthly levies and rates. One thing often overlooked, however, is the financial status of the body corporate in charge of the entire block.

The finances of the body corporate are actually one of the most important factors that can have a large impact on your investment. The way the block’s finances are managed can dictate how the property will appreciate (or depreciate) over time. This financial management can also affect the monthly levies and future increases if things go awry.

Before making the final decision to purchase a sectional title property, buyers can request the latest copy of audited financials from the body corporate. These financials can be used to see how well the body corporate does its job and can be a good indicator as to whether special levies may be introduced in the future.

These levies are usually paid by all the homeowners for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, as well as being used to pay garden services and security. The financial records of the body corporate can show if these levies are being used for the right purposes. Well-maintained blocks and secure apartments will rise in value over time.

When the usual levies do not cover all the expenses of the apartment block, special levies are then implemented as an addition to the standard rates. Special levies are usually only initiated when big expenses arise such as major construction or repainting the entire building. If special levies are implemented frequently, it can be a warning sign to potential buyers that the building is in a bad state or that the body corporate is mismanaging funds.

When checking the financial documents, keep an eye out for the levies that are in arrears. Too many levy arrears means that not enough residents are paying their monthly instalments, which means the financial stability of the complex is in jeopardy. Obviously, special levies are to be avoided to reduce the financial burden on residents, but if the residents aren’t paying their share anyway, you’ll want to avoid buying a property in the block.


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Spend a day exploring the upmarket suburb of Clifton on the Atlantic Seaboard.

For parents of newborn babies and toddlers, keeping them safe in the home is the number one priority until they can get a better understanding of the hazards and dangers in the home. From staircases and kitchen utensils to chemicals and swimming pools, there are many things in the home that could be dangerous for children.

Childproofing your house is therefore essential, especially when your kids learn how to walk and gain a level of autonomy in their movements. Having to keep a constant watch on your toddler can be exhausting and stressful, but knowing that your home is safe will provide some relief.

The first step to seeing whether your house is safe or not is to see it from your child’s point of view - get down on your hands and knees and see what risks you can find. Sharp corners of furniture, heavy objects that can fall if pulled, exposed plug points or nails and screws, any choking hazards; find anything that needs to be fixed, removed or padded.

The easiest way to begin the process of childproofing is to tackle one room at a time. Start in their bedroom and move on to the kitchen next. As your child grows older and taller, you’ll need to reassess your childproofing efforts. Here are some tips on how to make your home a safe space for your kids:

General dangers

Some of the most common features of a house that pose risks to your kids are staircases, doors and heavy objects or appliances.

  • Install safety gates at the bottom and top of stairs to keep your toddler from falling down the steps.

  • Fasten and secure heavy objects such as bookcases and drawers that may be pulled over. Simple brackets can be used to screw these objects to the wall. It is also a good idea to place heavier books on the lowest shelves where they can’t fall from a height.

  • Venetian blinds normally have a cord hanging down to open and close the shutters - keep this cord out of reach by tying it up high as it can be a strangling hazard.

  • Sharp corners and rough edges of furniture should be padded or smoothed, especially if they are at your toddler’s head height. Pool noodles make great pads, but there are a range of products on the market for these purposes.

  • Plug caps into all exposed electrical sockets so that your kids can’t stick objects into the holes. For extra safety, turn off unused plug points at the main switchboard.

  • Fit safety locks to windows that aren’t on the ground floor - this will prevent curious kids from climbing out of high windows. Move furniture away from windows too as children sometimes climb on top of the furniture and may fall against the glass.

  • Keep your booze cabinet locked and make sure any alcohol is out of reach. It’s a good idea to install a small lock on any bar fridges in the house.

Baby-safe bedrooms

A child’s bedroom is supposed to be its safe space where it can play without any risk. Here are some ways to make their space a little safer:

  • Make sure all their toys are safe to play with (i.e. don’t have sharp edges or aren’t small enough to be choking hazards)

  • Fit a thick carpet or rug underneath their cot or bed so that they land on a softer surface if they climb out of their cot.

  • Make sure that they can’t lock themselves in their closet or wardrobe by mistake, by removing the keys or locking mechanisms.

  • Check all the risks from the list above and implement safety measures where necessary in their bedroom.

Kid-friendly kitchens

The kitchen is probably the most dangerous space for a toddler, so installing a baby gate at the door is the best way to keep them out entirely. If this is not possible, here are some precautions to take:

  • Remove any cleaning agents, chemicals and poisons from beneath the sink and lock them in a secure cupboard that is out of reach. Children are inquisitive and often want to taste everything, so brightly-coloured bleach bottles are often attractive to them.

  • Keep knives, scissors, forks and other sharp metal objects out of reach or lock the drawers that they are stored in. Child safety locks can be purchased and easily fitted to drawers and cupboard doors.

  • Keep hot pots and pans on the back plates where they can’t be reached and pulled. Move the kettle and toaster to the back of the countertop too.

  • Turn off the oven at the wall when not in use to stop children from accidentally turning it on by playing with the dials.

  • Keep plastic grocery packets out of reach and consider locking the pantry. Kids searching for sweets may stumble across a peanut butter jar or jam jar, and although obviously not a hazard, the mess can be a nightmare to clean up if they decide to get artistic with the contents.

Bathrooms safe for babies

Generally speaking, medicine cabinets are usually out of reach of children but it doesn’t hurt to double check the safety of the bathroom:

  • Lock medicine cabinets at all times, even if they are out of reach. Ensure that all of the bottles have childproof caps and throw away any expired medicines.

  • Keep razors in the locked medicine cabinet and place a plastic safety cap over the blades if possible.

  • Shampoos and bubble bath can be toxic if ingested, so keep these out of reach. The same goes for any cleaning product in a bottle.

  • Anti-scalding devices can be fitted to hot taps that prevent children from being burned by excessively hot water. Taps should be fastened tightly so that toddlers don’t have the strength to accidentally turn them on and flood the room.

  • Some parents may want to install a seat lock on their loo to prevent inquisitive children from climbing into the bowl.

  • Never leave your child unsupervised when bathing them.

Safety outside the house

Risks are prevalent outside of the home too, especially in the garden and the garage:

  • Keep a cover or a net on your pool or Jacuzzi when not in use. It’s a good idea to teach your toddler how to swim from a young age just in case they manage to find a deep body of water.

  • Keep your garage locked and out of bounds as unsupervised access to power tools, saws and nails is a recipe for disaster.

  • Remove any toxic plants from your garden, especially unknown berry bushes.

  • Keep your kids away from driveways, especially in apartment blocks or housing complexes where neighbours cars come in and out all day.

Extra measures may be needed such as smoke detectors and fire suppressants if you feel that they are necessary. Keeping a well-stocked first aid kit and a list of emergency contacts on the fridge is also advisable for parents with children of any age.


Make sure you check body corporate finances before purchasing sectional title property.


Here's why you shouldn't take a loan for a house deposit.


Want to rent, buy or sell your property on the Atlantic Seaboard or in Woodstock, Cape Town? Berman Brothers Properties specialise in listing and selling your property and we have a variety of available houses, new apartments and other real estate options to ensure that you find your next dream home. Contact us on +27(0)21 439 9030 to find out more about the latest developments.


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Author: Berman Brothers

Submitted 09 Apr 18 / Views 1226