Sectional title levies – does the National Credit Act apply?

The National Credit Act regulates matters surrounding credit agreements in South Africa, while the Sectional Titles Act regulates matters regarding sectional title schemes and their administration.flats2

Sectional title levies (general levies) are raised annually by the body corporate, following an annual general meeting, and are often collected by managing agents, on behalf of the body corporate. The managing agent, in turn, charges the body corporate certain fees for these services and further often impose interest on unpaid and arrear levies (by order of the body corporate). Understandably, much confusion exists whether or not sectional title levies constitute credit agreements in terms of the National Credit Act.

In a recent article by Tertius Maree (De Rebus, December 2009) the position has been clarified. Even though the imposition of levies and charging interest on arrear levies, may very well fall within the ambit of the definition of an incidental credit agreement, the relationship between an owner and the body corporate is an inter – dependent one, as opposed to the independent relationship between debtor and creditor. Thus, raising sectional title levies and imposing interest on arrear payments do not fall within the ambit and application of the National Credit Act. Therefore, body corporates are not governed by the National Credit Act and thus do not have to, inter alia, perform credit checks on owners of units in the sectional tile scheme, or notify owners who are in arrears with payment of levies in terms thereof.

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