The Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) this week officially launched their long awaited Sectional Titles, a form of ownership in which a person owns or holds a title to a section of a building that has been divided into two or more sections.
Speaking at the launch that was held at the Block 9 BHC Flats, the BHC Chief Executive Officer, Reginald Motswaiso, explained that buyers in this new form of property ownership would be buying into a community that is operated through an association which comes into being as soon as they transfer the first unit to a new owner. Motswaiso said all sectional title holders are expected to become members of the association as soon as they acquire a section. “It is also worth noting that the association controls and runs the scheme in accordance with the requirements of the law,” he added.
Motswaiso said that the BHC is committed to increasing the level of homeownership by Batswana citizen owned companies and the government. “Some of the units in this development have been offered for sale to qualifying Batswana,” he stated, adding that some Government ministries and departments had also purchased some sections in Block 9 flats and other development areas where the BHC have such properties.
Officiating at the event was the Minister of Land and Housing, Dikgakgamatso Seretse, who pointed out that though new in Botswana, ownership through sectional title is very common in many countries. Additionally, he said that sectional titles have become an alternative to conventional property ownership as conventional ownership of houses is becoming difficult, especially in urban centers. This form of ownership, he said, is envisaged to become more and more attractive to property investors, home owners, tenants and developers alike in Botswana in the near future.
Seretse noted that Botswana’s economic growth and rapid urbanization have resulted in a drastic shortage of land in urban areas, and this can only be solved by high density, multi-unit developments, adding that this is the alternative way in which accommodation can be provided at a reasonable cost and in proximity to central business districts and work places.
He said that the potential security of sectional title living will also be a catalyst in the population of this form of ownership. “This concept is fairly new in Botswana and it will therefore take some time to take off. At the moment the prospective purchasers are still battling to understand what they will be buying,” he stated.
The Minister stated that this kind of ownership is going to help in minimizing infrastructure costs hence making the cost of development relatively cheaper as less land is utilized. He said sectional titles offer a feeling of community and neighbourliness for those people who do not like the loneliness of suburban living.
Not withstanding the benefits of sectional title ownership, Seretse noted that it also has some potential drawbacks, especially when introduced in a society where people are accustomed to living in large plots. He said some of the problems encountered when large numbers of people live in a confined space include incompatible social habits, inadequacy of amenities, such as parking spaces or play grounds, as well as non observance coupled with lack of enforcement of conduct rules.
He told the BHC that it is in their best interest to develop measures to deal with anti-social behaviour in the residential places they erect. He said there would be a need to establish anti-social behaviour teams that would work in partnership with police authorities to prevent and deal with anti-social behaviour within the communities.