Common property is anything that is not a section. A section is what an owner takes transfer of when they buy a sectional title unit. It is shown on the sectional title plans. A unit is the section plus its portion of the common property (based on the participation quota (PQ).
So, common property is the rest of the building and grounds after the sections have been removed. It is essentially the physical ground on which the building stands, the walls and fencing, the outside of the building, the roofs, the walkways, staircases, stores, garages, parking, pool and garden. It also includes workrooms, toilets and machinery rooms, lifts and meter rooms and the like.
Care should be taken to remember that some of these spaces could be created as units in themselves (such as a garage or store) and could therefore be part of a unit. For example, the flat and garage although not physically together, could still be one unit.
The common property can still be “owned” by one of the owners of the building as an exclusive use area. This means that no-one besides the owner (or their tenant) can only use that part of the common property. This is frequently done with garden areas, garages, carports, stores and the like. It means, that although that part of the building is part of the common property, the owner has the exclusive right to make use of it but at the same time must pay an EUA (Exclusive Use Area) levy for the upkeep of that part of the common property. The EUA must be clearly demarcated in the sectional title plans and registered within the scheme, which is recognized as a real right. Another way of conferring an EUA as a right is in terms of the scheme rules accompanied by an allocation schedule.
Common property is not divided into bits and pieces but is owned as a whole by all the owners of sections in the building. Although your PQ may indicate that you own say 10.0000 (10%) of the common property, you don’t own any particular part of it but rather jointly own 10% of the whole. You will be responsible for paying a levy that covers 10% of the cost of running the building and will get 10% of the benefit if (as occasionally happens) the body corporate receives a capital income say for selling off a portion of the common property (usually ground) or in the event of expropriation.
The maintenance of the common property is covered by payment of the levy, for which each owner contributes to in the same ratio as their PQ.