Body Corporate and Home Owner Association rules MUST be carefully checked before you buy into developments

Posted On Wednesday, 03 July 2019 13:41 Published by
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Body Corporate and Home Owner Association rules MUST be carefully checked before you buy into developments - some infringe accepted human rights.

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The recent controversy surrounding the proposals that airbnb in South Africa should be far more regulated or even banned, has once again focused attention on the almost unlimited power of sectional  title, other body corporates as well as home owners’ associations to shape the rules by which their schemes are governed – and the behaviour expected of residents in these developments.

“Body corporates and HOA's,” says Rowan Alexander, Director of Alexander Swart Property, “are elected by the members of the development in which they live and there is a prescribed way of going about this. Once they have  decided on a certain course and tabled it, it becomes the law against which the owner or resident cannot appeal until the next AGM. The body corporate can, for example, set up restrictions on which  service providers, estate agents, architects, builders, artisans and even cleaners the owner or occupant may use. In other cases they have imposed bans on pets or behaviour in the communal facilities, or after certain times at night. These wide sweeping powers can quite easily become dictatorial and can infringe on resident rights. in some cases rules have been plainly irresponsible and have gone a long way to ruining the occupants’ enjoyment of the property, even though in theory, those making these rules were supposedly acting on behalf of their members.”  (Sometimes, says Alexander, the owners have only themselves to blame because they did not attend the AGM at which these rules were formulated.)

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It is essential that those buying into developments where body corporates and\or home owners associations are in control, should before signing up, examine the rules by which they will be governed: some may be so restrictive that no matter how attractive other aspects of the development may be, they will not compensate for one or more rules which are draconian. Occasionally the buyer will think that in time he and other owners will, using the prescribed protest routes, be able to get an irksome law changed but this is seldom as easily brought about as they imagine it will be.

“The push from certain body corporates to get airbnb banned countrywide/or in their developments shows just how narrow minded and self interested these bodies can be. It would be a disaster for tourism if this happened. We can only hope that wiser councils will prevail and South Africa jumps onto this wagon as successfully as most European countries have done.”

Last modified on Thursday, 04 July 2019 11:48
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