Property Poser: Recourse Against Noisy Neighbour

www.MyPE.co.za: Our
panel has received an e-mail from a frustrated reader who has been
experiencing endless problems with a noisy neighbour in the security
complex in which she resides.

She has also attached an extract of the conduct rules applicable to her
complex.

In her letter, she states that she has taken the issue up with the
chairman of the body corporate, but no action appears to have been
taken against the culprit.

Charlotte VermaakCharlotte Vermaak
from Chas
Everitt Port Elizabeth
says the extract from the rules
clearly states that owners and tenants have a responsibility to other
inhabitants to keep the noise down.

“The rules provide that musical instruments, television sets and music
systems may not be used in such a way as to cause a disturbance, and
party noise after certain times is prohibited.

“She unfortunately does not expand on what exactly her neighbour does
to disturb her, but let’s assume he is transgressing one of these
rules.”

The general conduct rules are set out in the regulations to the
Sectional Titles Act, says Vermaak.

“These rules can initially however be amended by the developer to make
provision for certain relevant issues that will affect the use and
enjoyment of sections. Noise is one such factor that can interfere with
the peaceful occupation of a section by its owner or occupant.”

Vermaak says neither the Sectional Titles Act nor the rules set out in
the regulations contain effective sanctions against sectional owners
who fail to fulfil their obligations.

Rian du ToitRian du Toit
from Du
Toit Strombeck Attorneys
in PE says provision is made, for
example, that an owner is not entitled to vote at a general meeting if
his levy contributions are in arrears or if he persistently breaches
the conduct rules.

“This is however not necessarily the end result our reader had in mind.”

Typically, says Du Toit, provision should be made for the complaint to
be delivered in writing and the offending owner or tenant should be
allowed to submit a written reply.

“In the event of a dispute, both parties may be given the opportunity
to discuss the matter at a meeting of the body corporate, whereafter
any findings are referred to the trustees with a recommendation as to
any action to be taken.”

Du Toit says a good result may be achieved if the trustees are
empowered by the rules to impose appropriate fines in the event of
contraventions.

“Since we do not know what the rest of the rules in respect of this
specific complex provide for, it is difficult to ascertain why the
chairman has not taken action. It may be that the rules are silent on
the matter of recourse.”

It is possible to add to, amend or repeal the conduct rules as well as,
to a limited extent, the management rules in place (either as provided
for by the act or in terms of any amendments made by the developer),
according to Du Toit. “This is done by means of a special or unanimous
resolution of the body corporate.”

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