Homeowner association rules must be checked before purchase

With security estates increasingly becoming sought after places in which to live, particularly in the South African context where people want the “safe” environment estates offer, it is important that purchasers be made aware of certain points before they decide on a particular estate, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA.

All too frequently the reality is that a buyer will not read the conduct or the management rules of the scheme before they sign an offer to purchase and agents must ensure that their buyers do so.

When buyers sign a purchase agreement, they would usually go through the financials of the scheme and the rules should also be attached to the same agreement, so that they can go through these as well, said Steward.

“It is imperative that buyers check whether the rules could possibly have punitive conditions which could impact negatively on the enjoyment of living there as well as general rights to comforts within the scheme,” she said.

Some of these rules relate to building codes and architectural guidelines but some of these also relate to services within the estate, fines that can be imposed for misconduct or breach of the rules or non-payment of levies.

The HOA rules should, if the home is to be rented out on a long or short term let, be given to the tenant to read and to sign before they move in, said Steward.

A case summarised in a Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes property law update illustrates just how onerous some estate rules can be, and if the home has been bought there, then the owner and tenants are bound by these, warned Steward.

In this particular case - Van Rooyen v Hillandale Homeowners Association – the HOA fined the owner for his breach of the aesthetic guidelines and because the HOA rules allowed for this, the owner and tenant could not buy electricity and water vouchers for the prepaid meters until the breach was remedied. The rules also made provision for dealing with unpaid levies in the same way, in that no electricity or water top-ups could be bought unless the levies were up to date.

The courts held in favour of the HOA, because the rules expressly provided that no electricity or water could be sold to any occupier (whether owner or tenant) if levy payments were overdue or if there were any fines outstanding due to a breach of the rules.

The owners of properties in the estate bound themselves to these rules as these are part of the title deed and tenants are obliged to follow the same rules as owners in the estate. While these were put in place to protect the interests of all the owners in the estate, they can become or be seen to be an infringement on the basic rights to an enjoyment of a property, said Steward.

“This is an important lesson in being sure that one can abide by all the rules if buying into an estate run by an HOA or body corporate, as these are not likely to change and challenging them later can be an expensive exercise,” she said.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 21 Jun 2018
      Anyone who’s ever been involved in a building project that’s gone wrong will appreciate the importance of adequate insurance cover in the construction industry.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A recent news story about a blind tenant caught in a legal battle with his body corporate over letters and notices he was unable to read and consequently comply with has raised the question: what are the legal obligations for landlords with disabled tenants?
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A trend that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is that of hygge (pronounced: hue-guh), a Danish concept that is about creating intimacy, connecting with loved ones and taking pleasure in small, ordinary things.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      Buying or selling real estate isn’t as easy as it is portrayed sometimes, especially if there is a death of a party during the transaction which can make it awkward, tricky and inconvenient.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      With interest rates remaining at historic lows and banks continuing to compete for mortgage finance business, first-time buyers with funds at their disposal are currently well-placed to gain that initial foothold on the property ladder, particularly in the light of the slightly lower growth rates currently experienced in residential property values.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      The average size of bond granted in SA has grown 7,7% in the past 12 months to R934 000, according to BetterBond, the country’s biggest bond originator.
    • 19 Jun 2018
      In the current market, letting out a property can be a good option as rental demand remains strong, especially in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. This is according to Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop. However he says that before homeowners let their property out, there are five key points they should make sure are covered before they market the property for rent and sign any lease agreements.
    • 19 Jun 2018
      The Capetonian dream is to live by the ocean with the iconic mountain making an appearance somewhere in the horizon. But, that dream comes with a hefty price tag that many simply cannot afford. But, should you venture some kilometres out of the city centre, entirely new realms of beachside bliss await you …
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us