Gated estates have great advantages - but check your contract carefully before signing on

Gated estates also known as security estates have now increased rapidly throughout South Africa – the latest figures indicate that there are now over 6,000, most of which are selling land or units at a 30% premium on conventional homes – and it becomes increasingly important to be selective in one’s choice of such estates, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

“Many of these estates,” said Rawson, “have exceptionally good resident sales agents and the many proven advantages of estate living, which we all accept, are likely to be fully explained by them, while the finer points in the contract may well be glossed over.”

As a first step, said Rawson, it is absolutely essential to get from the Home Owners Association a copy of their financial accounts and to check with an independent qualified person whether the HOA is financially sound and professionally managed. On occasions it will be found that a scheme has virtually no reserves at all and is often breaking the law by not having an officially recognized set of rules by which they must operate, said Rawson.

When such rules do exist, he said, they can be unclear. Disputes, for example, have regularly arisen in regard to adhering to the architectural guidelines on the styles, colour schemes and allowable building areas. Then, too, there can be misunderstandings regarding the behaviour of children and residents. Such factors must be clearly understood at the outset before any contract is signed.

Quite often too, said Rawson, there can be unhappiness about levies. It is important before signing to establish not only how and when these are applied but also what annual increases are permitted. Enquiries should also be made as to whether special levies have been charged – and it becomes alarming if these have been a regular occurrence.

If communal facilities are or will be part of the package, said Rawson, it must be spelt out in detail what these are and what rights the residents will have in the use of them. Quite frequently communal facilities are part of some future phase, which may be a long time coming and in some cases have never materialized. It is also absolutely essential, said Rawson, to walk around the grounds to check out the state of the gardens, the paths, the swimming pools and other communal facilities.  Any signs of a neglected or shoddy appearance is a sign that the management of the project is not up to standard.

Then, too, said Rawson, the security arrangements must be inspected, added security being the number one reason why most people move to such estates. These days electrified fencing and perimeter beams are accepted as being necessary in all gated estates.

“All in all no one can deny that gated estates have added greatly to the security and happiness for many people in South Africa,” said Rawson. “Nevertheless there have been failures and badly run schemes and it is essential not to be carried away by enthusiasm but to check out fully the inherent value of these estates.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 19 Jan 2018
      Extending from Randfontein in the west to Roodepoort in the east and including the towns of Krugersdorp and Magaliesburg, the West Rand has a plethora of property available to residents who choose to make this unique area their home.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      When it comes to financial planning, doing the work to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected emergencies is just as important as ticking off your other goals and New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of the year is also the perfect time to review your various insurance policies.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      No surprises at the first Monetary Policy Committee of 2018, as Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, announced that the interest rates would stay at their current levels.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      The Southern Suburbs make up some of the most popular residential areas in Cape Town, comprising charming groups of suburbs which lie to the south-east of the slopes of Table Mountain. It is seen as the city's most expensive residential neighbourhoods with a choice of various private schools, upmarket eateries, wine estates, beautiful homes and trendy apartments.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      New year, new goals! If you’ve resolved to purchase your first property in 2018, then this 6-step guide from the Rawson Property Group is a must-read. It will help you navigate and simplify what is often be seen as a confusing process of buying your first home – right from the house-hunt to the house-warming.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      While the current property market may still favour buyers, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be well prepared before putting in an offer to purchase.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      Lightstone lists Blair Atholl as the most expensive suburb with an average house price of R11.2 million, followed by Westcliff (R10.5 million), Dunkeld (R9.3 million), Sandhurst (R9.1 million) and Inanda (R7.2 million).
    • 17 Jan 2018
      As it currently stands, there are four main ways in which a home can be bought in South Africa, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that deciding in which legal entity to purchase the property is not a decision that should be entered into lightly, as each has its pros and cons.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us