Noise issues and disputes in sectional title complexes

The question of what constitutes unacceptable behaviour in a multi-tenanted sectional title complex has once again been disputed in certain property media.

“In any multi-tenanted complex, the great advantages like increased security, the possibility of enjoying a communal life and the lower purchase cost are balanced by certain behavioural restrictions,” says Van der Merwe.

This is according to Schalk van der Merwe, co-franchisee for the Rawson Property Group’s Somerset West franchise, who says he was asked to comment on a ruling by a body corporate in his area.

He says the debate centred around a certain resident who was prevented from pursuing his hobby, carpentry, except in a very small window of time on Saturday mornings.

The other residents apparently objected to his activities because although he had been working in a ground floor garage, his power tools disturbed the peace.

Van der Merwe says the Sectional Title Act stipulates that “an owner must ensure that his usage of common property does not interfere unreasonably with the interests or enjoyment of other persons lawfully occupying the premises”.

“Therefore, though it may appear unfair to some, the man causing the noise is breaking the law by detracting from their enjoyment of the property,” says Van der Merwe.

The ruling of the body corporate was, therefore, not unfair.

“In any multi-tenanted complex, the great advantages like increased security, the possibility of enjoying a communal life and the lower purchase cost are balanced by certain behavioural restrictions,” says Van der Merwe.

“And these, although seldom burdensome, are absolutely essential to keeping the peace among and promoting the enjoyment of the residents.”

Usually, he says the complaints about other residents involve overcrowding (often only temporary) or noisy behaviour, especially late at night.

“It is sad that such an innocent activity as carpentry should be curtailed, but we have to acknowledge that power tools these days can be very noisy and disruptive,” says Van der Merwe.

“We can only hope that in time this resident does find premises where he can pursue his hobby to his heart’s content.”

 

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