The Court comes to the rescue of harrased neigbors.
Louwrens Koen Attorneys represented the Body Corporate Applicant.
The owner of a sectional title unit harassed the board of trustees in his complex to such an extent that they obtained a court order prohibiting him from raising complaints, objections and the like with the trustees in any way other than through written communication to the secretary of the body corporate.
Undeterred, he breached this order on at least 3 occasions, threatening for example to remove the trustees’ roof tiles (so that, he said, they could feel what it feels like to live in a unit with roof leaks), and aggressively objecting to the way a trustee was painting some plant pots. It couldn’t have helped his case that the female trustees on the board seem to have borne the brunt of these attacks, and to have felt physically intimidated on at least one occasion – as evidenced in the quoted evidence above.
Holding the owner to be clearly in contempt of the original court order, the Court sentenced him to 6 months’ imprisonment. It suspended this sentence for 5 years on condition that the owner “does not harass or contact any member of the Board of Trustees personally, but must address all communication regarding complaints, grievances, proposals or commentary to the secretary of the applicant in writing”.
The legal action "Mandament van Spolie"
Most property practitioners know the legal maxim that one may not take the law into one’s own hands. But how does this work practically? If a tenant breaches the provisions of the lease and a subsequent acknowledgment of debt, can the landlord lock the gate giving access to the premises as the tenant’s occupation was illegal? The judgment explains how the mandament van spolie, the action supporting the maxim, works in such a scenario.
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Beware as the consequances of non compliance could be severe.
The common law principle of huur gaat voor koop
I frequently receive queries with regard to a tenant’s position where the leased premises is sold, mostly from tenants indicating that they were simply told to vacate before transfer.
A tenant is protected by the common law ‘huur gaat voor koop’ rule. This means that the lease agreement will survive the sale, the new owner will become the landlord and the terms of the existing lease will stay in force until the lease terminates. The new owner will also be responsible to refund the deposit less any claim for damages. A lease agreement may have a specific provision to the contrary and if you anticipate that you may sell property that you are putting up for rental, consider making provision for this.
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