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Children and secitional title havoc

By Victor M on Wed, 04 Jul 2018 at 18:03

I am a trustee in a townhouse complex where a situation with children playing in driveways, which is a common property is now out of control. Because of recent sales and rents in our complex, there is now in total 12 boys per 20 stand-alone units and sometimes they get together creating a lot of havoc, but 4-6 of them are playing soccer almost daily without any supervision, although our complex rules prohibit so.

For instance, they can do it just outside of my entrance door, hitting a garage door and throwing soccer and tennis balls into my swimming pool, yelling, shouting and crying next to my unit, thus depriving me and my guests of privacy by this disturbing noise. Children also damage plants and litter on the common property and they ride bicycles sometimes in front or next to moving cars again without any supervision.

All of a sudden we have a number of cases of vandalism: communal water tap was badly damaged, all of fire boxes have broken or no glass in them, photo relay used for communal lighting is damaged.

When these issues were raised on our WhatsApp group, parents reaction was aggressive, hostile and highly emotional, although we, trustees, just asked them to supervise their children.

Recently, on a request of us, trustees, a Managing Agent office e-mailed a message with a copy of Conduct Rules to all the unit owners with a request for children to play in a complex only under supervision, but the kids are still playing (soccer) like nothing happened.

Unit owners, including trustees, expressed their concern and recently we had a trustees meeting with a representative of the Managing Agent. We asked him as to how to remedy the situation, and we learnt from him (to my shock) the following:

1. We can't even approach children as it can be considered an attack on them, therefore we can speak only to their parents.
2. Children can do whatever they want on the common property, even if it is driveways and they can damage whatever they can as long as they are not caught in the act.
3. If caught, then their parents have to pay for a damage, otherwise kids can continue with their games.
4. Our Conduct Rules don't prohibit playing ball games or riding bicycles in the complex, but if they do then this could be appealed to the Ombudsman office who will definitely consider such a prohibition unlawful.

Can you please advise if these statements are correct and children now are like sacred animals who can do whatever they want and we, adults, can only watch them destroying our properties and creating a lot of nuisance? Are we, those who bought our units with our hard-earned money, who have to pay mortgages and who are concerned of our property value, in reality powerless vegetables who can only complain to each other? Are we really hostages to those kids who, as it looks like, are now in full control and literally govern our complex? Is that really so? If not, how can we enforce children supervision and prohibit ball games in driveways? Thank you.

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RE: Children and secitional title havoc

Murray Bennett replied on Thu, 05 Jul 2018 at 14:45

1. We can't even approach children as it can be considered an attack on them, therefore we can speak only to their parents.
A: That would be the correct procedure.

2. Children can do whatever they want on the common property, even if it is driveways and they can damage whatever they can as long as they are not caught in the act.
A: No. https://www.privateproperty.co.za/advice/property/articles/a-question-of-volume-in-sectional-title-schemes/3211...Show More

RE: RE: Children and secitional title havoc

Victor M replied on Thu, 05 Jul 2018 at 15:31

Hi Murray,

Thank you for your informative and encouraging reply, including a link to a Private Property article. I have a question about it as it states that "If all else fails Paddocks says that external mediation or arbitration are the dispute resolution mechanisms to follow". Why there is no reference to the Ombudsman service, maybe it has been just overlooked? Thank you.

RE: RE: RE: Children and secitional title havoc

Murray Bennett replied on Fri, 06 Jul 2018 at 01:12

https://www.paddocks.co.za/resources/guide-to-csos-applications-for-dispute-resolution/

To expand on a3 above. The owner of the unit who is responsible for their own, their families and their tenants would have to foot the bill. If the culprit is a tenant the owner must them reclaim the costs from them.

RE: RE: RE: RE: Children and secitional title havoc

Victor M replied on Sat, 07 Jul 2018 at 15:36

Thank you for your reply, Murray, I appreciate it.

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