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Q: We are in a new sectional title development and new tenants recently moved in.

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They are flouting all the rules of lockdown, have visitors constantly and break the 9pm curfew. Apart from this, they are noisy, unruly and have loud music playing into the early hours of the morning.

We addressed this with the managing agent but all they did was send a letter about the Covid-19 regulations. But the new tenants are ignoring them.

We even asked security about letting in so many cars and strangers and they said they were told by the managing agent this was okay, as long as the tenant signs them in. I am concerned, first for our health, but also because of the level of noise and disruption and the managing agent’s inability to help. It’s making our lives unpleasant. They also have a dog that is left unattended and barks all day. Please help. What can we do?

A: Enforcement is a concerning issue that is highlighted daily by the number of questions posed to me regarding Covid-19 in sectional title schemes. Trustees have mentioned that, in spite of sending out letters outlining the law, owners, and tenants in particular, are not taking the situation seriously and disobey measures put in place to protect the occupants.

Trustees have the fiduciary duty of care, skill and diligence in managing the body corporate. They are required to lead by example and must also realise that they are not involved in a popularity competition. It can get very tough to enforce the rules, particularly where you have difficult, obstructive individuals to deal with.

Any unreasonable contravention of the Covid-19 regulations must, without question, be addressed by the trustees in writing. While the managing agent can be tasked with addressing the correspondence, the buck stops with the trustees.

Should no satisfactory response be forthcoming from the contravening party, the police can be approached. I have heard the complaint more than once that the police do not respond, don’t pitch or, if they do, they are ineffective.

Quite frankly, it is not good enough for trustees to leave things there. The police are not faceless spectres who are above the law, unaccountable to anyone. They have structures within which they operate, they have station commanders above them and, importantly, there are community policing forums that work with the police to ensure that the community is served.

Owners must report people who don’t do their jobs. Trustees represent the body corporate and must, in terms of the sectional title schemes legislation, act in the best interests of the owners. It’s a case of either being in 100% or rather letting someone else take on the responsibility. – Marina Constas, director at BBM Law

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