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A body corporate may NOT switch off the lights

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Q

My tenant has alerted me to the fact that the body corporate where she resides switched off the electricity to her specific block in the complex as a result of noisy tenant/residents visiting friends residing in the same block.

While being warned on several occasions, this noisy tenant’s friends simply ignored the warning and the body corporate simply decided the only way to keep them quiet was to switch off the electricity for that specific block – inconveniencing my tenants and others within the block.

What recourse or action can I take towards the body corporate for this unacceptable behaviour or what advice could you give as to how I can approach this when I speak to the estate manager/property manager? – Marlise

A

Hi Marlise, the conduct of the body corporate is patently unlawful to say the least. In this regard, I note that by unilaterally cutting off the electricity to the relevant block, the body corporate has made itself guilty of an unlawful act of deprivation.

It is relevant to point out that the body corporate may under no circumstances take the law into its own hands and deprive any of the units in the complex of electricity. The body corporate is required to follow the appropriate legal channels (which are determined by its own conduct rules). This would be the case, even in the case of an offending tenant/occupant.

In the circumstances, I am of the view that correspondence should be addressed to the body corporate:

  • Advise them of the unlawfulness of their conduct;
  • Advise them that such conduct will not be tolerated in future; and
  • Advise them that any future transgressions of this nature will be met with strict admonishment, which will include approaching a court for urgent relief, along with an appropriate punitive costs order.

Got a burning question? Email david@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist you


Who is Marlon Shevelew?

Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates.

Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates.

Marlon Shevelew is the director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates Inc. a law firm specialising in rental property, contractual, consumer and company law. The firm is the recipient of more than 45 international property law awards. Marlon is current author of PayProp’s rental documentation and preferred rental property attorney to the Institute of Estate Agents South Africa (IEASA), the Rental Housing Tribunal Western Cape and presenter of the Advanced Residential Property Law Seminar endorsed by the University of Cape Town. Marlon has featured on Cape Talk 567 and Property Matters on DStv, contributes as a guest expert to several property publications and was invited by Juta to write a book on rental property law, by LexisNexis Butterworths to edit its forms and precedents on rental property law and, on no less than three occasions, was invited by the Law Society of South Africa to lecture and train candidate attorneys and attorneys on rental property law. Marlon also created the unique Rental Retainer ClubRentDoc  and LevyDoc which offers clients affordable legal fees for rental property and sectional title related matters. Marlon is contactable on marlon@marlonshevelew.co.za anytime for more information on these services.

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david.steynberg@gmail.com

David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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