Is utilising the common property prohibited during lockdown?
We have received queries from various clients as to whether owners are restricted in terms of the lockdown to their units, or whether they are entitled to continue utilising the common property.
In terms of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, ownership of a sectional title unit is defined as comprising of the unit or a section or an undivided share in the common property forming part of such unit.
In terms of the Disaster Management Regulations issued in respect of the lockdown by Dr Nkosazana Zuma, MP:
- Gatherings are defined as an assembly, concourse or procession, all of which are prohibited save for funerals.
- Lockdown means the restriction of movement of persons during the period for which the regulations are in force and effect.
- In terms of Regulation 11B (1) (a) (i) for the period of lockdown, every person is confined to their place of residence, unless for selected emergency services or obtaining essential services.
It is therefore unclear as to whether, in respect of community schemes, the owners of the units and common property are then entitled to utilise the common property. To this end, Graham Paddock, an expert within the field, together with Professor C.G Van der Merwe, has drafted a letter to the government asking them to clarify this and has included the suggested amendments. We have a copy of the letter should you want to see it.
It is further submitted that if it does become lawful that owners be entitled to utilise common property, this would be subject to principles of social distancing being set out by the trustees or directors.
If there are any further developments on this, we shall let you know otherwise you can contact us for more information.