As load shedding continues and temperatures plummet, more and more South Africans are depending on generators, but rules apply to complexes
WORDS AND PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
While ‘gennies’ are fast becoming a necessity in many South African homes, their installation in complexes is the subject of heated debate, according to sectional title property specialist Marina Constas, a director of BBM Attorneys. She stresses, however, that if trustees and homeowners in complexes arm themselves with the facts, generators could be an invaluable acquisition for every sectional title development aiming to adapt to load shedding.
Keeping electricity on is a necessity
Constas believes that, in view of the security risks posed by electricity outages and load shedding, an immovable generators is a necessity. “A complex’s security systems are generally dependent on the electricity supply. Electric fencing, alarms, electric gates and intercoms may be affected if there’s a power outage, and homeowners put at risk. For this reason, a generator should, in most instances, be viewed as a necessary improvement to the sectional title scheme.”
One for all
Constas’s first word of advice is that it’s preferable to have one generator for the complex as a whole, rather than permitting individual owners to have their own generators. Once this has been agreed upon, a point in question is whether a complex buying a generator is making a ‘reasonably necessary’ or a ‘not reasonably necessary’ improvement to the common property of the development. Different resolutions are required for each, according to the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act.
“If it’s not a reasonably necessary improvement, then an unanimous resolution is required in terms of Management Rule 29 (1),” Constas explains. “If the generator is seen as a necessary improvement, then a special resolution is required and the procedure set out in Management Rule 29 (2) must be complied with.”
Some rules apply
Such a proposal may not be implemented until all members have been given at least 30 days’ written notice with all of these details:
1. The estimated costs associated with the proposed alterations or improvements.
2. Details of how the body corporate intends to meet the costs, including details of any special contributions or loans by the body corporate that will be required for this purpose.
3. A motivation for the proposal, including drawings of the proposed alterations or improvements showing their effect and a motivation of the need for them.
Constas says that, if during this notice period a member requests the body corporate in writing for a general meeting to discuss the proposal, it can only be implemented if approved, with or without amendment, by a special resolution adopted at such a meeting.
When it comes to generators, not all units are created equal, and in a complex in particular, the noise emitted is a significant consideration. Constas recommends that trustees should investigate all options and purchase the generator with the lowest noise levels. “The generator should be stored where it will cause the least nuisance to all residents in the scheme, and where the fumes will not affect the owners,” she concludes.