Adjudicator, Thulani Khambule, grants an owner’s application that a respondent pays the costs of damage incurred during renovations.
The order states that the Respondent is to pay the inspection and damage report writing on 704 Villa Royale as per the quotation. This must be executed within 30 days of the order being delivered to the parties.
The applicant, Eileen Joy Haywood, alleges that the respondent, Ms Una Jaarsveldt both owners at Villa Royale, North Coast in Durban, initially applied to the Body Corporate to effect some minor interior alterations. However, it became clear that she initiated some major structural alterations to her flat, including replacing plumbing, removing walls, etc. The Applicant alleged that the Respondent failed to comply with the conditions specified in the alterations form, specifically in that her contractors utilised power tools (jackhammers) to effect certain structural alterations to her unit. Mr. Dennis Haywood who was representing her wife, Eileen Haywood, said that the renovations to the Respondent’s unit and unlawful use of certain tools/machinery, caused damage to common property and neighbouring units.
According to Mr. Haywood the respondent denied responsibility for the damage caused in unit 704, specifically pertaining to the ceilings which have been damaged. She has furthermore also denied liability for damage caused to the common property. ‘’The Respondent provided feedback from her purported engineer who claimed that the damage in unit 704 was caused by spalling and not by her renovations,” said Haywood.
In her response, Jaarsveldt, the Respondent, said she never pretended that she was only going to conduct minor alterations. She stated that the initial permission she requested was for stage one of her renovation, and her contractors removed the majority of the tiles with hammers and chisels. “There was one small area where the tiles were glued so tightly that they had to find another way of removing them, and these were used in total of 3 hours only,” she said.
She further denied allegations that she displayed total disregard for fellow owners as well as the rules and conditions imposed by the Body Corporate.
In reviewing the evidence the Adjudicator said that from the evidence and information submitted, the probabilities of the case together with the reliability and credibility of the witnesses must be considered. He said evidence submitted has been led him to the effect that before the Respondent could commence with the alterations at her Unit 804, she was given a copy of the a documents which sets out the conditions one has to follow when doing alterations or renovations at Villa Royale Body Corporate which she signed and accepted. “Based on evidence before me I am persuaded that the Respondent was in breach of some of the conditions laout out by the Body Corporate for alterations or renovations which were so material in ensuring that the renovations are carried out in a legal manner and with as minimal disturbance to other owners as possible,” said Khambule.
Having reviewed all evidence presented to him, the Adjudicator ordered the respondent to pay for the inspection and damage report writing on Unit 704 Villa Royale which amounts to R 170000 as well as for the work done in Unit 704. The damage amounted to R 46 400.00.
Both parties’ attention was drawn to - Section 57(1) of the CSOS Act of 2011 which provides - “An applicant, the association or any affected person who is dissatisfied by an adjudicator’s order, may appeal to the High Court, but only on a question of law, within thirty (30) days after the date of delivery of the order of the adjudicator."