Sectional Titles

Occupants from hell

In Body Corporate, Shaftesbury Sectional Title Scheme v Rippert's Estate and Others 2003 (5) SA 1 (C), the body corporate sought a final interdict against the occupants or alternatively, an order for their temporary ejectment pending compliance with the interdict. The body corporate alleged the occupants of the flat contravened the unit's rule by dealing in drugs and prostitution, amongst other activities.

Wille AJ held that there was a pressing social need in South Africa to enable sectional title owners and their controlling bodies to enforce compliance with their rules of conduct. This included the right to deprive an owner and/or occupier of the right to reside in or use the unit in circumstances where there was a constant and deliberate contravention of conduct rules, including the non-payment of levies.

However, there was no authority for the court in this matter to grant an ejectment order because it had not laid the proper foundation for such an order, and the rules of conduct of the body corporate did not provide for ejectment in these circumstances. The owner/occupants of the flat were accordingly ordered to abide by the rules of conduct laid down by the body corporate. It was held that in the event of non-compliance, the body corporate would be granted leave to apply for an order holding the owner of the flat and its occupants in contempt of court and authorising warrants of arrest.

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