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Neighbourly Relations: A Tale of Sectional Title Tribulations

“You can’t choose your family or your neighbours.”

Ah, the eternal truth that binds us all in the tapestry of life. While we may carefully curate our friends and meticulously select our furnishings, the people who reside next door are often a roll of the dice. Sometimes, they’re the delightful companions who water your plants when you’re away, and other times, well, let’s just say they keep you up at night with their questionable taste in music and suspicious nighttime activities.

In the Sectional Title context, understanding the responsibilities outlined in legislation is crucial. Section 13 of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011 delineates the “Duties of Owners,” emphasizing considerations for the use of common property and individual sections within the scheme. Specifically, clauses (d) and (e) of Section 13(1) underscore the importance of respecting the rights and comfort of fellow residents. Owners are mandated to use common property responsibly and to ensure that their own sections do not become sources of nuisance for others within the community.

Noise and Nuisance:

Meet Dave and Sarah, the friendly couple who moved into the unit next door just a few weeks ago. At first glance, they seemed like the epitome of suburban bliss, with their well-manicured lawn and penchant for Sunday barbecues. However, little did their neighbours, Alex and Emily, know that beneath the facade of domesticity lay a rather unconventional hobby.

One fine Saturday morning, as Alex sipped his coffee on the patio, he was treated to an unexpected sight: Dave and Sarah, blissfully soaking in their jacuzzi in the early hours of dawn. But that wasn’t the shocking part. Oh no, what truly caught Alex off guard was the fact that his neighbours were completely, unabashedly naked.

As if the spectacle of nudity wasn’t enough, Dave had decided to crank up the disco music to full volume, transforming their backyard oasis into a makeshift nightclub. With each thumping beat reverberating through the walls, Alex couldn’t help but wonder if he had unwittingly stumbled into an episode of a reality TV show gone awry.

For poor Emily, who valued her beauty sleep above all else, the cacophony was nothing short of a nightmare. As she tossed and turned in bed, visions of glittering disco balls and gyrating neighbours invaded her dreams, leaving her longing for the serenity of a quiet morning.

But amidst the chaos and confusion, one thing became abundantly clear: Dave and Sarah’s late-night escapades were beginning to test the limits of neighbourly tolerance. As the sun rose higher in the sky, Alex and Emily found themselves faced with a dilemma: how to address the situation without causing undue friction in the neighbourhood. 

A Fragrant Dilemma: Cannabis Use in Community Schemes

In the serene enclave of Maplewood Estates, where the scent of freshly-cut grass mingles with the aroma of morning coffee, a new fragrance has begun to waft through the air. A pungent, unmistakable smell that can only be attributed to one thing: cannabis.

Dave and Sarah, the friendly couple next door to Alex and Emily, have always been open-minded about recreational cannabis. However, as the scent seeps into their home, they find themselves facing an unexpected dilemma. Despite attempts at ventilation and the strategic placement of fans, the fragrance persists, leaving Dave and Sarah with pounding headaches and a growing sense of unease.

In the world of community schemes, where individual freedoms intersect with communal responsibilities, navigating the nuances of cannabis use can be a delicate dance. While the New Cannabis Bill has decriminalized the private use of cannabis, the question of where one’s private space ends and another’s begins remains murky. According to Sectional Title Schemes Management Act Rule 30(e), the body corporate is responsible for ensuring that owners or occupiers do not use common property or exclusive use areas in a way that unreasonably interferes with the rights of others. In this case, the scent of cannabis drifting into Dave and Sarah’s home could be seen as a violation of their rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property.

In the end, finding a solution that respects the rights and concerns of all parties involved will require open communication, empathy, and perhaps a touch of compromise. However, should all attempt at resolution falter, remember that assistance is available. At A de Bruyn Attorneys, we understand the complexities of community schemes and are equipped to guide you through the process referring your complaint to the Community Scheme Ombud for further intervention and resolution. Your peace of mind matters to us, and we’re here to ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.

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