A visitor’s parking bay should be just that - for visitors to the property
THERE is no argument that living in a complex can be complicated at times.
Even here in my tranquil gated community in Pretoria, things often happen which get me hot under the collar – one issue being public parking bays used by residents whose garages are being used for other purposes.
I am by no means petty, but if there are only six public parking bays, I tend to take the hogging of visitor’s parking by residents personally. And I am by no means the only one, it has now emerged from a judgment delivered in the Western Cape High Court.
Residents of Kingshaven, the upmarket security complex in the Big Bay area of Bloubergstrand had enough of a fellow resident who permanently hogged a visitor’s parking space for one of his three vehicles.
They were also fed-up that a second vehicle was permanently parked in front of his garage, with its tail sticking out into the road.
As his garages were full of other things, he only had parking for one of his vehicles, and used common property to park his others.
The homeowners’ association at first turned to a Community Schemes Ombud Service adjudicator to obtain an interdict against the resident, prohibiting him from parking in the bays for visitors, or in front of his garages where his vehicle caused an obstruction.
The adjudicator refused to grant the order on the grounds that it did not fall within the ombud’s jurisdiction. However, she did venture an opinion and said the homeowners’ association “did not have jurisdiction over the visitor's parking bays”.
The disgruntled association successfully turned to the high court to appeal against this ruling. The court noted that there are rules made by the trustees of the homeowners association, and rule 10 specifically regulates parking within the estate. Thus, bikes, caravans, boats, trailers and cars must be parked inside the garages on the resident’s property.
The offending resident tried to justify his conduct by telling the court that it was common practice that people stored fridges and other appliances in their garages, and parked their vehicles either in visitor's bays or in front of their garages.
He also said he unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with the homeowners’ association to rent a visitor's parking spot for his third vehicle.
But the court maintained that rules were rules. It also ordered that a copy of this judgment be sent to the Community Schemes Ombud Service to serve as guidance in future similar cases.
I will be sure to send a copy to my body corporate for future reference.
This issue around parking reminded me of last year’s spat between a resident of a complex in Centurion and his body corporate over his cat, which landed up in court. Cats have always been a contentious topic at complexes.
As in our complex, dogs are welcome in the Centurion complex, but cats less so. The problem, however, is that the resident is a cat man and when his cat died, he got another one.
He managed to keep it under lock and key until the cat ventured outside and was spotted by another resident.
Told that he had to get rid of the cat, the man insisted that it was unfair discrimination to rule that residents may keep dogs, but that cats are banned.
In this case the adjudicator ruled in the man’s favour and found that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. She concluded that homeowners should be treated equally and that dog lovers could not be favoured over cat lovers.
As in the parking bay issue, the association also took this matter on appeal, which is pending as the court requested the adjudicator’s reasons for her findings.