Property Management, Property Rentals and Property Financial Services in South Africa

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Building aesthetics must be safeguarded

Judging a book by its cover may well be an important criterion in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular sectional title building.
Rusty old aircons, weeping brown stains, haphazardly drilled holes and raw plaster patches, facades scarred with satellite dishes and dangling wires, are an all too familiar sight on the high density landscape.

Trustee’s of bodies corporate are duty bound to safeguard the aesthetics of their buildings and there are a few sections of the Sectional Title Act, which prohibits owners from doing anything to compromise the aesthetic appearance of the building, advises David Schaefer, director of the national property management group Trafalgar.

building aesthetics

“It is clearly evident which buildings do not enforce these provisions of the Act,” he adds. Whether ignorant of their responsibilities or apathetic, examples of poor controls abound.

“Air conditioners and satellite dishes are the main offenders”, says Schaefer. Installation requires trustee approval at the very least, and so discreet positioning, conduits covering pipes and wires, painting to match the external wall colour, filled in and painted to match holes, and the maintenance of the installation in the future are all issues that must be discussed to protect the appearance of the building. “Insisting that the contractor does a neat job and makes good once he is done does not have a major cost implication,” says Schaefer, “but it goes a long way to enhancing the value of the property.”

Prescribed Management Rule 68 goes even further by insisting that owners do nothing in their exclusive use areas likely to prejudice the harmonious appearance of the building. Washing lines, built in braai’s and awnings are a few examples of improvements that must conform here, notes Schaefer. No control by the trustees can quickly lead to chaos as various structures in various colours are randomly erected. An experienced managing agent can advise trustees on practical steps that should be taken to preserve and enhance a building’s appearance.

“You can be sure that where trustees have paid attention to a buildings’ aesthetics, they have also paid attention to the finances, gardens, insurance and hidden maintenance items which are also so crucial”, adds Schaefer.

Article printed in the South Coast Herald, Property Week, 22 Nov 2013, page 1

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