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Water Shortages and The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act
04 September 2018  | David Allan
 
Water usage in Sectional Title Schemes has long been a debate, sparking arguments and contention between tenants, landlords and body corporates alike. The Water Services Act regulations of 8 June 2001 initially gave a 2 year period within which all sectional title schemes, built prior to the commencement of the Act, were to comply with the installation of water meters per unit in these schemes as a means of measuring the individual water usage of each unit.  

Currently, most sectional title schemes share the overall water usage cost as a levied payment per portion in the scheme. The issue most commonly raised, is the responsibility of each unit to pay their equal share toward the total water usage of the scheme, regardless of the amount of occupants within the unit. Some occupants use water more sparingly whilst other may over indulge without accountability for their individual usage.  

Mr Joseph Tsatsire, the Director of water and sanitation at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has recently confirmed that the installation of individual water meter units in sectional title schemes is to become a reality, carrying with it legal consequences for those who do not abide by the rule. The commencement date of this rule was 9 February 2018 with a two year timeframe to comply.  

This means that by no later than 9 February 2020 individual units must be fitted with a ‘Class C’ water meter according to S31 (4)(a) of the by-law imposed. All new developments are required to be built with their own individual meters installed and no exemptions or rebates will be considered either. The NMBM has already begun the implementation process and advised that sectional title schemes hold special resolution meetings to discuss a means of compliance with the by-law.  

The installation of these meters will be regulated in accordance with the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act, which according to sections 3/4/5, allows body corporates by way of special resolution by its members to install separate meters per unit, to monitor individual water or electricity usage with the requirement that all owners be notified of the special resolution within 60 days of decision. A copy of the Act can be obtained on the NMBM website.  

Should you have any further legal needs or questions, as always, we at Greyvensteins encourage you to contact us for legal guidance, to ensure that all your legal needs are handled with the diligence and professionalism they deserve.