The Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) has ruled against Baldwin Properties' attempts to amend regulations phasing out short-term leasing at the Blyde Riverwalk Estate, east of Pretoria.
The decision comes after the ombud indicated last year that it would intervene following the uproar and protest by short-term leaseholders outside the estate decrying the alleged unilateral changes controlling access to the Estate and Lagoon in Pretoria East by the Property developers.
Balwin had set new regulations in September 2021 restricting the number of day visitors and increasing fees to use the lagoon from R100 to R250 per person.
This was followed by the announcement that short-term letting (STL) would be also likely be phased out, something which left homeowners stunned as they alleged that a month prior to that they had been instructed that moving forward they’d have to pay a R2 500 holding fee for possible damages by their guests.
In addition, Thabo Mtsweni, a homeowner and Air BnB owner said homeowners had already been instructed to pay double the levy to cover extra security, cleaning and administration services for their guests’ visits.
CSOS adjudicator Khosi Mabaso in giving the order indicated that the rules instituted by the estate following a general meeting convened on October 14, could not stand as only 53% of the homeowners had voted in favour of the new rule, whereas 75% was required for such a resolution.
Mabaso said the property developer had also failed to provide evidence that the "nuisance" caused in the scheme or lagoon could be attributed solely to short-term letting guests as alleged.
In fact, he said there were indications that even permanent residents were, in certain instances, responsible for the unwanted behaviour within the scheme.
The Ombud also took an issue with the rule by the developer which stipulated that Short term letting of a unit would be subject to terms, conditions and regulations as imposed by it (developer) and the Trustees from time to time should it elect to allow short term letting.
This as Mabaso explained that section 25 of the Constitution confirmed that short-term letting owners had a right to property, which could not be interfered with arbitrarily.