I stay in a townhouse and fell behind on...

Asked by sailfish9229 on 29-06-2016 15:18:41
Question posted in the Property Law category relating to Gauteng
Question value: R 100.00

I stay in a townhouse and fell behind on my levy & electricity (+/- R70,000). The body corporate has since changed the breaker to 10amp in the electricity box out side my unit, but you can't even put the geyser on without it tripping. I wen't to tell them it has tripped and they said I must call an electrician to come and switch it back on for my cost. They did not inform us of anything or show us a court order that they could do this.

Further information relating to Question:

I have heard I can get a spoliation order but when I went to JHB court they gave me the run-around by giving me a website address and sending me on my way.

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Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 29-06-2016 17:20:06
Hi there and thank you for your question,

If the Body Corporate disconnected your electricity supply without a court order, then you would most certainly be entitled to apply for an urgent spoliation order, which would force the Body Corporate to reconnect the supply. But that's not exactly what happened, unfortunately... what they did was to reduce the supply from 30A to 10A.

In my opinion you would not really have good grounds to get a spoliation order forcing the Body Corporate to "open up the taps" (so to speak) to let you use the full electricity supply.

If you were renting the property my suggestion would be that I think that a better option would be to use section 9 of the Procedural Regulations to the Rental Housing Act which provides that a tenant may lodge a complaint to the Rental Housing Tribunal on an urgent basis for spoliation or interdict (if the tenant’s electricity was cut off by the landlord). You'll need to argue that the Body Corporate reducing the electiricty supply is the same thing as turning it off completely. The advantage here is that you don't need a lawyer to represent you, you can represent yourself!

But I think that you are actually the owner of the property, and a member of the Body Corporate, and not a tenant.

If you had the money to spend on an attorney I would say that your only option would be to hire an attorney to assist you. The hurdle to be overcome is that your supply was not completely turned off, it was just restricted. There was a case recently which dealt with water, and the court held that as long as there was water flowing out of the pipes (albeit slowly!) there was no spoliation.

But if you had the money for an attorney my suggestion would be that you should rather spend the money on your arrear levies account. Enter into an acknowledgement of debt with the Body Corporate to pay off the arrears over a period of time. In that way they will "turn back on" your electricity soon, and without legal fees!

If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.

Att. Patrick

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Information provided by client

The problem is I am sitting with no electricity as they wont switch it back on and it has been 3 weeks now. It tripped as they did not inform us that they were changing the breaker so I put the kettle on and it tripped. I am in the process of selling the townhouse through the easysell program from Std Bank and I am on debt review.

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 01-07-2016 09:11:09
Hi there,

What about entering into an agreement with the body corporate that they will be paid the arrear electricity & levies directly by the bank as soon as the townhouse has been sold? They should accept that, especially if Standard Bank gives a written undertaking to do so.

Answer Accepted

This answer was accepted on 01-07-2016 09:24:26

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