How to stop cat crap

Question:
Cats have been using the garden in the common property outside our front door and dining room window as a toilet for more than a year. The body corporate is refusing to restore the area and take measures to prevent recurrence. This disgusting situation is steadily worsening to the point where we can no longer entertain guests.

The estimated cost is R200. Is the body corporate legally required to rectify the situation? The chairman owns cats and we don’t.

Answer:
The Sectional Titles Act, 1986 provides that the body corporate is responsible for maintaining and repairing the common property. Maintenance includes cleaning and therefore if the area in question is common property then the body corporate is legally obligated to clean up the mess.

It sounds as if you have informed the trustees of the problem and they are refusing to do anything about it. The one remedy available to you in terms of the prescribed rules is to declare a dispute with the body corporate and if it is not resolved within 14 days to refer the dispute to arbitration.

But if the estimated cost of restoring the area in question is only R200 then, if you are the only person being affected by the mess, it would be more cost effective for you to ask for the trustee’s permission to restore the area yourself and have some preventative measures put in place to prevent the situation reoccurring.

If a number of owners are affected by this situation you could rally the support of 25 percent of all owners in number and value and request in writing that the trustees call a special general meeting to discuss this issue. If the trustees do not call the requisitioned meeting within 14 days of the request then the owners who requested the meeting will be entitled to call the meeting themselves. At this meeting the owners may by majority vote direct the trustees to arrange for the area in question to be restored and for preventative measures to be put in place to prevent the situation reoccurring in the future.

Article by: Jennifer Clements - www.paddocks.co.za