Homeowner's association penalties have been ruled by the Supreme Court of Appeal as legally enforceable.
Rules related to speed limits on the road within the estate are included and can be enforced against the residents of the estate as members of the homeowner’s association (HOA).
A previous ruling by the KwaZulu Natal High Court concluded that roads within private estates fall within the definition of “public roads” according to the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA).
Therefore, the court ruled that enforcement of speed limits on such roads were reserved for traffic authorities under the NRTA and that it was unlawful for the HOA to enforce such rules.
However, the Supreme Court of Appeal took a closer look at the exact definition of what is considered a public road in terms of the NRTA.
The definition is as follows: “any road, street or thoroughfare which is commonly used by the public or any section thereof or to which the public or any section thereof has a right of access to.”
The Supreme Court highlighted the fact that the right of public to enter and exit private estates are typically strictly controlled by means of electric fencing, boundary walls, security guards, access codes or tags and biometric scanning.
With this in consideration, it’s clear that the general public do not have direct access or right of access to the roads within such residential estates, excluding persons who have been granted temporary access to the estate and its roads through permission of owners in the estate.
Therefore, the roads found within private residential estates were not deemed as public roads by the Supreme Court.
When purchasing property in a private estate, one automatically becomes a member of its HOA. Through this purchase of property, one willingly agrees to be legally bound to its rules and conduct, including the penalties related to misconduct.
Therefore, there is a contractual relationship that exists between the HOA and its members and the control of the speed limit within the estate falls under the contract.
However, these rules can not be enforced against the general public who have been granted temporary access to the estate and its roads.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court deemed a lower speed limit within residential estates are enforced as a means to protect the interests of the homeowners in the estate, considering the fact that children, animals and pedestrians may be using these roads and should be able to do so safely.
Any member who is found exceeding these limits is ultimately acting in a manner that does have the interests of other members at heart.
Therefore, if you are a member of a HOA, it’s advisable that you are fully aware of all the rules and regulations of the association as these rules are legally enforceable by means of penalties as well as fines.
For more information about Homeowner's Association penalties as well as other matters related to property law, contact our property attorneys in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
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