Section Title Schemes

Responsibilities of Owners and Body Corporates

Body corporates

I do a fair amount of inspections in sectional title schemes. Often, owners ask me if body corporates will pay for repairs inside their units. Obviously, their concern is about damage caused by external factors such as rainstorms, burst geysers and so on.

Each case is usually based on its merits. Usually, the body corporate’s trustees use their discretion when deciding to whom they allocate the cost of repairs and replacement. However, there are many grey areas and the differences between the owner’s and body corporate’s liability and responsibility.

The Body Corporate’s obligations

Body corporates are responsible for the repairs and maintenance and upkeep of the common properties.

Furthermore, the body corporate maintains all pipes, ducts, wiring etc. for the common property and services to more than one unit.

Your obligations as an owner of a section

You must maintain and keep in good state your section. Moreover, you must also keep any part of the common property to which you have the right neat and tidy. These are exclusive use areas such as gardens, patios, balconies, parking areas, garages etc.

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Boundary Walls

Preventing and Repairing Cracks in Boundary Walls

Damaged boundary walls around your property can spoil the whole look and feel of your property. Furthermore, cracked and leaning walls can also pose a danger to passers-by should the wall fall over.

boundary wall
This was a wall that was butt jointed against the neighbour’s wall. The danger here is that when the wall falls over portions of the wall will be spread over the pavement and possibly into the road. If a pedestrian is close by serious injury could result!

This article explains the correct way to repair boundary walls and install expansion joints!

Firstly, if your walls have ugly cracks and broken plasterwork and brickwork at the expansion joints do not plaster them up as shown in the photos below!

boundary wall
This expansion joint was chopped open and plastered up. The joint will crack at the joint again. This is a waste of time and money and will cause more problems than before!

Furthermore, the work done on these boundary walls will result in more cracking in the walls!

Many boundary walls and retaining walls may fail prematurely due to the lack of provision for movement. However, this is usually not a fault in the materials used, but usually a lack of proper design. Even when the design is correct, the construction of the boundary wall and expansion joints are often faulty.

What is an expansion joint?

It is a separation between two portions of the same structure. A butt joint in a boundary wall is not an expansion joint!

Expansion joints in boundary walls

When building a boundary wall, an expansion joint is a separation designed to relieve stress on building materials caused by movement induced by thermal expansion and contraction. They are therefore specifically provided in boundary walls to avoid cracks occurring in the wall.

Temperature changes and seasonal changes mostly cause the movement in the boundary walls. However, expansion joints also permit movement due to ground settlement, seismic events and expansive soils.

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Weekend Projects

Weekend Projects to Increase Resale Value

by Kay Pascale

resale-value

If you’re trying to increase the resale value of your home, there are probably more than a few side projects you want to finish before putting the house on the market for all to see. While some of these, like any kind of roof maintenance, are true renovations that likely require the help and vision of an expert, there remain some weekend projects that you can complete in a single weekend. Here are a few tips to help increase the resale value of your house.

Fix Outdoor Landscaping to Improve Curb Appeal

The first thing potential buyers will see when they walk up to your home is the landscaping. Do trees and bushes look overgrown? Is the lawn too long, or are there unsightly stumps and plants littering the yard? A little prevention in the form of weeding, gardening, watering, and trimming will have the front of your house looking immaculate and inviting to potential buyers. According to Home-Dzine, your lawn is probably one of the first things someone will notice about your house. Therefore, keep your grass trimmed, remove dead branches, and plant some flowers for a pop of colour.

Clean Your Gutters

Power washing the walls and the driveway is a great way to make your home look well cared for. This allows your house to stand out in a positive way from the rest of the houses on your street. Moreover, Gutters are often overlooked when cleaning up the outside of a home because you can’t see them from ground level. But rest assured it will make a big difference.

Make Any Necessary Repairs

Repairs can easily be completed in the span of a weekend. In addition, to ensure that there are no visible red flags, have a walkthrough or seller’s inspection. This will pinpoint any areas that need to be worked on prior to selling the home. Things that may be simply annoying to you might be deal-breakers for a buyer. In particular, leaky taps, mould damage, or a faulty light switch could be the difference between that SOLD sign and spending weeks or even months languishing on the market.

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Renting Out a Home

renting

6 Major Things to Know Before Renting Out a Home

By Kay Pascale

With the rising rate of short-term and long-term rentals, there’s a lack of knowledge when it comes to what exactly needs to be done. Different scenarios for renting out your home could yield different challenges. Overall, if you’re deciding to rent out a home to others, there are some basics you should know before you market the home to find a tenant.

1. Pay Attention to Your Home’s Exterior

If you don’t think the exterior of your home matters, think again. Houses are instantly judged just by how the outside looks. If a home looks clean and manicured from the outside, potential renters will remember it and have a more positive outlook before seeing the inside. Although keeping up your curb appeal may be demanding for you and your wallet, you can follow some simple tips to manage the toll nature may take on your home and achieve a beautiful look.

2. Understand Indoor Mechanics

The inside of your home goes a bit beyond just looking nice. You need to be prepared for questions about appliances, recent updates, home improvement projects, and how well the working parts are doing within the home. Specifically, air quality can be a huge question among potential renters. Become educated on indoor air quality and other mechanics of your home so that future tenants can feel safe inside.

3. Learn About Required Legal Actions

Before renting out a house, know that there are some legal actions that need to be addressed if you’re becoming a landlord. Things like insurance and the Rental Housing Amendment Act are good places to start. There are also specific taxes that need to be considered and extra taxation claims to your personal account. Seeing a professional may be a good way to make sure your legal odds and ends are covered.

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Plants Growing against Your House.

The Danger of Creeper Plants Growing Against Your House

Creeper Plants

A while back, I inspected a house in an older part of Johannesburg. From the road, the house was very pretty with an ivy creeper growing on the walls. However, having plants winding their way up your outside walls can cause actual damage to your house. Therefore, you should think twice before allowing creepers to grow on any wall in the first place.

In fact, the best advice is not to have any gardens within 1 metre of your home! Watering gardens against your home can cause uneven settlement of the foundation and cracks in your house.

The worst plants to plant against your house are destructive plants known as “self clingers”.

Self-clinging creepers

Self clinger creeper’s rootlets go into existing fine cracks and fissures, using them to enhance adhesion and occasionally penetrating the interiors of buildings through them. The mortar between bricks can be loosened through this activity and is often torn away from the wall when a creeper is removed. The same strong adhesion can result in chunks of plasterwork being pulled away, attached to the creeper vines.

In addition, on roof structures, creeper tendrils and rootlets can work their way under roof tiles and other roofing materials. Unless you remove the creeper maintenance, like painting and roof repairs, is impossible.

Moreover, any plants and shrubs with their foliage against your home may even dislodge gutters and roof tiles and can hold damaging moisture against wall surfaces causing moisture to penetrate into the wall and roof structure of your home.

Some articles and posts claim not all climbing plants bad for your house and some can provide “genuinely benefits”. However, the detrimental effect of having these climbers on your walls far outweigh any benefits they may have. Moreover, some climbing plants are very aggressive in the way they attach themselves to your walls and, if left unchecked, can cause serious structural problems.

Which creepers to avoid?

Ivy is a prime example. The sort of plants to avoid having grown up your wall are often the ones that have “suckers” or little mini branches like spikes, that burrow under the paint into the plastered walls and into the mortar joints of the face brick walls for a foothold.

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