Monthly Archives: October 2014

Informele besluite deur Huiseienaarsverenigings

A2_BDie meeste huiseienaarsverenigings het streng voorskrifte wat die estetiese voorkoms van geboue binne die landgoed betref. Dit sluit gewoonlik heinings en ander kleiner aanbouings in, wat nie altyd deur die huiseienaar self as ‘n bouprojek beskou word wat binne die reëls van die huiseienaarsvereniging, die Memorandum van Inkorporasie (MVI) of die Memorandum van Assosiasie (MVA) val nie. Die huiseienaar dien dan nie planne en/of tekeninge in vir formele goedkeuring deur die trustees of direkteure van die vereniging nie.

Sommige huiseienaars omseil die voorgeskrewe formele proses deur ‘n trustee of direkteur uit te nooi vir ‘n informele gesprek en beduie dan met groot gebare hoe die beoogde prieel of heining daar sal uitsien. Enige instemmende kopknik deur die trustee of direkteur word deur die huiseienaar as “goedkeuring” van die beplande projek beskou.

Die howe het soos volg beslis in verband met die “toestemming” verleen deur ‘n trustee tydens ‘n informele byeenkoms, spesifiek in gevalle waar die MVI of MVA van die huiseienaarsvereniging ‘n duidelike prosedure voorskryf vir die verkryging van goedkeuring vir enige bouprojek of verbetering:

  1. ‘n Trustee of direkteur moet, voordat hy ‘n plan goedkeur, hom eers deeglik vergewis van alle oorweginge wat die landgoed in die geheel raak en nie bloot die persoonlike verhouding wat hy met die huiseienaar het, in ag neem nie. Om behoorlik ingelig te wees, moet ‘n trustee normaalweg ‘n besluit neem in komitee sodat die aangeleentheid gedebatteer kan word. Die trustee se besluit moet geneem word met bewustelike nakoming van die voorskrifte van die MVI of MVA, welke ookal van toepassing is, en met inagneming van die langtermynbelange van die lede. As die trustee hiermee in versuim bly, impliseer dit dat hy nie behoorlike aandag aan alle toepaslike oorweginge geskenk het nie. Dit is moontlik om die verlening van toestemming aan iemand toe te reken in sowel sy persoonlike as amptelike hoedanigheid. 
  2. Die aard van die verhouding tussen huiseienaars en ‘n huiseienaarsvereniging, daargestel deur die onderskrywing van die MVI of MVA, vestig ‘n ooreenkoms waarvolgens elke huiseienaar hom vrywillig gebonde ag aan die besluite geneem deur ‘n liggaam van verkose trustees aan wie die reg en mag verleen is om bindende besluite te neem oor sake wat die verhoudinge onderling en die landgoed in die algemeen raak. 
  3. Daar moet verder daarop gelet word of skriftelike toestemming verleen is deur die trustee aangesien sodanige optrede deur die trustee ‘n bykomende oorweging is in die beoordeling of dit ‘n formele besluit daarstel al dan nie. 

Kyk veral Hoosen & Others NNO v Deedat 1999 (4) SA 425 (SCA) en Khyber Rock Estate East Home Owners Association v 09 of Erf 823 Woodmead Ext 13 CC, ‘n uitspraak deur Sy Edele regter Spilg in die Witwatersrandse Plaaslike Afdeling onder saaknommer 7689/2006.

Waar die huiseienaar nie die voorgeskrewe handelswyse gevolg het nie, kan ‘n informele gesprek oor die bouplanne van ‘n huiseienaar nie beskou word as ‘n formele besluit geneem deur die trustees van die huiseienaarsvereniging nie.

In die geval waar die huiseienaar die informele toestemming as ‘n “besluit” geneem deur die trustees van die huiseienaarsvereniging beskou, sal die howe nie inmeng met die besluit geneem deur ‘n huiseienaarsverening nie behalwe op die erkende gronde van regterlike hersiening soos toegepas op vrywillige assosiasies wie se lede hul tot die reëls van die assosiasie verbind het, wat insluit die afwenteling van besluitnemingsbevoegdheid na ‘n verkose liggaam van trustees. (Turner v Jockey Club of South Africa 1974 (3) SA, SA Medical & Dental Council v McLoughlin 1948 (2) SA 355 (AD) en Marlin v Durban Turf Club & Others 1942 AD 112). 

Trustees en direkteure moet derhalwe uiters versigtig wees tydens informele gesprekke met huiseienaars en aandring op die stiptelike nakoming van die voorgeskrewe proses, soos in die reëls, die MVI of die MVA omskryf. Dit is raadsaam om enige kommentaar of opinie te vermy en dit liefs uit te spreek in die gepaste forum – die formele vergadering van die trustees of direkteure waar die saak in die agenda opgeneem is ter nakoming van die assosiasie se voorgeskrewe formele vereistes.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

 

Informal decisions by Homeowners’ Associations

A2_BMany homeowners’ associations have strict requirements concerning the aesthetic appearance of buildings on the estate. These include fences and other smaller additions that are not always considered by the homeowner to be building projects in terms of the rules, the Memorandum of Association (MOA) or the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI). The owners then fail to submit plans and/or drawings for formal approval by the trustees or directors of the association.

Some homeowners knowingly attempt to avoid the prescribed formal process and merely invite a trustee or director for an informal discussion, explaining with waving arms the envisaged building project, be it a fence or a pergola. The nod of approval by the trustee is then held by the homeowner to be “approval” of the planned project.

The courts have ruled as follows with regard to the “consent” granted by a trustee at an informal meeting with the homeowner, where the MOA or MOI of the homeowners’ association clearly dictates a procedure for approval of any building or improvement:

  1. In order for a trustee or director to sign off a plan in his official capacity, a trustee must properly inform himself of the issues which affect the complex as a whole and not simply have regard to his or her inter-personal relationship with the homeowner. In order to be properly informed, a trustee must ordinarily make a decision in committee with the benefit of debate. His decision must consciously have regard to the MOA or the MOI, whichever case it may be, and the long-term interests of the members. Failure by the trustee to do so will imply that the trustee has not applied his mind to all the relevant issues. It may be possible to impute acceptance by a person both in his individual and official capacity.
  2. The nature of the relationship established between homeowners under a MOA or MOI to which each subscribes, constitutes an agreement in terms of which each homeowner submits contractually to the decisions of a body of elected trustees to whom they have conferred the right and power to make binding decisions on matters that affect their relationship inter se, or which generally affect the estate.
  3. It is further important to take note of whether written consent has been granted by the trustee, as such an action by the trustee would be an additional consideration to establish whether a formal decision will be deemed to have been made. 

See specifically Hoosen & Others NNO v Deedat 1999 (4) SA 425 (SCA) and Khyber Rock Estate East Home Owners Association v 09 of Erf 823 Woodmead Ext 13 CC, a judgement by his honourable acting justice Spilg in the Witwatersrand Local Division in case number 7689/2006.

An informal discussion regarding the building plans of the homeowner can thus not be deemed as a formal decision made by the trustees of the homeowners’ association, if the homeowner failed to follow the prescribed procedure.

In the event that a homeowner indeed deems the informal consent as a “decision” made by the trustees of the homeowners’ association, the courts will not interfere with the decision made by a homeowners’ body save under recognised grounds of judicial review as applied to a voluntary association whose members have bound themselves to its rules, which include the conferring of decision-making functions on an elected body of trustees. (Turner v Jockey Club of South Africa 1974 (3) SA, SA Medical & Dental Council v McLoughlin 1948 (2) SA 355 (AD) and Marlin v Durban Turf Club & Others 1942 AD 112). 

Trustees and directors should therefore take care when having informal discussions with homeowners and insist on the due process, in terms of the rules, the MOA or the MOI, to be followed to the letter. Rather avoid commenting or voicing an opinion except at the appropriate forum – the formal meeting of the trustees or directors where the item is noted on the agenda in compliance with the association’s prescribed formal requirements.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Vruggebruik (usufruct), gebruiksreg (usus) en habitatio: Wat is die verskil?

A1_BVruggebruik, gebruiksreg en habitatio is persoonlike serwitute. Hierdie serwitute word soms as instrument in boedelbeplanning gebruik om boedelbelasting te verminder, maar testateurs besef nie altyd wat dit behels en die las wat dit op erfgename kan plaas nie. 

Wat is ‘n persoonlike serwituut?

‘n Persoonlike serwituut verleen aan ‘n persoon die reg om ‘n ander persoon se eiendom te gebruik en te geniet. Die serwituut is afdwingbaar teen die eienaar van die eiendom wat belas is met die serwituut, maar die serwituut kan nie deur die serwituuthouer oorgedra word nie. Die serwituut kan verleen word vir ‘n vaste termyn, of totdat ‘n toekomstige gebeurtenis plaasvind, of vir die leeftyd van die serwituutbegunstigde, maar nie meer na sy dood nie. 

Hoe word ‘n persoonlike serwituut geskep?

Dit word gewoonlik geskep in ‘n testament, maar kan ook geskep word by wyse van ‘n ooreenkoms.

VRUGGEBRUIK (USUFRUCT)

Vruggebruik is die reg wat aan ‘n persoon verleen word om die eiendom van ‘n ander te gebruik en te geniet en die vrugte (opbrengs) daarvan te neem, sonder om die aard van die eiendom te verander. Wanneer vruggebruik byvoorbeeld oor ‘n plaas verleen word, sluit dit gewoonlik ook die geboue en vee, boerderytoerusting en die meubels van die woonhuis in. 

Die algemene pligte van die vruggebruiker

Die vruggebruiker is slegs geregtig op die gebruik en genot van die eiendom; hy verkry nie eiendomsreg nie. Die vruggebruiker mag nie die eiendom uitput of vernietig nie, maar hy is verplig om dit te bewaar. Die eiendom moet gebruik word op die wyse waarvoor dit bedoel is. ‘n Nuwe wyse van gebruik van die eiendom is toelaatbaar mits dit sinvol is onder die omstandighede. 

Reg op vrugte

Die vruggebruiker mag die vrugte neem, gebruik of vervreem hetsy die vrugte natuurlik, industrieel of saaklik van aard is. Dit beteken dat die vruggebruiker geregtig is op al die produkte wat die grond bied en alle wins en inkomste wat verkry word uit die eiendom. Die kleintjies van diere asook alle produkte afkomstig van die diere, insluitend melk, wol of eiers, word die eiendom van die vruggebruiker. Die vruggebruiker verkry eienaarskap van die vrugte deur dit self te versamel of deur iemand te kry om dit namens hom te doen. Gewasse op die lande word nie as vrugte beskou nie, maar as deel van die grond en moet eers versamel en van die grond geskei word. Vrugte wat nie by die verstryking van die vruggebruik versamel is nie, kan nie oorgedra word aan die vruggebruiker se opvolgers/erfgename nie. Saaklike vrugte (byvoorbeeld huurinkomste of rente) word die eiendom van die vruggebruiker wanneer dit verskuldig word. By die beëindiging van die vruggebruik word saaklike vrugte verdeel tussen die vruggebruiker en die eienaar van die eiendom in verhouding tot die tyd wat die vruggebruik bestaan het​​. 

Herstelwerk en uitgawes

Die vruggebruiker is verplig om die eiendom in stand te hou en is verantwoordelik vir alle uitgawes om die eiendom goed te onderhou, normale slytasie uitgesluit. Die vruggebruiker is verder verantwoordelik vir die betaling van munisipale belastings en heffings. Die betaling van versekeringspremies, uitgawes verbonde aan strukturele versterkings wat nodig mag wees om te verhoed dat ‘n gebou  bouvallig word, en ander soortgelyke uitgawes is nie deel van die vruggebruiker se verantwoordelikhede nie. 

Verbeterings

Die vruggebruiker is nie geregtig op vergoeding vir verbeterings wat hy op die eiendom aanbring nie. Die verbeterings mag wel verwyder word mits hy alle skade veroorsaak deur die verwydering herstel. 

Vervreemding

‘n Vruggebruiker mag nie die eiendom vervreem of beswaar nie, maar hy mag sy reg op die gebruik en genot van die eiendom en die vrugte daarvan verkoop, verhuur of uitleen, met dien verstande dat sodanige reëling nie die tydperk waarvoor die vruggebruik toegestaan is, mag oorskry nie. 

Beëindiging

Vruggebruik word gewoonlik vir die leeftyd van die vruggebruiker toegestaan, maar soms mag dit ook vir ‘n vaste tydperk toegestaan word. Dit sal egter steeds beëindig word by die dood van die vruggebruiker. 

Regshandelinge deur die eienaar

Die eienaar mag nie enigiets doen om die vruggebruiker se regte te benadeel nie. Die eienaar mag nie die vruggebruiker se reg op gebruik of genot van die eiendom verhoed, belemmer of inkort nie. Die eienaar mag slegs met die skriftelike toestemming van die vruggebruiker ‘n saaklike serwituut oor die eiendom registreer. Die skriftelike toestemming van die vruggebruiker word benodig vir enige ander handelinge met die eiendom deur die eienaar, byvoorbeeld met die verkoop van die eiendom en die registrasie van ‘n verband. Die eienaar en die vruggebruiker mag tesame ‘n verband oor die eiendom verkry of die vruggebruiker kan sy voorkeur laat vaar sodat die verband vry van die vruggebruik geregistreer kan word. Die meeste banke verkies laasgenoemde.

GEBRUIK (USUS)

Die serwituut van gebruik lyk na vruggebruik, maar die houer se regte is baie meer beperk as dié van die vruggebruiker. In die geval van roerende eiendom mag hy die eiendom besit en gebruik en in die geval van onroerende eiendom mag hy en sy familie die eiendom bewoon. Die houer mag van die vrugte neem vir sy en sy gesin se daaglikse behoeftes. Die houer mag nie enige van die vrugte verkoop nie en ook nie ‘n huurkontrak oor die eiendom toestaan nie. Daar is ‘n paar uitsonderings, byvoorbeeld waar ’n huis te groot is vir die houer se gebruik, mag hy  ‘n gedeelte daarvan verhuur. Die houer se gebruik van die eiendom mag egter nie tot nadeel van die eiendom strek nie.

HABITATIO

Die serwituut van habitatio verleen aan die houer die reg om saam met sy familie in die huis van ‘n ander te woon, sonder dat dit nadelig vir die eiendom is. Die houer mag die eiendom verhuur of onderverhuur.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Usufruct, usus and habitatio: What is the difference?

A1_BUsufruct, usus and habitatio are personal servitudes. These servitudes are sometimes considered as an estate planning tool to reduce estate duty, but testators don’t always realise what this entails and the burden it could place on the heirs. 

What is a personal servitude?

A personal servitude is always constituted in favour of a particular individual on whom it confers the right to use and enjoy another’s property. This servitude is enforceable against the owner of the property that is burdened with it but cannot be transferred by the personal servitude holder. It may be constituted for a fixed term or be granted until the occurrence of a future event or for the lifetime of the beneficiary, but not beyond his death. 

How is a personal servitude constituted?

It is usually constituted by a last will, but can also be created by agreement.

USUFRUCT

A usufruct is a right that entitles a person to have the use and enjoyment of another’s property and to take its fruits without impairing the substance. For instance, the object of a usufruct over a farm will normally extend not only to all buildings but presumably also to livestock, farming equipment and the furniture in the homestead. 

The general duties of the usufructuary

The usufructuary is only entitled to the use and enjoyment of the property; he does not acquire ownership of it. The usufructuary may not consume or destroy the property, but he is obliged to preserve its substance. The property must be used in the manner it was intended to be used. A new manner of exploitation is, however, permitted if it is considered to be the sensible thing to do under the circumstances. 

Right to fruits 

The usufructuary may take, consume or alienate the fruits, whether they are natural, industrial or civil. This means that the usufructuary is entitled to all the products of the land and all profits and revenues derived from the property. The young of animals as well as all products derived from the animals, including milk, wool or eggs become the property of the usufructuary. The usufructuary acquires the ownership of natural and industrial fruits by gathering it or by someone else gathering them in the name of the usufructuary. Growing crops are regarded not as fruits but as part of the soil and must be gathered and separated from the soil first. Fruits not gathered at the expiry of the usufruct do not pass to the successors of the usufructuary. Civil fruits (for example rental income or interest) become the property of the usufructuary when due. On the expiry of the usufruct civil fruits are divided between the now former usufructuary and the owner of the property in proportion to the time for which the usufruct existed. 

Repairs and expenses 

The usufructuary is bound to maintain the property and to defray the costs of all current repairs necessary to keep it in good order and condition, fair wear and tear excepted. He is also responsible for paying all rates and taxes. Payment of insurance premiums, costs of capital expenditure such as structural reinforcements necessary to prevent a building from falling into ruin and other similar costs, are excluded from his responsibilities.

Improvements

If the usufructuary makes improvements to the property he is not entitled to compensation, though the improvements made can be removed, provided the usufructuary makes good any damage that their removal may cause.

Alienation

A usufructuary may not alienate or encumber the property, but he may dispose of the right to the use and enjoyment of the property and its fruits whether by sale, lease or loan, provided that such arrangement does not exceed the period for which the usufruct has been granted. 

Termination

A usufruct is usually created for the lifetime of the usufructuary, but sometimes for a fixed period, terminable on death. 

Juristic acts by the owner

The owner may not do anything to prejudice the usufructuary’s rights. The owner may not prevent, hinder or diminish the right of use or enjoyment and may only burden the land held in usufruct with a predial servitude if the written consent of the usufructuary has been obtained. Any further actions by the owner regarding the property, for instance the sale of the  property and the registration of a mortgage bond, require the consent of the usufructuary. The owner together with the usufructuary may mortgage the property, or the usufructuary can abandon his preference so that the mortgage is registered free from the usufruct. Most banks prefer the latter.

USUS

A servitude of use or usus resembles a usufruct but the holder’s rights are far more restricted. If the property is movable he may possess and use the property and if the property is immovable he and his family may occupy it. The holder may take the fruits for his and his family’s daily needs. The holder may not sell any fruit, nor may he grant a lease of the property. There are a few exceptions, for example should the house be too large for the holder’s use, he may let a portion of it. The holder’s use must, however, be without detriment to the substance of the property.

HABITATIO

The servitude of habitatio confers on its holder the right to dwell in the house of another, together with his family, without detriment to the substance of the property. The holder may grant a lease or sublease to others.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.