A heated debate: generators in residential complexes

Generator / Electricity / Inverter

With load shedding continuing and temperatures plummeting, more and more South Africans have become dependent on generators.

While generators are becoming a necessity in many South African households, their installation in complexes is the subject of heated debate according to sectional title property specialist, Marina Constas, a director of BBM Attorneys.

She stresses, however, that if trustees and homeowners in complexes arm themselves with the facts, a generator could be an invaluable acquisition for every sectional title development aiming to adapt to load shedding.

Her first word of advice is that it is preferable to have one generator for the complex rather than permitting individual homeowners to have their own generators.

Once this has been agreed upon, a point in question is whether a complex buying a generator is making a ‘reasonably necessary’ or a ‘not reasonably necessary’ improvement to the common property of the development. Different resolutions are required for each, according to the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act 8 of 2011.

If it is a not reasonably necessary improvement, then a unanimous resolution is required in terms of Management Rule 29 (1),” Constas explains. “If the generator is seen as a necessary improvement, then a special resolution is required, and the procedure set out in Management Rule 29 (2) must be complied with.”

Among the stipulations is that no such proposal may be implemented until all members are given at least thirty days’ written notice with all the below details:

  1. The estimated costs associated with the proposed alterations or improvements.
  2. Details of how the body corporate intends to meet the costs, including details of any special contributions or loans by the body corporate that will be required for this purpose.
  3. A motivation for the proposal, including drawings of the proposed alterations or improvements showing their effect and a motivation of the need for them.

Constas says that, if during this notice period, any member makes a request in writing to the body corporate for a general meeting to discuss the proposal, it must not be implemented unless it is approved, with or without amendment, by a special resolution adopted at a general meeting.

Constas believes that in view of the security risks posed by electricity outages and load shedding, an immovable generator is a necessity. She elaborates: “A complex’s security systems are generally dependent on the electricity supply. Electric fencing, alarms, electric gates, and intercoms may be affected if there is a power outage, and homeowners put at risk. For this reason, a generator should, in most instances, be viewed as a necessary improvement to the sectional title scheme.”

When it comes to generators, however, not all units are created equal, and in a complex in particular, the noise emitted is a significant consideration. Constas recommends that trustees should investigate all options and attempt to purchase the generator with the lowest noise levels.

“The generator should be stored where it will cause the least amount of nuisance to all homeowners in the scheme, and where the fumes will not affect the owners,” she concludes.