Commercial News

Read the fine print before buying into a luxury estate

A KwaZulu-Natal property developer might have legally won back access cards to the luxury estate where he lives, but paradise comes with a price and he and his family will still have to endure the strict rules regulating their homes.

The Durban High Court this month finalised an interim order granted to Niemesh Singh in February 2014, which ordered the management of the Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate 2 to immediately reactivate the access cards of Singh and his family.

For two weeks, Singh had to sign a visitor’s register every time he entered the estate.

He owns various properties in the estate.

Relatives requiring access had to wait for a security guard to call his house to inquire if they were known.

The estate’s management deactivated the Singh family’s access cards when Singh refused to pay two R1500 fines his daughter received for exceeding the 40km/h speed limit within the estate.

The estate told the court that it had lawfully suspended the Singhs’ access “in accordance with the provisions of its memorandum of incorporation and conduct rules” but acting Judge Ian Topping found that the estate’s argument was without merit.

Still, Singh failed to legally overturn the estate’s rules on speed limits, the movement of domestic workers and the use of building contractors.

Singh and another resident, Munsharai Ramandh, wanted these rules declared invalid.

Singh and Ramandh argued that although the roads in the estate were on private property, the roads were still governed by the National Road Traffic Act and should have a speed limit of 60km/h.

They also took issue with the rules that domestic workers must register annually, only be on the estate between 6am and 6pm and cannot walk around the estate unless the buses to transport them were not operating.

Ramandh received a warning letter after two of his domestic employees were “discovered” walking around the estate by security personnel.

The letter made reference to numerous complaints of “domestics” posing a “security risk”.

Singh and Ramandh also challenged the rule that excludes an owner or tenant from choosing a service provider not on the estate’s list of accredited contractors.

But Topping found the owners of property in the estate had “contractually bound themselves to live within a controlled environment” and that the rules were lawful.

Singh’s attorney, Sivi Pather, said his client had no plans of backing down and would appeal.

He would continue to oppose the rulings, ”even if that should include, ultimately, an appeal to the Constitutional Court”.

“We have been approached by various interested parties who have an interest in this matter and who may wish to join any proceedings,” Pather said.


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