It is common practice for a property owner or investor to appoint an estate agent to either list and sell his or her unit or to manage the rental thereof. Such estate agent acts on the written authority of the registered owner and is allowed to perform certain acts or duties, which include entering the sectional title development to take photos of the unit, to conduct an ingoing or outgoing inspection or to show the unit to a potential purchaser or lessee.
On 1 June 2020, South Africa moved to Alert Level 3 and in terms of the Regulations issued under the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, on 28 May 2020, a person may leave his or her place of residence to perform any business service, as permitted under Alert Level 3. The services and functions offered by estate agents are included herein.
An estate agent, acting on the instruction of the registered owner of a unit can, in light of the above, not be barred by a body corporate from entering a sectional title development unless a required Resolution was passed either at the Annual General Meeting or at a Special Meeting – properly constituted, in which this control was agreed to by the majority of owners. In most instances, the Management or Conduct Rules will also not contain any provision that will justify such an action and even if it did, a body corporate should be cautious before taking the law into its own hands.
An aggrieved owner will be able to approach a court for an order to restore possession or allow access and included in this order will be an order for costs in his or her favour.