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Property: Resident succeeds in garage door dispute

A resident of a Johannesburg housing estate was so determined to keep his mirror-finish garage door that he dragged his homeowners' association to court when it ordered him to remove it. A News24 report says Sashen Reddy – a trustee of The Emerald Trust that owns the house – and iProtect Trustees (Pty) Ltd approached the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) to appeal an adjudicator's decision, which had ordered that the door be removed. The court has now ruled in Reddy's favour in his case against the Cedar Lakes Homeowners Association, which administers the housing estate north of Fourways. As owners of the disputed property, the trustees were subjected to the estate's rules, which stipulated that any finish on garage doors, other than timber, must receive approval from the homeowners association. The judgment states the property underwent significant renovations, which included the installation of a new garage door with a mirror exterior finish. The trust, however, did not apply for approval before the doors were installed, but applied afterwards – and were refused.

Reddy then decided to appeal the decision in the High Court, in accordance with section 57 of the Community Schemes Ombud Service Act. According to the News24 report, he argued that the homeowners association had inconsistently approved similar doors for other properties. He provided evidence of other properties on the estate that had been permitted to use unique materials, including mirrored elements for their garage doors. The court found the adjudicator erred by not considering all relevant evidence, particularly the inconsistency in the association's approval of similar doors. It concluded that the association acted inconsistently and unreasonably in ordering the removal of the garage door. The appeal was upheld, and the adjudicator's order for the removal of the garage door was set aside. No costs were awarded against the homeowners association because they abided by the court's decision and acted within its statutory framework.

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