19 Oct How to deal with speeding and road maintenance in community schemes
The road infrastructure and the resultant road behaviour in an estate with many units are probably more important talking point than in a smaller complex; yet, it is a topic that comes up every now and then.
In a larger estate, the road infrastructure serves to direct traffic in and around the estate in the least disruptive manner possible and speeding is probably more common than in sectional title complexes.
In this article, we consider who is responsible for the road infrastructure, what is a fair speed limit inside an estate or complex, and how transgressors must be dealt with.
Who does the road belong to?
As an estate or sectional title development is a private development, all the amenities, services and infrastructure inside the confines of the development belong to the body corporate or home owners` association (HOA). Thus, the body corporate and HOA is responsible to maintain the facilities and infrastructure. There are some examples in HOAs where the local municipality is responsible for certain infrastructure such as roads, but this is not commonly found.
The responsibility to draft and implement rules and regulations for the use of the roads inside the scheme rests with the scheme executives. This may include determining the speed at which residents may drive as well as how the scheme will deal with those who break the rules.
Controlling road use and maintenance
Estates and sectional title developments are managed by way of conduct rules. These rules set out specific guidelines for residents on how to behave, and for trustees it provides procedures on how to act against residents who do not comply with the rules.
For that reason, it is important that a scheme`s conduct rules include explicit rules around the speed limits for vehicles operated on the grounds of the scheme. The rules must also indicate what process will be followed if a resident breaks the speed limit, and what fines will be implemented.
As the roads form part of the scheme’s common property, the HOA or the body corporate is responsible for its maintenance. The scheme needs to make provision for regular maintenance by including relevant expenses in the annual administrative budget. Where a resident has purposely and maliciously damaged the road, the HOA or body corporate will be entitled to claim such repairs from the responsible owner.
Signage and speeding deterrents
The scheme executives must ensure that relevant signage is prominently displayed, outlining the scheme’s speed limits and warning of possible danger areas (blind spots). Mirrors and speed bumps can also be installed to assist with safe driving and to curb unnecessary speeding.
Except for general signage indicating the speed limit and danger areas, liability disclaimer signs are also essential. These signs indicate that the HOA or body corporate will not be held responsible for any damage to vehicles or persons due to accidents on the grounds as a result of speeding.
A scheme’s common property, including the roads, is managed by the scheme executives. Often, the roads and related issues only receive attention when repairs and maintenance are needed.
An important part of the management is determining the speed limits, putting rules in place to curb abuse and to deal with transgressors of the rules. This responsibility also falls within the ambit of the scheme executives and must never be taken for granted. It is important to set clear rules and consequences, including fines, so all residents are clear on the limitations and expected conduct on the common property of the scheme.