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Welgevonden Estate: Estate Manager’s newsletter: April 2023

Dear Welgevonden Estate Homeowners and Residents

Review of the external appearance of all houses in Welgevonden Estate

Thank you to everyone for the affirmation we’ve received for the programme to review the external appearances of all houses in Welgevonden Estate. Thank you for asking for clarification, where required, for your suggestions to further improve the outcome of the review, and for your support in general.

A question that was raised relates to Excom’s mandate to be prescriptive to homeowners to attend to the external appearance of their houses. This mandate is embedded in the WHOA Constitution and the WHOA Architectural Directives and Design Guidelines, and supported by the WHOA Estate Rules. In this regard, Rule 14.1 reads as follows: “The externalappearance of any structure erectedor placed on an erf and which forms part of the streetscape must at all times be maintained in a state of good repair to the satisfaction of Excom.”

However, taking the above into consideration, homeowners will benefit from having an ongoing maintenance programme for their properties, including painting their houses every five to eight years. Such a programme should prevent costly repairs over time, will enhance the value of the property, and will contribute towards the general kerb appeal of properties in Welgevonden Estate.

Getting your home ready for winter

Still on the topic of property maintenance, winter is on its way. It is time to get your home ready for the cold and rainy season!

Here are practical hints and tips that might be of value:

  • Make sure that downpipes that channel rainwater from the roof of the house are directed towards the street so that this water is fed into the municipal storm water drainage system via inlets in the street kerbs. Do not channel rainwater into the municipal sewer system, which is separate from the storm water system.

  • Once the rain season has started, be on the lookout for blocked storm water inlets along the streets that might lead to flooding in the area. Please report such instances to estate management so that we can arrange for the blockage to be cleared by Stellenbosch Municipality.

  • Check the roof, starting at the top and look for places where leaks could occur. This could be bent or damaged corrugated iron sheets, loose or missing roofing screws or roofing screw washers, even roofing screws inserted incorrectly in the trough and not on the crest of a corrugated iron sheet. Also be on the lookout for signs of blistering or bubbles which could be an indication of rust that is forming. Furthermore, check waterproofing membranes and materials for possible cracks or areas where it might start to lift.

  • Clear out gutters, drainpipes and outdoor drains from sand, leaves, roots or plants that might be blocking them. Cut back branches from trees that could cause damage to the roof or gutters during heavy rains or storms.

  • Seal any cracks in the outside walls, prepare the wall surfaces suitably, and cover the walls with a fresh layer of paint. Not only will this make your home look good, but it will especially help prevent ingress of water into the walls, which could lead to damp-related problems inside the house.

  • Before lighting a fire in the fireplace, make sure that the chimney is clean from soot that might have accumulated over time and, especially, from birds’ nests that could have been built inside the chimney. A crackling fire is cosy, but only if the fireplace is not belching out smoke into your house.

  • Seal the gaps. A well-insulated home keeps draughts out, heat in, and energy costs down. Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, apply new putty where needed, and use suitable sealing strips to ensure that windows and doors seal properly in their frames.

Add to the above what you think is necessary to prepare your house for winter. But, it might be wise to start sooner rather than later. Winter is around the corner!

Trimming of trees and other vegetation

At times we receive enquiries from residents about their neighbours’ trees overhanging, or the neighbours’ plants growing onto their properties, sometimes leading to damage.

This is something that estate management and Excom do not have jurisdiction over. In instances like this, we recommend that residents discuss and clear the matter up between themselves. Often the neighbour may not be aware of the damage caused, and can the matter be easily rectified via personal discussion.

At the same time, we wish to point out that residents whose properties lie adjacent to the estate’s security fence, may not plant trees, shrubs or plants in close proximity of the security fence, or have structures that are likely to interfere with the proper functioning of the estate’s security system. All plants and trees must at all times be at least one meter away from the fence.

Contractors entrance to Welgevonden Estate

Please remember that the R304 entrance to Welgevonden Estate is the only access point for contractors, bulk deliveries, furniture removal trucks, and similar wanting to enter or leave the estate. These vehicles are not allowed to use the R44 entrance. (This does not apply to courier services and motorcycle delivery services having to enter the estate.)

Please inform the contractors you may use timeously about this arrangement. This will prevent them from arriving at the wrong entrance, and then having to drive around to the R304 entrance, and wasting time in doing so.

Requirements before commencing with building activities

On occasions we find that homeowners do structural improvements on their properties, but that they are not aware of, or ignore, Welgevonden Estate’s and the Stellenbosch Municipality’s requirements in this regard.

For all building renovations or extensions to properties – whether it entails major building work, installing a swimming pool, or merely putting up a boundary wall – building plans must first be submitted to the WHOA for aesthetic approval, after which the plans must be submitted to the Stellenbosch Municipality for review and approval. Work may only begin once Stellenbosch Municipality’s has granted approval, and the homeowner has submitted a copy of the approval to the Welgevonden Estate office.

The WHOA Architectural Directives and Design Guidelines do, however, make provision for the submission of sketch plans for minor alterations that do not require building plans for municipal approval, and which Excom may accept in its discretion. This includes laying of paving.

Control measures: Maintenance and upkeep of gardens and streetscape

We wish to remind homeowners and residents about the recently-changed penalty procedure as far as neglected gardens go:

  • A warning is issued to the homeowner if the garden is found not to be up to standard during an inspection, and the owner is given notice to rectify the matter.

  • If, after the notice period, the garden has not been attended to, a penalty is issued, and a garden service contractor is appointed to remedy the garden at the homeowner’s expense.

  • If, afterwards, the garden is again found to be in an unsatisfactory condition within a 12-month cycle since the warning was issued, a penalty will immediately be issued (no warning) and a garden service contractor will be appointed to remedy the garden at the homeowner’s expense.

This procedure aims to rule out repetitive transgressions by owners and tenants who only attend to their gardens when receiving warnings, and to ensure that gardens in general are maintained and looking good.

Renting of properties

Occupancy of Welgevonden Estate properties is subject to the directives of the Stellenbosch Municipality Zoning Scheme By-Law 2019. This by-law stipulates that Welgevonden Estate residences may only be occupied by single families, or no more than two unrelated and independent persons with no dependents who earn or receive independent income, and who maintain a common household.

An application for additional use – for example occupancy by more than two independent persons per dwelling – may be considered and recommended by the WHOA if found in order, but still needs to be approved by the Stellenbosch Municipality before such additional use can be effected. (Click here to read more.)

This leeway, however, will come to an end on 1 December 2023. From this date, in the case of more than two tenants per property, such persons will only be registered on the biometric system if the landlord has submitted to the Welgevonden Estate office the Stellenbosch Municipality’s approval for consent use in terms of a commune, and for the property to be occupied by more than two tenants.

We recommend that landlords only rent their properties to single families, or two independent persons. Although leasing to more than two independent tenants could be allowed, the rather long process to obtain approval may affect the occupation date, and registration on the biometric system.

Best regards

Gawie Marx

Estate Manager

12 April 2023


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