‘Developer acted in bad faith’

2014-04-30 00:00

AN upmarket Umhlanga eco-estate’s body corporate and the estate’s developer are at each other’s throats and are using the courts as their battleground.

After successfully staving off a Durban high court application that would have forced the Hawaan Eco-Estate Homeowners Association to incorporate undeveloped land earmarked for an expansion of the gated community, the association is now intent on taking the developer back to court to force them to honour infrastructural obligations they say have been overlooked.

Hawaan Investments — owned by Irishman Tony O’Neil and Pat Naicker, the latter a resident in the estate — had their order to force the residents to take on more land known as phase five dismissed last week.

Hawaan’s body corporate chairperson Michael Grossi said if the order was successful, their estate would have had parts of its fence removed obliterating security for at least two years while the construction was under way. “The developers had previously asked us to incorporate phase five comprising about 20 properties, but we rejected this as it would compromise our security. We said we would only accept it once the phase was on par with phase four as is stipulated in our memorandum of incorporation,” said Grossi.

He said the fight with the developers has become “uncomfortable” but that the homeowners — comprising doctors, businessmen and various “wealthy owners” — have taken a decision to take the developer on. “We want to force the developers to honour an agreement that they would pave the roads once the complex is 60% full. They have changed this to 80%. There are also various other infrastructural issues we want addressed. We want what we paid for. Since this estate’s inception, the developer has acted in bad faith,” said Grossi.

He said, while the estate has no clubhouse or shared facilities, their woes with the developer have brought the community together. Naicker said they are to “appeal the judgment” but would not comment any further stating it is “sub judice”. Naicker had brought the application, claiming that in order for R23 million worth of property sales to be finalised, phase five, which has 25 stands with land selling at about R3,5 million, needed to become a part of Hawaan. In their court papers, it said if the order was not granted both the developer and estate would be financially prejudiced.

In 2003, Naicker and O’Neil bought the land from the Durban Country Club. In 2008, once phases one to four with 114 stands were completed, the estate was handed over to the homeowners’ association.

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