‘Co-op­er­ate to man­age wa­ter ban’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

WITH the City of Cape Town hav­ing im­ple­mented the strin­gent Level 4b wa­ter re­stric­tions as of July 1, land­lords have to re­assess what the ten­ant is re­spon­si­ble for, says Michael Bauer, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of es­tate agency SAProp­erty.com.

The re­stric­tions ban the use of any mu­nic­i­pal drink­ing wa­ter to top up swim­ming pools or wa­ter gar­dens and any other non-es­sen­tial pur­poses, and the city is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to use only 87 litres per per­son per day.

The prob­lem is many leases say the ten­ant is re­spon­si­ble for the maintenance and up­keep of swim­ming pools and gar­dens, which the re­stric­tions make it dif­fi­cult to do. The gar­den can be wa­tered with grey wa­ter, but this might not be enough, and the ten­ant can’t fill a swim­ming pool with grey wa­ter. This leads to the le­gal term “im­pos­si­bil­ity of per­for­mance” be­ing im­ple­mented and an al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion needs to be sought where the land­lord and ten­ant work to­gether to man­age gar­dens and pools.

Land­lords need to bear in mind pool wa­ter needs to be at a cer­tain level for a pump to run ef­fec­tively and safely. If it drops too much, the pool’s shell could crack or warp, warns Bauer.

Rain har­vest­ing meth­ods, such as gut­ter sleeves, should be in­stalled to fill pools. If the pool pump is back­washed, the wa­ter should be put on the gar­den.

Land­lords should con­sider in­stalling grey-wa­ter sys­tems on their rental premises, to wa­ter gar­dens. They should re­place “thirsty” plants with wa­ter-wise ones and lay down mulch to keep flower beds moist. They could also con­sider re­plac­ing lawn with ar­ti­fi­cial grass, paving or gravel, Bauer said.

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