‘Co-operate to manage water ban’
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.