When badly behaved children take the shine off community living

14 May 2019

Many people choose to live in a residential complex or estate for the safety and security that it offers their children. What happens, however, when it is the children that are the menace in your tranquil home environment?

According to specialist community schemes attorney and BBM Law director Marina Constas, wayward children are a common cause of dissent among neighbours in community schemes.

Fair, appropriate rules are the only way to minimise conflicts around children’s behaviour in community schemes, Constas stresses. “There must be a balance between peace and quiet on the one hand, and the interests of the children who live in the complex on the other. Trustees or directors have a duty to set out what is acceptable behaviour by children, bearing in mind at all times that any rule which is made in this regard must be reasonable,” she says.

The issue of fines imposed on the parents of errant children is a tricky one, but it can be done, Constas says. “Queries have often been raised with me as to whether or not fines can be imposed in the rules around the issue of children’s conduct. They can be; however, in order to impose fines, the rules must be crystal clear. Furthermore, any rule speaking to fines must provide a sub clause wherein it provides the owner being fined with the right to be heard. The amount of the fine should also be stipulated in the rules, with the proviso that the amounts must be reasonable. Should any dispute around this topic be taken to the Community Schemes Ombud Service, the applicant would be required to provide evidence of the behaviour."

"This issue around children’s behaviour highlights the fact that communal living is all about consideration, balance and communication,” Constas concludes.

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