Prostitution in Sectional Title Schemes
by Jennifer Paddock
In the last few weeks I’ve heard of three different sectional title schemes in Cape Town struggling with prostitutes. The severity and nature of the prostitute problems vary from:
- Prostitutes regularly visiting a particular owner in the scheme, not confining their activities to the section but rather cavorting with the owner in the common property pool area and fouling the common property with used condoms;
- Pimps arriving at the scheme, issuing death threats to residents because the owner/resident has not paid the prostitutes; and
- Prostitutes living in a unit in a scheme being rented by their pimp – attracting numerous unsavoury characters to the scheme who damage and litter on the common property.
Now obviously prostitution is a crime in South Africa and your first step is to call the police if you suspect prostitution is going on in your scheme or if you feel physically threatened at any time.
But what if the police don’t help? What can you as owners or managing agents do to try and stamp out this behaviour?
Here are a list of suggestions you could try to deter unsavoury characters from coming into your scheme:
- Hire 24hour security staff.
- Establish a visitors’ register that every visitor must sign upon entrance and exit. Make sure the register has detailed fields such as: Name, ID number, vehicle registration number, address, telephone number etc.
- Install visible security cameras around the scheme preferably with a live feed to a television that the security guard is watching from his station – make sure this screen is visible to visitors upon arrival as well. If this is too expensive install fake cameras around the scheme to give the impression that residents and guests are being monitored.
- Put up signs saying things like “criminal activities will be prosecuted”.
- Get the security guard and or trustees/managing agent to keep a detailed record of complaints and reports of dodgy activities (this log will come in handy when lodging complaints with the police or issuing a fine to the owner – see 6).
- Get the body corporate to pass an enforceable fining rule (read my post on fining rules here) and follow due process to fine the owner of the unit when it can be shown that prostitution is taking place in their section.
Have you experienced problems with prostitution in your scheme or in a scheme you manage? Do you have any advice for others? Comment with your story or advice below.
Image source: http://www.portnoise.com