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Date and time Section Details Action taken
06 Nov 2017 8 (BkHall)

I'm taking this opportunity to write about the Banking Hall and the festivities that occurred there last weekend. [The occupant of my apartment] informed me that she tried to oppose the closing time (2am!) but was told by Moira that the space is zoned G7 and that the City of Cape Town approved the timeframe. The space was basically used for a trance party. She had to vacate the flat to sleep somewhere else as the noise was unbearable.

I find the whole event unacceptable and want to know what the body corporate is doing to stop this kind of misuse of the space in a building that is predominantly residential. If this is not dealt with speedily it will impact on the value of the properties on the levels affected by the noise and trashy appearance and use of the space.

I have never lodged a complaint to the BC as I have always prided myself in the fact that Mutual Heights is beautifully managed but this definitely warrant strong opposition.

The complainant has been informed of the extensive efforts of the trustees and managing agents to understand and manage the compliancy issues, having regard to all the body corporate, city and legal requirements. Any evidence that is available about excessive noise or unacceptable behaviour must be collected and provided to the office.
Updates will follow.

[Update] Moira responds to the specific points made:

[About the permissions and the timeframe]
This is correct. It is zoned G7 and the CCT did approve the timeframe. We were paid a visit by the fire department on the evening and all our COCs were found to be in order.

[About the nature of the party]
The event was nothing like a trance party.

[About the level of noise]
Noise levels in the corridors (as Colin has attested) never went above 85db – so would have been lower in the apartments. Our NIA allows levels of up to 98db. Nevertheless, complaints such as this one is exactly why we want to soundproof the windows facing the tenant hallway.

[About the use of the banking hall]
It is not “misuse”. In fact, it is being used consistently with one of the primary uses of the zoning scheme i.e. an entertainment venue. See the zoning regs in this regard. We have complied with all laws and regulations. Thus, the term “misuse” is a misnomer.

[About the impact on value]
I cannot comment on this as I’m not an estate agent, but we are doing everything possible to ensure that noise is not an issue. We would also like to have guests leave via another exit other than the main entrance, and also not smoke there. Perhaps the trustees can advise again on the use of the Parliament Street exit for this?

[About dealing with the problem]
Instead of us going round and round with tenants / trustees – may I suggest that instead of taking a reactive approach, the trustees / tenants who oppose our current use of the banking hall as an events space (which is not going to change), make pragmatic suggestions on how we could improve and thus lessen the impact on tenants? In other words, in lieu of having the banking hall rezoned, what would they like to see done in order to improve the relationship between us and them?

01 Nov 2017

There was more noise made by some short term tenants again ... Maybe an idea would be for Afribode to have clear rules or whatever on a noticeboard in the units as people walked in. When people talk loudly (and scream across the atrium at their friend in the apartment across the way) it reverberates like you cannot believe.

This report has been communicated to Afribode. There is no direct evidence that this instance arose from one of their short-stay visitors, but the suggestion is now available for their comments. Updates will follow.

31 Oct 2017 8 (BkHall)

I just wanted to add my comments regarding the possible new events company in the banking hall.

Based on past experiences with how parties and events have been run in the banking hall - it's generally not the most professional bunch. They generally go on after 12 and the music choice is hilariously terrible and loud enough to rattle my windows ! ( my flat is on the first floor)

I expect this new company to be exactly the same.

I am really against this new proposal - I dont trust the company to stick to our rules. I do not approve of the attempt to cover up the glass in the passage way. It's already a dark corridor - the glass helps the natural light and allows us to save electricity by turning off the lights. From a heritage and visual aspect - the glass/design is a vital part of what makes these flats appealing. I think making permanent changes to the internal design just for monthly parties isn't beneficial for residents.

Anyway, this is long winded but essentially I am just writing to say - I don't support it.

Moira Johnston has provided some explanatory notes about the approach they are taking to their business which should help. You can see them here.

[Update] Moira replies to the specific points made:

About the need for sound proofing: This is what we would like to address by soundproofing the windows on the first floor.

About the approach to running the business: I can guarantee that we are not [approaching it in the same way as before]. If you would like to contact me directly, please email moira@eventroom.co.za or call 083 415 80894. I am the CEO of EventRoom and am ex-attorney. Thus, I am fully aware of all the laws applicable to our situation and can assure you that we are fully compliant in every regard. However, we would like to go further than what is legally required in order to ensure the residents’ comfort and satisfaction with our operations. Hence the soundproofing, and the welcoming of an open dialogue.

About sticking to the rules: We stuck to every rule at Saturday’s event, as well as Wednesday’s shoot and will continue to do so.

About covering the ‘windows’: It’s a matter of soundproofing and privacy. The banking hall is a privately-owned space, just like all the apartments in Mutual Heights are. Just as you have the right to cover your windows for your own privacy, we are entitled to do the same. We, however, are going further in soundproofing them. We will do this with white sound panels in order to remain compliant with the conduct rules of Mutual Heights. This is despite the fact that we are not legally required to do so –at Saturday’s event our sound never went above 85db and we are permitted by law to go to 98db. Regardless, we feel that we would rather make absolutely sure that residents are not affected by any sound coming from the venue at any time.

31 Oct 2017 8 (BkHall)

[Regarding the Halloween Party] – I moved out for the night due to the event. To add: the building smelt like a bar when I arrived on Sunday morning – I am not sure what the law is exactly but people are not allowed to smoke within x meters of a blg entrance – this needs to be enforced for any events.

Moira replies: The CCID as well as the fire department were there on the night and said that we were completely compliant – the CCID spoke to Colin and said that they had no issue with the smokers outside the front entrance. However, I mentioned to Colin that I didn’t think it looked great or would be nice for residents to come to, and that we’d like to be able to send smokers out of the side entrance on Parliament street to avoid this unsightly spectacle. We are waiting for feedback as this request was previously denied.

[Update] The building management office reports:
The Banking Hall operators did go out of their way to ensure that the music was below the required limit - according to our measurements it did not go above 90db. Party packs were left at each door on the first floor and they spoke to tenants on the first floor; owners and residents were invited to the event free of charge. People at the event did leave the building if they wanted to smoke, in Darling street to the sides of the main entrance; the area was cleaned by Sunday morning. Curtains were installed on posts in the 1st floor passage (which blocked off the view of the banking hall) and were taken down after the event.
There have been no complaints about this and at the time of writing there are no follow-up complaints from any residents or owners.

02 Oct 2017 8 (BkHall)

There is currently a crew of people moving items into the building and in front of Flat M15. I intially heard them after 8 on Sunday 1st October.

I was woken by loud voices, banging noises etc. at 00:50 am.

It is unacceptable that this is allowed at this time of the night.

All the activity is in front of my flat.

 

This is the first incident concerning noise and disturbance since 'EventRoom' took over the management and operation of the Banking Hall, as an events venue. The management office is dealing with this.
[Update] The noise problem seems to have arisen when the film crew wanted to leave the building by the front door after it was closed at midnight. All concerned are reminded that this is an absolute rule, no exceptions are allowed. [More in due course if more details become available]
[Further update] On the occasion of the Halloween Party (28 October) it was agreed that the front doors could remain open (with full security) until the building was clear. Hence, with trustees' permission, it has been established that the doors can remain open after midnight should a proper need arise, and provided that there is the security needed to manage entry and exit.

23 Sep 2017 413 The short term lets in unit 413 are becoming a problem. The noise – loud shouting and screaming, loud music and partying in the corridor area are causing intolerable disturbance late at night. Reported to security who attended to problem and noise abated for a short while but soon increased again.

The registered owner has been requested to deal with this problem and the building management are investigating. [Update] The owner responded without delay authorising that these tenants be told they must leave if there were any further disturbance. This apartment is managed by Afribode and we are reviewing the way that these short-lets are managed. The visitor registration facilities on this web site are a step in the right direction.

21 Sep 2017 It worries me that the window cleaners walk on the 4th floor walkway roof. They do walk on the metal connection above the wooden beam and not on the plastic roof itself, but it is definitely not safe and they have been walking up and down there so often that the structure is most likely not so safe anymore. I have warned them several times. If they continue to use the roof, I suggest you order the company to install a safety line for the guys to clip into. It is quite a long drop if the roof collapses.

The window cleaning contractor has been requested to ensure that cleaners do not work without safety lines.

30 Jan 2017 607 I had a disturbing incident on Friday 03 Feb, at approximately 16:45.
I was upstairs in my loft, when I heard a disturbance downstairs - to find a strange woman looking through my belongings. She had let herself in - as my door was open (to get a draught flowing through to alleviate the heat!)
When I confronted her she looked shocked- probably thought no one was home. I asked her what she was doing in the apartment but she couldn't give me any answer. I asked her to leave, and as soon as I looked outside she had already vanished.
I reported it to security, but the man on duty was not very helpful - I was hoping they'd look for her immediately as I gave a detailed description. I went to check with the security guard on duty after him, but he had no idea that I had reported this...
Description of intruder:
She is about 1.7m tall, very thin (emaciated), straight black hair tied up, Cape coloured, dark skin tone, lots of prominent (visible) South African prison-style tattoos- one across her back saying 'AMERICO' in all caps.
She was wearing pants, a tank top and a checked shirt tied around her waist.
My best guess is that she is a sex worker and was let in (but not escorted out) of the building. We have many more Air BnB tenants now, including the apartment next door to me (607) where she may have come from? [I have noticed other sex workers in the building on other occasions too- but they were escorted out]
Can we please warn tenants or let security know that guests MUST sign out too?
Or I can offer to do a sketch + description of her to be kept with security, so they won't let her in again?

The Management Office has things in hand - the incident was recorded in the book and security are already aware of the problems with this unit (607).


Last updated: 26 November 2017
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