Living in a mixed-use building: What to look out for

Why the POPI Act matters
April 19, 2021

Even before the pandemic changed the way we see our home and work environments, with many finding for the first time that these two could be the same place, centrally located accommodation had already been taking the real estate world by storm. In international cities such as New York, London, and Paris, these all-in-one lifestyle centres have gained popularity over the years, with cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town following suit through the last decade.

One of the greatest benefits of living in a mixed-use property, also known as a lifestyle centre, is the amount of time saved on commuting.  While staying close to a travel depot, such as a Gautrain station, has its advantages, the first prize for comfortable professional living is lifestyle centre living, where everything you need is at your doorstep: work, restaurants, supermarkets, and entertainment – you name it, it’s there.

Mixed-use buildings do, however, come with their own set of possible pitfalls that you need to look out for before you sign the lease or offer to purchase.

Consumer presence

When considering moving into a mixed-use residential building, it is important to consider the types of businesses that operate within the complex as this will give you an indication of possible consumer presence as most businesses operating from within these centres are open to the public as well. The types and number of consumers that enter the centre will be determined by the types of businesses. As an example, an antique book dealer, selling first editions and rare books, will lead to less foot traffic than a national franchise bookseller such as Exclusive Books.

Business hours  

The opening and closing times of businesses within the centre will affect you in relation to your proximity to the establishments. While most businesses open their doors to the public between 8AM and 9AM, many are already hard at work before that. Bakeries, for instance, heat up their ovens from as early as 4AM. The same consideration should be given to the opposite end of the day. With businesses such as restaurants and theatres, closing times may be far into the evening. On either end of the spectrum, you should consider how the businesses surrounding you will affect your daily schedule and nightly routines.

Shared utilities 

You should ensure that your maintenance and utility bill does not support the commercial tenants of your building, whose usages and expenses will undoubtedly be far greater than yours. Shared utility costs, a common occurrence in some residential complexes, are not feasible for mixed-use properties where the usage of utilities vary greatly.

Business aromas 

Businesses do their best to use ventilation systems to get rid of odours efficiently, but unfortunately, they are a part of the package. Even the most pleasing of odours, such as freshly brewed coffee and baked bread, can get tedious after a while, and in most lifestyle centres you are bound to find establishments like drycleaners whose chemical odours may penetrate your residence. Analysing the aromas of the centre around your apartment is a vital part of the inspection.

Waste disposal 

As far as odours go, the worst is that of garbage. And when it comes to a business’s waste disposal, the quantities and odours may be substantially more if not managed adequately. While mixed-use properties do make provision for adequate waste disposal, which should not affect residents, it remains a factor that should be taken into consideration, especially considering how worst-case scenarios, such as public service protests, will affect its efficiency in proximity to your residence.

These items may make it a bit more difficult for you to find the perfect home, taking your surroundings into consideration becomes a lot more important than before, but the results will be worth it. Centrally located accommodation, when done right, is revolutionary, connecting you with everything you need in one accessible locale. Get in touch with your trusted property practitioner to help you find the best accommodation for your lifestyle.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)