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22 March 2012

Do's and don't's for trustees in ST
So you have been elected as a trustee of a Body Corporate. Congratulations! The members of your Body Corporate obviously have confidence in your integrity and ability. 

The Sectional Title Act requires that all executive functions and powers of a Body Corporate be performed by the trustees. This does not mean that you are the highest authority. Trustees are elected by the members, may be dismissed by members, and must heed the instructions and limitations imposed by members - and all their actions remain subject to the Sectional Titles Act and the Rules contained therein. 

It follows that trustees are expected to familiarise themselves with the contents of these, and always maintain the utmost good faith towards their members. 

To help you on your way here is a concise list of some of the do’s and don’ts of being a trustee for a Body Corporate. 
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Demand pushes CT apartment rentals up
The shortage of rental properties in some parts of Cape Town is pushing rentals up while some tenants settle for second choice suburbs as a result.

According to Francois Venter, director of Jawitz Properties, the squeeze on mortgage finance over the last three years has resulted in pent-up demand which is driving rental prices upwards.

Obtaining home loan finance is more difficult than during the last property boom and buyers are battling to save for a deposit and transfer costs because of escalating living costs. 

This is particularly challenging for first-time buyers, he says.

Venter explains that 12 months ago a two bedroom apartment on the Atlantic Seaboard had an asking rental price of about R7 500 per month, but now the figure is closer to R8 500 per month or even R9 000 per month.
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CGT on property transactions explained
There is good and bad news regarding Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for those selling their primary homes, while those with properties in trusts might be well advised to take advantage of the amnesty benefit available until the end of the year.

The news about CGT in the recent Budget has brought, in some respects, further relief for sellers of primary residences but the general increase of the CGT rates will have a definite and immediate effect on the pricing of property.  This is according to Herschel Jawitz, Chief Executive of Jawitz Properties

Going forward, for primary residences sold from 1 March 2012 for a value of R2 million and over, the first R2 million will be exempt from CGT. This is an increase of R500 000 over the previous R1.5 million dispensation.

The bad news came in the form of a substantial increase in the inclusion rate of the taxable net profit an individual realises when they sell.  Formerly 25%, the rate is now 33.3%. 

“This will translate into an average rate of CGT an individual pays of 13.3%, which is substantially up from the previous average of 10%,” Jawitz says. 
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Burst geyser in a complex - my rights?
A Property24 reader asks:

Can a body corporate accept a quote and lodge an insurance claim for a burst geyser without the knowledge/instruction and signature of an owner? 

Phil Calothi, owner and Managing Director of a leading Cape Town based managing agent company,   Land and Sea Development Services (Pty) Ltd  , advises:

In residential complexes, the body corporate generally insures the geysers on behalf of the owners although they are not obliged to do so.

Depending on the policy, there will probably also be cover for replacement of fittings e.g. vacuum breakers and cover for water damage to the unit and moveables therein. 

There will also be excesses payable by the owner. 
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Six cool ideas for home staging
Although it’s still summer, most homebuyers at the moment are not in holiday mode, so sellers will need to stage and show their homes a little differently now in order to achieve a sale. 

According to the new Better Informed property newsletter from mortgage originator Betterbond, what buyers are likely to be looking for now is a peaceful place to come home to after a hard, hot day, so it’s all about creating tranquil spaces. 

The newsletter then offers the following expert seasonal staging tips: 

1. Make an impression outdoors
There’s nothing so soothing as the sound of cool, running water, so water features or fountains should be turned on for viewings or showdays. 

If there is a swimming pool, it should be spotless and surrounded by manicured lawn and lush-looking plants and flowers – even if these have to be planted up in pots to achieve the desired look. 
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Construction growth positive in 20012
The value of recorded building plans passed was 6.8 percent (-R303.6 million) in January 2012 according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The only decrease was reported for non-residential buildings (-55.9 percent or -R926.0 million).

Increases were reported for residential buildings (26.5 percent or R414.7 million) and additions and alterations (16.3 percent or R207.8 million).

Stats SA says two provinces reported year-on-year (y/y) decreases in the value of building plans passed during January 2012, namely KwaZulu-Natal (contributing -16.2 percentage points or -R729.5 million) and Mpumalanga (contributing -12.2 percentage points or -R547.5 million).

The other seven provinces reported increases and these were Gauteng (contributing 7.1 percentage points or R317.4 million), Western Cape (contributing 5.2 percentage points or R235.3 million) and Free State (3.3 percentage points or R148.0 million).
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Multi-billion rand port unveiled in PE
President Jacob Zuma on Friday moved to inject energy into South Africa’s infrastructure plan when he officially opened the new multi-billion rand Port of Ngqura, situated outside Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape.

The port is said to be the deepest container terminal in sub-Saharan Africa and will accommodate the new generation of giant container ships that regularly visit the country’s shores. State freight logistics group Transnet has for the past 12 years been hard at work building the port, which forms part of the Coega Industrial Development Zone.  

The National Ports Authority (NPA) of South Africa is investing R3.2 billion in the project. 

With further construction in sight, Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba believes the port would be even “greater” than it currently is by 2019, when additional structures are expected to be in place. 

Declaring the project officially opened, a proud President Zuma said: “This will indeed end the notion that the Eastern Cape and Ngqura have been ignored. That speculation now needs to go away.”
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