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Property 24/10 - 139

17 January 2013

New arbitration panel for sect. titles
The formation of a new sectional title arbitration panel means sectional title homeowners can look forward to a more affordable and convenient process to resolve the disputes that arise in complexes.

With the buy-in of the Chief Registrar in Pretoria, applications for the new panel were reviewed by a task team comprising of leading South African property industry figures. This includes specialist sectional title attorney Marina Constas, a director of BBM Attorneys.

Constas reports the 16 individuals selected for the panel are professionals from the legal, accounting and property industries around South Africa. Having undergone a training program, they are set to take sectional title arbitration and mediation to a new level.

Elaborating on the arbitration process in sectional title disputes, she explains any disputing parties who agree can approach the Association of Arbitrators directly for an appointment. “We shall also be meeting with the Chief Registrar, to enable him to utilise this panel in cases where parties do not agree and have approached his office.”
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Selling your rented home? Read this
Question

My husband and I have downscaled from our family home, which we have now let for three years at a good rate and with annual escalations.

In turn we have rented a comfortable apartment. However, we would now prefer to buy a suitable unit in a retirement home. To afford this, it will be necessary to sell our now rented home. Presuming we can find a buyer, what will be the legal position?”

Answer

Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes (STBB) attorneys have this to say:

The essence of the maxim huur gaat voor koop gives protection to tenants against third parties whose rights vested later in time than those of the tenants.

It is particularly valuable to a tenant in the event of a new buyer seeking to evict him or her. However, the exact content of the protection by this rule of our law can leave one with misgivings.

Assuming that landlord A, sold to X his property which he had rented to B, it is accepted that the maxim will protect the rights of B so that the lease remains in place after the sale of the property to X.
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Cape Town valuations and objections
Cape Town homeowners who disagree with their 2013 property valuations will need to base their objections on fact if they hope to win their cases.  

That’s the word from Jenny Shaw, Professional Associated Valuer and co-principal owner of Harcourts Back Wave in Cape Town. According to Shaw, this year’s residential property rates, which will be based on the general valuation (GV) of 1 July 2012, along with details of how to lodge an objection, will appear on the City of Cape Town’s website in February 2013 so that rate payers can lodge objections in March and April, prior to final implementation. 

Shaw, who has in previous years conducted valuations for objections on behalf of the City of Cape Town, says consumers need to be aware of two things: that the valuations are based on actual registered property sales in the area and that objections need valid grounds.  

Objections on the basis of the market value being used as a method for calculating rates or that the neighbour’s property is valued for less than yours will not be acceptable to the Council, she warns. “Objections will only be reviewed if you can substantiate that the market value given by the Council is incorrect.” 
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Home buyers are younger and savvier
The past few years have been an extremely interesting time that has irrevocably changed the real estate market as we know it.

This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says the housing crisis experienced at the end of 2008 changed the dynamic of the real estate environment and has impacted most in some way, however, not all of the results have been negative.

Goslett says that as a result of the recession, this generation of homebuyers has become increasingly more knowledgeable about homeownership. He notes that this is partly due to the fact that property ownership and access to finance requires more preparation and planning, along with the increased media coverage of real estate topics that home buyers have been exposed to over the past six years.

Younger consumers believe that the recession has made them more knowledgeable about the property market than their parents were at their age, he says. "The increased amount of information regarding real estate and easier access to the information via the internet and property search portals has led to many consumers doing their homework more thoroughly before making one of the biggest investments of their lives.”
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Retirement property options explained
Retirement means a lot of things to different people. While it should conjure up images of a pleasant, rewarding and relaxing lifestyle, choosing your retirement lifestyle can be not only confusing but also downright stressful. Issues like life rights, share block developments and sectional title schemes can be and should be easily explained so that people are able to make an informed decision that’s right for them.  Clarifying the options might even go some way to dispelling some popular myths about them too. 

The first priority for considering your retirement is to decide how you want to enjoy your retirement before you look at the options. Retirement is the beginning of a new chapter for everyone, whether you know where you’re headed or you are still making final decisions. Either way, it’s the season of your life when you get to enjoy the chance to reflect on your years of hard work, a season when you reap the rewards. 

What does retirement mean to you? Is it the alluring promise of peace, quiet and financial security at the end of a fulfilling and successful career? Does the thought of retirement concern you? Perhaps you don’t feel fully prepared, or maybe you’re unclear about some of the bigger decisions, like where to settle, or how to invest.   
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Wise words for investing in property
While some dream of becoming property investors, to become truly successful requires a lot of attention and hard work. Michael Bauer, general manager of property management company IHFM, says he recently come across an age old debate on the best ways to invest in property and reiterates that it is hard work - it needs constant attention and should be treated like a business.  

He says some property investors often consider investing in property as part of a syndicate or group of people, but the problem with this sort of scheme is that you have to bring an equal amount of money to invest as the others in the syndicate do and there is a chance of arguments between shareholders.  

If you’re one of the lucky few who have large amounts of capital to use it may seem like a sound business proposition but for the average property investor every rand counts. It might then happen that there are shareholder disagreements, financial disagreements, cash calls/injections, and bad management which could lead to potential losses down the line resulting in failure of the venture. 
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TPN LeasePack helps with legislation
When it comes to the necessary documentation for lease agreements, the South African property sector is a heavily regulated industry.

There is an increasing amount of legislation which companies are required to comply with, which can become expensive for businesses and individuals to continually update their documentation.

In light of this concern TPN, South Africa’s only registered credit bureau catering to the rental market, has developed a LeasePack. The first of its kind in South Africa, the TPN LeasePack is based on the belief of strength in numbers.

TPN Managing Director, Michelle Dickens says the idea is that individuals can subscribe to a website from which they could access current documentation with the assurance that it was up to date in terms of new legislation.
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Riding the SA property cycle in 2013
Historical trends suggest that the South African property sector experiences a property boom approximately every 10 years with significant construction booms occurring every 20 years.

The South African property cycle peaked in the early 1980s and the property market continues to feel the aftermath of the latest investment and construction boom of 2001 to 2007.

Although the next peak in the South African property market is at least another five years away, investors should see a steady improvement in market conditions during 2013 and 2014.

In the commercial property market this will be reflected in a gradual lowering of vacancies and a rise in real rentals.  

Yet the timing and shape of the next upward cycle will be dictated by the performance of the macro economy, interest rate movements and the sector’s ability to maintain a balance between demand and development activity.
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