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27 October 2016

STSMA training workshop for agents on 2 Nov in Cape Town
Many changes have to take place in the management of sectional title schemes now that the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA) and the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) Act have come into effect.

Trustees and sectional title estate agents will need to become acquainted with the new legislation, as well as implement the necessary changes as soon as possible, says Annette Evans, general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape.

To this end, IEASA Western Cape have arranged a workshop on 2 November 2016 from 09h30 to 11h30, in conjunction with the Cape Law Society and attorney Judith van der Walt, to go through the main changes in the STSMA.
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Free legal support for landlords and tenants explained
The South African residential rental industry is comprehensively governed by a set of laws designed to protect the rights of landlords and tenants. These laws are known as the Rental Housing Act, and should be familiar to all professionals in the industry.

“Of course, not all landlords are rental professionals, and very few tenants have much experience in rental law, which is why disputes over rights and responsibilities occur with unfortunate frequency,” says Jacqui Savage, the National Business Development Manager for Rawson Rentals.

She says the most common disagreements between tenants and landlords arise from the incorrect interpretation or application of the laws presented in the Rental Housing Act.
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SA's heritage suburbs giving rise to shared living costs
With the renewed popularity of heritage suburbs close to city centres now well established, the existing owners of large properties in those areas are finding great benefit in subdividing and selling off parts of their acreage to new residents and spec builders.

“The costs of securing and maintaining a home with a big garden are increasing all the time,” says David Jacobs, the Rawson Property Group's Regional Manager for their Northern Region and KZN.

“Property rates and municipal charges have also increased substantially in recent years, and we have seen how this has prompted many owners in Johannesburg suburbs such as Bryanston, Houghton, Linden, Melrose, Parktown and Saxonwold, and Pretoria suburbs such as Brooklyn, Lynnwood and Waterkloof, to sell their homes and downscale to smaller properties or retirement villages.”
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Buyers now responsible for special levies on a pro rata base
While provisions have been set in the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act (STSMA), which became effective on 7 October 2016, for a reserve fund to be established for future maintenance and repair work to common property in sectional title schemes, there might still be the need for special levies to be raised in certain circumstances.

The new Act caters for special levies in Section 3 (3), and provides that:

“Any special contribution becomes due on the passing of a resolution in this regard by the trustees of the body corporate levying such contribution, and may be recovered by the body corporate by an application to an Ombud from the persons who were owners of units at the time when such resolution was passed” - which does not indicate any remarkable change except that the Ombud can now be approached to help collect special levies."
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Explained: real estate franchises versus branches
Real estate franchises and branches may seem very similar at first glance, but the fundamental differences between these corporate structures can have a big effect on the experiences of agents within a brand.

“As an independent real estate professional, or a member of an existing brand exploring alternative models, it can be useful to understand the pros and cons of franchises and branches in order to make an informed decision to enhance your career,” says Walter Hart, the Rawson Property Group’s Business Expansion Manager, and an active member of the real estate industry for over thirty years.

“The most obvious difference between a branch and a franchise when it comes to big real estate brands is ownership - a branch is wholly owned and operated by the parent company, which has complete control over all aspects of the business. This includes staffing, legalities and trust accounts. All agents are employees rather than independent business owners.”
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Landlords, here's how to deal with non-paying tenants
It’s a landlord’s worst-case scenario: a non-paying tenant has occupied an investment property.

Not only does this scenario result in a loss of income, it also spells the beginning of hours of wasted time, substantial frustration and unnecessary anxiety.

Louw Liebenberg, CEO of PayProp, national processor of residential letting transactions, says that the number of non-paying tenants would shock any potential investor from considering owning and managing a rental property.

“In a recent review of the claims history of our DepositGuarantee product, we found that 13% of tenants who move out of a property do not pay their last month’s rent,” says Liebenberg.
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