Understanding affordable housing: spotlight on the Western Cape
The property industry in the Western Cape is not yet clear on the concept of what could be deemed to be affordable in terms of residential property and the opportunities available to developers in this market according to Deon van Zyl, chairperson of the Western Cape Property Developers Forum (WCPDF).
Speaking recently at the organisation’s annual conference, Van Zyl said that the industry had not moved much closer to understanding the differences between affordable accommodation and low-cost housing.
“We still feel threatened by the misconception of small boxes on small erven, a concept that property economist Professor Francois Viruly calls the 40x40x40 concept - a 40sqm house situated 40kms from work and with transport costing up to 40% of a household’s income,” says Van Zyl.
What constitutes a breach of contract in property sales?
Immovable property transfers are governed by South African legislation - the Land Alienation Act soon to be replaced by the Property Transactions Bill - to protect all the parties involved.
When a transfer of a property is to take place, it is through the Offer to Purchase (OTP) or Sale Agreement, which has to be in writing so that all the conditions of the sale are named and made binding, says Nelio Mendes, marketing manager of estate agency SAProperty.com, which has offices in Gauteng and Cape Town.
“By having all the details of the transaction in writing little room is left for uncertainty, and the conditions of the sale or other important aspects of the deal are listed so that both buyer and seller know what their rights and obligations are, for example bond approval, repair of certain items in the home, beetle or electrical compliance, and so forth,” says Mendes.
Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill explained
On 17 March 2017, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform published the draft Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill for public comment.
“The Bill is aimed at progressing land reform within the agricultural sector and will have far-reaching implications for current and future owners of agricultural land,” says Zunaid Rawoot, a Partner at Webber Wentzel.
In summary, Rawoot says the Bill aims to improve the land reform process by:
- Prohibiting the outright sale of agricultural land to foreign persons and only permitting the registration of long-term leases in favour of a foreign person.
The role of the Rental Housing Tribunal explained
Established during 2001, the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT) assists in resolving disputes that arise between landlords and tenants. Made up of members with housing management, development and rental housing experience who have been appointed by the Provincial Minister of Housing, the RHT is also tasked with implementing the Rental Housing Act.
“The primary function of the Rental Housing Tribunal is to mediate and settle disputes that tenants and landlords cannot resolve themselves in an amicable manner. Ideally, the RHT’s aim is to ensure that there is stability and harmony in the rental housing sector of the market,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
“The RHT will inform landlords and tenants of both their rights and obligations with regard to the Rental Housing Act, and will then investigate and mediate the situation at hand to reach a resolution by making recommendations to the relevant parties.”
Servitudes explained and how they impact property values
What is a servitude and how can it impact the value of a property?
“According to property legislation, a servitude is a registered right that someone has over the immovable property owned by another person. The servitude affords the holder the right to do something with the property, even if it may infringe upon the rights of the person who owns it,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
“If a servitude is held on a property, the owner of the property will be unable to exercise their entitlement to the property in the full capacity.”
The servitude implies that the property does not just serve the owner, but also another property or person. Because of this, Goslett says the owner’s rights are somewhat diminished.