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Property 24/10 - 407

7 June 2018

Municipal water supply cut-offs - is this legal?
The Cape Town Municipality’s water department has been reasonably efficient in keeping track of water consumption and penalising those who do not comply with the new rulings limiting water usage.

Regrettably, however, says Rowan Alexander, Director of Alexander Swart Property, there have been several cases (see the municipality’s website on this matter) where clerical and other errors have resulted in certain consumers paying five, ten or more times higher charges than they should for their water, and in certain instances these consumers have retaliated by refusing to pay their water bills.
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South Africans failing to keep up with their rent
One in every four tenants don’t fulfil their rental obligations, according to PayProp, the largest processor of residential letting transactions in South Africa.

These were findings of the PayProp Rental Index for Q1 2018, which gives a definitive overview of rental behaviour in SA. “Nationally, we measured an increase in the percentage of tenants in arrears from 18.5% in April 2017 to 23.2% in March 2018,” says PayProp head of data Johette Smuts. “This means that only 76.8% of tenants pay their rent in full every month – and one in four don’t.”

Smuts says the average arrears percentage relative to rent is also increasing over time. “In April 2017, the average tenant in arrears was just over 80% in arrears. In March 2018, this number was much closer to 100% (96.4% to be exact), meaning the average tenant in arrears is almost one full month behind with their rent. Unfortunately, this is the trend we see for every province.”
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Drive to root out corruption in the property sector
Public Works Minister, Thulas Nxesi, on Thursday called on property sector representatives and members of the public to work with government to expose corruption.

“It is in all our interests to stamp out this culture of corruption, a practice which has brought this country to the brink of disaster,” the Minister said.

Speaking at the launch of the Expedited Lease Renewal Process held in Sandton, Nxesi acknowledged that poor governance and controls have led to much of the chaos in the leasing environment.

“If you have information that officials are not acting ethically, please let me know. If you want to remain anonymous, we also have a phone line for whistle blowers.
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The pros and cons of buying a home for cash
Cash is good, and credit is bad. Pay off your debt and don’t take out new loans. Save for the things you want until you can pay cash for them.

This is the prevailing advice these days as many South African households wrestle with the ever-increasing cost of living. So it is not surprising that many people think it would be a good idea if they could pay cash when buying a home instead of taking out a home loan.

But prospective buyers also need to consider the potential disadvantages of this approach, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of estate agency group RealNet Holdings.
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Sectional title renovations: When you don’t need approval
When doing renovations to your section (generally the interior of your living area) in a sectional title scheme, it is often difficult to know what you need to get approval for.

As a general rule, unless your conduct or management rules state otherwise, you can go ahead without approval from the trustees or body corporate, if the alteration:

  • is within the boundaries of your section;
  • doesn’t prejudice the structural support that your section provides to other sections and the common property; and
  • doesn’t prejudice the harmonious appearance of the building

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