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3 July 2014

There’s no sitting on the fence
Remax - South Africa
With a change in legislation in May 2009, it has since become compulsory for sellers to be in possession of and provide the buyer with a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance or ECOC. Essentially the document certifies that all of the electrical work and any additional installations have been vetted and comply with the regulations stipulated by the South African National Standards.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that before the current legislative change was made, ECOC documents never expired and could simply be transferred from one owner to another without limitation, provided no changes were made to the electrical installation. The seller could provide the new owner with the very same electrical certificate that was given to them when they purchased the property, regardless of the time period that had lapsed. “However,” says Goslett, “the current legalisation stipulates that the ECOC is only valid for a period of two years. If the seller has an ECOC that is older than this, or any electrical alterations have occurred during the two year period, the seller will be required to obtain a new ECOC by enlisting the services of a certified electrician. During the sale process of the home the original compliance certificate will be requested by the conveyancing attorney before the registration of the property takes place. It will then be presented to the new owner of the property to retain, as the owner is required by law to present the certificate to an inspector on request.”
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Help for homeowners who are under water
RealNet - South Africa
The shrinking economy combined with ongoing cost-of-living increases such as the electricity price hike implemented today (subs: 1 July 2014) has raised the spectre of the situation in 2009 when hundreds of homeowners suddenly found themselves facing foreclosure and the loss of their properties.

So says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who notes that many consumers are in a precarious financial position again due to recent interest rate and price increases, and that any loss of income as a result of the current economic contraction could easily push them over the edge.

“This risk is evident, we think, in the First National Bank research that shows 15% of sellers in the first quarter of this year were selling to relieve financial pressure, compared to 14% in the previous quarter. This was the first increase in this percentage for a long time.
RealNet

Make greater use of paid experts in sectional title schemes
Rawson - South Africa
It is sometimes said that up to 25% of South Africa's sectional title schemes are inefficiently managed and in many cases the units in these lose value year after year. This situation, says Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, is in nine cases out of ten due to the sectional title scheme not being managed properly and having trustees who are inexperienced or lazy.

"Even a rudimentary investigation of body corporates will usually show that many of the trustees ought never to have been appointed because little or nothing in their background equips them for their new task." This, adds Clarke, very often applies to people who in other fields have been highly successful, but whose knowledge of property and property law is totally inadequate for the job at hand.

One improvement he and others would like to see, says Clarke, is a new set of rules applied to the whole question of the remuneration of trustees.
Rawson Press Release

Property Barometer - Residential Affordability
FNB - South Africa
While the residential-related affordability picture is still very good, it appears that the “residential affordability cycle” may be slowly turning the corner in the direction of a slight deterioration in affordability, after a number of years of improvement, with house price growth still solid, interest rates believed to have started a rising phase in their cycle, and average employee remuneration growth struggling.

To assess home affordability, the key factors to evaluate against incomes and interest rate levels are house price trends, rates and tariffs trends, maintenance and repair cost trends, affordability relative to “rival” consumer goods and services, and of course the cost of credit given that the residential market is so credit-dependent.

The June SARB Quarterly Bulletin enabled us to update our own 2 housing affordability indices for the 4th quarter of 2013, using the SARB Average Employee Remuneration Index, the FNB House Price Index, and a Prime Rate time series. As at the 4th quarter of last year, the improving trend in affordability that had started in 2008 appeared to have all but ended, and we saw a very slight deterioration in the 2 affordability measures.
Residential Affordability

Cancellation of lease may be grounds for damages
IolProperty - South Africa
When a landlord or tenant cancels the lease prematurely, the party that suffers a loss or is prejudiced may sue for damage. The cancellation may be unjust, with serious financial implications for the landlord or tenant.

It would be unfair and may seriously prejudice a landlord when a tenant vacates the dwelling without giving proper notice. What happens to a landlord who is informed on the last day of the month by his tenant that she is moving out on that day? The 'notice' is most certainly unjust, with serious financial implications for the landlord.
IolProperty

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