Property

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Must You Pay Tax on Your Rental Income?

“Few of us ever test our powers of deduction, except when filling out an income tax form” (Laurence J. Peter of The Peter Principle) Letting out property can give you an excellent “annuity” income, and if that concept appeals to you and a buy-to-let property comes your way at the right price put an offer in right now; before the current ‘buyer’s market’ runs its course. In your financial planning however remember the tax implications, because as a landlord you must add

Property Sales and Trusts: Demand Proof of Trustee Authority

“If you want to make your house easy to sell, make it easy to buy” (Anon) You are overjoyed at receiving a good offer for your property – not easily achieved in these hard times and of course you certainly don’t want to do anything to jeopardise the sale. But perhaps do that little bit extra homework before accepting the offer if it comes from a trust. The pitfall here – and it’s one that perennially takes sellers by surprise – is

Property Owners, Buyers and Agents: Lost Title Deeds and Bonds – Don’t Delay!

“He who hesitates is lost” (Wise old proverb) In January 2019 new amendments to Regulations for the replacement of lost title deeds (and similar documents like mortgage bonds and notarial bonds – see below) were published. They were very onerous and slated to come into effect at short notice, but after criticism they were suspended – until now. Revised amendments have been published, to come into effect on 1 January 2020. Firstly, what is a “Title Deed”? A title deed (deed of transfer) is

Your Website of the Month: A Festive Season Home Security Checklist

Every year the criminal fraternity welcomes the onset of the Holiday Season – lots of empty homes, lots of high-value new gadgets around, lots of relaxed homeowners letting their guard down… Here’s how to foil the bad guys while enjoying your year-end break as a time of celebration and relaxation, not a time of worrying about whether your home-sweet-home will be ok without you, and stressing over the aftermath of a burglary (or worse). “Locking Up For The Holidays: Your Home Security

“Seller’s Remorse” and “Subject to Sale of the Buyer’s Property” – Can They Sink the Sale?

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree” (Jim Rohn) The upcoming festive season, with its mass migrations of happy holiday-makers to their dream destinations, has always been a busy time for both sellers and buyers. In these hard times however, an increasing number of sellers are feeling pressured to accept offers well under their expectations, so cases of “seller’s remorse” are much more likely now than they have been for many years. The question is, just

Landlord vs Tenant: When Can You Cut Electricity or Change the Locks?

“Spoliation is the wrongful deprivation of another’s right of possession. The aim of spoliation is to prevent self-help. It seeks to prevent people from taking the law into their own hands … The cause for possession is irrelevant – that is why a thief is protected … The fact that possession is wrongful or illegal is irrelevant, as that would go to the merits of the dispute” (extracts from a 2012 Supreme Court of Appeal decision) As a landlord in dispute

Security Complexes and Fibre – You Can Use Telkom Ducting After All

“Reliable electronic communications go beyond just benefiting the commercial interest of licensees to the detriment of ownership of property. The statute [Electronic Communications Act] is designed to avoid this no-winner conflict. What it seeks is to bring our country to the edge of social and economic development for rural and urban residents in a world in which technology is so obviously linked to progress.” (Extract from Constitutional Court decision quoted in the judgment below) If you haven’t already done so, you

Property: Are Verbal Agreements Valid?

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” (Samuel Goldwyn) Verbal agreements in South Africa are generally as binding and valid as written ones. Of course not recording your agreements in writing is a bad idea – oral agreements are a recipe for doubt and dispute, and proving the exact terms agreed on will be challenging if not impossible. Moreover certain types of contract have to be in writing, and signed by all parties, to be valid at all. For

Home Builders – Your Contractor Must Register with the NHBRC

“…the Act is consumer-protection legislation designed to offer protection against incompetent builders and the construction of homes having structural defects” (extract from judgment below) In order to promote housing consumer rights, home builders (including residential property developers and builder/contractors – an “owner builder” may apply for exemption) must, in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act (“the Act”) register with the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council). They must also enrol houses they build with the Council, and pay an

Warning: Property Email Scams Surging

“Forewarned is Forearmed!” (Wise old saying) Why yet another warning about cyber-scams in the property industry? It’s because the hard fact is that the criminals are winning this war. In fact we are now reportedly the “second most targeted country in the world with regard to cyber-attacks” (Law Society of South Africa). Hence, no doubt, the Legal Practitioners Indemnity Insurance Fund report of “over 110 cybercrime related claims with a total value of R70 million” in the period July 2016 to August