Property

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“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

Unlawful Occupiers: Eviction Is Possible, but Neither Quick nor Easy

“It is only once the court concludes that there is no defence to the claim for eviction and that it would be just and equitable to grant an eviction order that it is obliged to grant that order” (Extract from judgment below) “Buy land” said Mark Twain, “they’re not making it anymore.” With the first green shoots of a property market recovery supposedly now showing through perhaps this is indeed the time to take his advice. Just be sure, if the property

Property Transfers and Trust Account Theft: A R720,000 Warning

“The issue of whether a conveyancing attorney receives the money as the agent of the seller, or of the purchaser, or of both, or as trustee for both to await the event, is a somewhat vexed question … and each case must be considered in the light of its own facts and the particular contractual terms under which the conveyancer received payment” (Extract from judgment below) A lot of money changes hands in property sales, and for many of us buying

Airbnb Owners and Buyers – Should You Be Worried About the New Regulations?

“While travel on our platform accounts for less than 1 in 8 visitors to South Africa, those guests boosted the economy by R8.7 billion and helped create 22,000 jobs last year alone” and “Regulation is a useful and necessary tool of good policy, but policy comes first. Sadly, the current wording of the draft Bill is very vague and unclear. It indicates the creation of specific regulatory approaches without any explanation of what they are trying to encourage or solve.” (Airbnb) Firstly,

You Signed a Property Sale Agreement, Can You Still Accept a Better Offer?

You put your property on the market and an acceptable but not-perfect offer comes in. On the “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” principle you want to accept the offer even though it’s not ideal. Perhaps it’s not perfect because it’s subject to a suspensive condition – common ones give the buyer time to sell his/her current house or to obtain a bond. In both scenarios your sale will fall through if the buyer is unsuccessful