Category: Rentals

UntitledInnovations and special provisions that apply to sectional title apartments and town houses do not necessarily apply to homeowners’ associations.

This is according to specialist sectional title attorney and director of BBM Attorneys, Marina Constas, who said that it is important to know the difference between the two and how different regulations may or may not affect them.

“The latest buzz words in the property industry are community schemes,” she said.

“The Department of Human Settlements, currently the umbrella body for such schemes, has taken control of their regulation.

“Community schemes include sectional title complexes, homeowners’ associations, shareblock developments, retirement villages, gated estates with constitutions and social co-operatives, which now fall under Section 1 of the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS),” said Constas.

Sectional Titles

While the CSOS Act covers all community schemes, sectional title stakeholders must also consider the Sectional Title Schemes Management (STSMA), where recent amendments have introduced several new innovations.

“These must be understood and embraced by the sectional title industry. However, they do not automatically relate to homeowners’ associations and other community schemes,” said Constas.

Examples include the establishment of a reserve fund and a mandatory maintenance, repair and replacement plan.

“While many trustees manage their buildings very well and have always had buffer funds, an inordinate number find themselves in financial difficulty, with buildings being run from hand to mouth each month.”

“This reserve fund aims to ensure that buildings do not fall into disrepair. A related maintenance, repair and replacement plan is another completely innovation in the STSMA. From now on, the body corporate must prepare a written maintenance, repair and replacement plan which sets out the major capital expenses within the next 10 years.”

Constas pointed out that other important STSMA amendments include the stipulation that any changes to the management or conduct rules of a sectional title scheme must be approved by the chief Ombud after the necessary resolutions have been taken.

“The duties of owners have also been changed. An owner must now notify the body corporate of any change of ownership or occupancy in his unit. In terms of insurance, trustees are now obligated to obtain valuations every three years and owners may not obtain an insurance policy in respect of damage arising from risk covered by the policy of the body corporate.

“On the financial front, the complex’s budget may now include a 10 percent discount on levies if an owner’s contributions are all paid on the due dates.

“There is no longer a reference to an accounting officer in the sectional title legislation. Consequently, all buildings, even those with 10 or less units, must be audited,” she said.

Constas adde that the new concept of executive managing agents has now been included in the rules for sectional title schemes.

“Distinguishable from an ordinary managing agent, the executive managing agent actually steps into the shoes of the trustees and is liable for any loss suffered by the body corporate as a result of not applying care and skill.

“Even pets have been revised in the STSMA legislation,” Constas said.

“Disabled residents who require an assistance dog to reside with them and accompany them on common property no longer need the formal consent of trustees.”

While the STSMA’s recent innovations do not automatically apply to homeowners’ associations, Constas notes that they may choose to adopt certain provisions from the Act.

“So, if I live in a cluster golf estate development, the maintenance, repair and replacement plan does not apply in my scheme unless the scheme has legally adopted that particular rule.

“If I live in a sectional title scheme, the managing, repair and replacement rule automatically applies,” she said.

Community Schemes

The Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) Act, on the other hand, applies to all community schemes.

“The service is there to regulate, monitor and control the quality of all community scheme governance documentation and provide dispute resolution,” she said.

“Whilst the CSOS Act does not specifically talk about a compliance certificate for homeowners’ association rules, the Ombud’s office will be effecting amendments to bring the law regarding registration and rule compliance for homeowners’ associations in line with sectional title schemes.

“In the interim, the Ombud’s service is encouraging homeowners’ associations to send rules in for vetting,” Constas stated.

She added that the Ombud currently has jurisdiction to deal with any disputes in cluster schemes and notes that the Community Schemes Ombud Services levy must be paid by homeowners’ associations whether they are company registered or simply have a constitution.

Constas said that although the Ombud service faced serious challenges in its infancy, great strides have been made, with over 33 000 complexes having paid over monies. Those homeowners’ associations that have not registered with CSOS will be penalised, she said.

“Now that the Ombud’s office is gaining traction, there will be time to augment and improve the provision of services and to flesh out interesting issues in the industry, such as the Air BnB onslaught,” said Constas.


Divorce and dividing a property concept. Man and woman are signing divorce agreement.

In Suid-Afrika bestaan daar ‘n wanopvatting dat as jy lank genoeg as lewensmaats saamwoon, daar wederkerige regsbeskerming vir die partye is omdat hulle in ‘n sogenaamde “gemeenregtelike huwelik” sou wees.

Dit is nie die geval nie. Ons reg erken nie ‘n gemeenregtelike huwelik nie. Jy kan dus finansieel blootgestel wees indien jou lewensmaat jou verlaat of doodgaan. Die probleem is dat lewensmaats nie dieselfde regte en verpligtinge teenoor mekaar het as wat die geval is met huweliksmaats of persone wat ‘n formele burgerlike verbintenis geregistreer het of persone wat ‘n gebruiklike huwelik aangegaan het nie. In 2008 was daar wel ‘n wetsontwerp bekend as die “Domestic Partnerships Bill” gepubliseer, maar sedertdien lyk dit nie of hierdie konsep enigsinds verder gevoer gaan word nie.

Wat staan jou te doen?

Kom ons aanvaar jy wil nie formeel trou nie, jy wil nie ‘n burgerlike verbintenis registreer nie en jy gaan ook nie ‘n gebruiklike huwelik ingevolge erkende tradisionele voorskrifte sluit nie. Dan moet jy jou regsverteenwoordiger vir advies vra en opdrag gee om die volgende te hanteer –

  1. Met die insette van beide partye moet julle ‘n ooreenkoms opstel om jul saamwoonverhouding te reguleer. Dit moet ten minste jul ooreenkoms met mekaar, jul regsposisie en julle spesifieke finansiële reëlings uiteensit vir die tydperk –
    1. Vir solank as wat die verhouding duur, en
    2. In die geval van dood of in die geval van ander beëindiging van die verhouding. Kom dan voor die tyd met mekaar ooreen oor aspekte soos –
      1. Hoe gaan die partye se bates verdeel word?
      2. Gaan die partye geregtig wees om onderhoud te ontvang of verplig wees om onderhoud te betaal of soortgelyke ondersteuning te bied?
      3. Gaan daar enige finansiële aanpassing tussen die partye wees? Wat as net een lewensmaat werk? Wat as een betaal vir die ander se huisverband of betaal vir bouwerk wat op die ander se eiendom opgerig word?
      4. Wat gebeur met deurlopende verpligtinge soos huurooreenkomste, verbande, mediese dekking en lewenspolisse, maandelikse en ander herhalende betalings wat gemaak moet word?
      5. Enige ander belangrike aspekte wat julle voor die tyd moet reguleer. As daar kinders is, is dit natuurlik ‘n ooglopende aspek wat in detail gereguleer moet word.
  2. Maak seker dat jul testamente op datum is. Is daar voorsiening in jul testamente om die langslewende se posisie te beskerm indien dit in julle geval nodig is? Sonder ‘n testament geld die bepalings vir intestate vererwing. Dan het die langslewende lewensmaat geen aanspraak om te erf nie en ook geen aanspraak om onderhoud van die eerssterwende se boedel te eis nie. Jou testament moet deur ‘n kundige persoon opgestel word. Testamente wat onduidelik of onvolledig opgestel is of wat nie aan die formaliteitsvoorskrifte voldoen nie, gee ongelukkig aanleiding tot dispute en litigasie wat uit die staanspoor vermy kon gewees het.

Die risiko as jy niks doen nie

Sonder die voorgestelde ooreenkomste en sonder die voorgestelde testamente is jy onnodig op risiko. Jy sal geen reg op vererwing hê by afsterwe van jou lewensmaat nie. Indien die verhouding tot ‘n einde kom het jy slegs ‘n aanspraak op bates wat jy as jou eie kan bewys. Ongelukkig is ons hofverslae vol van gevalle waar lewensmaats sonder heenkome gelaat is, selfs waar hulle vir dekades in ‘n saamwoonverhouding betrokke was wat tot ‘n hartseer einde gekom het.

Indien jy in hierdie posisie verkeer, verkry regsadvies oor jou situasie–

  • Is daar enige regsbeskerming vir jou? Daar is sekere wetgewing wat wel voorsiening maak vir lewensmaats – soos onderhoud vir kinders, mediese fondse, inkomstebelasting, boedelbelasting, pensioenfondse, asook beskerming teen huishoudelike geweld om die belangrikste voorbeelde te noem.
  • In gevalle waar ons wetgewing nie erkenning gee aan die gelyke regte  van lewensmaats nie, kan jy die een wees wat probeer om ‘n hof te oortuig dat die wetgewing ongrondwetlik verklaar moet word. Dit is ‘n lang en duur proses om te kies.
  • Jy kan ook probeer om die hof te oortuig dat julle wel in ‘n universele vennootskap met mekaar getree het. Dit is moontlik maar moeilik; selfs al is jy suksesvol is daar geen waarborg dat die hof ‘n 50/50 verdeling sal beveel nie.

Die risiko, koste, onsekerheid, dispute en onaangenaamheid kan grootliks vermy word, indien die partye vanuit die staanspoor ‘n volledige ooreenkoms met mekaar aangaan om hul saamwoonverhouding te reguleer. 

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You sign a two-year lease for a nice little apartment (or a large family house if you have a spouse, 3 kids and a dog) but after 6 months your employer transfers you and you have to cancel early.

“Fine” says your landlord “but you are breaching your lease and I am holding you liable for the remaining 18 months’ rental”.

What are your rights? As is often the case in life, that depends…

Check the terms of your lease

First things first, generally your most important consideration is this: “What does my lease say about termination?”

Most leases specify what happens if you don’t comply with the terms of your lease and our law will generally hold you to your agreements. So if you have agreed to be bound to a two year lease, your starting point should be that you are at risk if you cancel early.

Before you concede anything however, consider the following –

Does the CPA apply?

First step is to decide whether the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) applies to your lease.

The CPA gives its protections to “fixed-term agreement” tenants but only if your landlord is leasing to you “in the ordinary course of business” and it’s unfortunately not yet clear how our courts will interpret that definition in property leasing scenarios. For example, if your landlord is a property investor running a full-on letting business with a whole selection of apartments or houses, you will definitely fall under the CPA. But what about a private home owner who is overseas for a year and rents to you on a temporary basis? Or a pensioner letting out a “granny flat” to boost their retirement income? You can certainly argue that in both cases the landlord is making “a business” of the letting out, but expect your landlord to disagree.

The 20 day notice provision in the CPA

If the CPA does indeed apply, this is the crux: The CPA allows you to give your landlord 20 business days’ notice, at any time, and for any reason.

“Hooray” I hear you shout, “I get off scot free”. But not so fast!

The CPA also allows your landlord –

To recover any amounts still owed by you in terms of the lease up to the date of cancellation, and
To impose a “reasonable cancellation penalty”. The principle here isn’t to punish you by allowing your landlord to, for example, automatically hold you liable for the full remaining period of your lease. The idea rather is to let the landlord recover all actual losses resulting from your early cancellation – rental lost until a new tenant is in place, re-advertising costs, new agent’s fees, new lease preparation costs and so on. Particularly if you are cancelling a fixed-term lease early on, expect to pay for the privilege.

Note that this all applies regardless of what your lease says – you can’t be contracted out of these protections. In other words if your lease imposes a set “early cancellation fee” or the like, it must still be a reasonable one.  Note also that you must give the required notice “in writing or other recorded manner and form” (keep proof).

What if the CPA doesn’t apply?

In this case, you have no specific right of early cancellation and will be bound by the terms of your lease.

But you still aren’t entirely at your landlord’s mercy. Any penalty imposed on you must still be reasonable. Per the Conventional Penalties Act, a court can reduce a penalty if it is “out of proportion to the prejudice suffered” by the landlord.

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住宅模型と暗い背景

Ons weet almal hoe maklik ‘n misverstand of dispuut tussen ‘n huurder en verhuurder kan ontstaan. Dikwels is gesonde kommunikasie of ‘n mate van onderhandeling voldoende om die geskil op te los. As dit nie werk nie kan ‘n onafhanklike tussenganger dan nodig wees.

Die Verhuringstribunaal is die aangewese tussenganger wat die Wet op Huurbehuising  gebruik om dispute tussen verhuurder en huurder spoedig op te los. Die tribunaal moet beide partye se belange balanseer en moet ook beide kante teen onbillike praktyke en uitbuiting beskerm.

Hou in gedagte dat hierdie wet en tribunaal slegs van toepassing is op residensiële eiendom soos ‘n woonhuis of woonstel. Dit is nie op huurkontrakte vir kommersiële en nywerheidspersele van toepassing nie.

Wat beloop die kostes en hoe werk dit?

Hierdie dienste is gratis en verniet. Die proses begin wanneer een van die partye die geskil na die plaaslike Tribunaal verwys. ‘n Onpartydige mediator sal dan aangestel word om die partye te help om die aangeleentheid aan te spreek en tot ‘n skikkingsooreenkoms te kom. Indien die partye nie tot ‘n vergelyk kan kom nie word die dispuut formeel aangehoor. Aan die einde van die verrigtinge word ‘n bevinding gemaak. Die bevinding is bindend en moet nagekom word en kan strafregtelik afgedwing word. Enige van die partye kan die bevinding op hersiening na die Hooggeregshof neem.

Jy kan self die klagte opstel en self die saak by die Tribunaal voer. Dit is egter veiliger om jou regsverteenwoordiger opdrag te gee om dit te hanteer, veral as daar baie op die spel is.

Die Tribunaal is nie by magte om ‘n uitsetting te gelas nie; slegs ‘n hof kan so ‘n bevel uitreik. Daarom sal ‘n verhuurder dikwels eerder dadelik wil begin met ‘n formele hofsaak.

Vir die meeste dispute behoort huurders en verhuurders ernstig te kyk na die vinnige, maklike en goedkoper opsie van ‘n verwysing na die Tribunaal.

Voorkoming is beter as genesing…

Dit is natuurlik die beste om enige dispuut in geheel te vermy. Begin met ‘n huurooreenkoms wat volledig en duidelik opgestel is. Maak seker dat jy aan die basiese voorskrifte voldoen soos gesamentlike inspeksies vir enige skade aan die perseel, belegging en terugbetaling van die huurdeposito en vermyding van enige onbillike huurpraktyke.

Verkry bystand van jou prokureur. Om bloot ‘n standaard huurooreenkoms te gebruik sonder om toegepaste advies te verkry is nie aan te beveel nie.

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“For a happy tenant the right of first refusal is a fantastic opportunity to not only remain in the property they love, but to purchase it for themselves should the opportunity arise,” says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.

The right of first refusal means that a landlord agrees to alert the tenant when they’ve decided to put the property up for sale, offering the tenant the first opportunity to make an offer to purchase. As with all legal agreements there are complexities which, if not understood can lead to costly litigation – as has been highlighted by the recent court case between Mokone v Tassos Properties that ended up at the Constitutional Court.

A rental contract renewal didn’t traditionally cover all original terms

In this case Mokone (the tenant) was granted a right of first refusal in the original lease agreement. This agreement was later extended first orally, and then through a written endorsement. However, the owner later sold the property to a third party without the right of first refusal. This was arguably legal as previous precedent indicates that the renewal of an agreement should only include the essential terms of the agreement, unless the collateral terms (such as right of first refusal) are expressly mentioned.

This case went to the Constitutional Court, which held that “lay person(s), when renewing a lease on the same terms and conditions, would ‘regard the contents of a document setting out the terms of their lease and a related agreement to agree of whatever nature as their ‘lease’ and therefore a right of first refusal would form part of any renewal”.

The sale to the third party was subsequently denied, with the Court could ‘see no reason why’ the tenant could not legitimately step into the position of the third party.

Swain believes that this is an important judgment in that; “Landlords and tenants now need to be aware that a contract renewal will be deemed to renew all aspects of the original agreement (both essential and collateral). Should this not be the intent the parties will need to expressly stipulate this in a separate addendum. This applies to all stipulations in a rental contract including annual increases and the like.”

Monday, 27 November 2017 15:54

Credit

 eprop

Analyzing industrial property by box size reveals that there is currently more space available in middle of the range properties, particularly those sized 2,500sqm to 5,000sqm. Interestingly, the smallest and largest box size segments recorded the largest improvements in vacancy rate. This is perhaps surprising given the state of the economy and also the fact that smaller tenants may be more vulnerable to exchange rate movements. What it could potentially indicate is that most occupiers are downsizing their operations – requiring less space.

I

The Projected rentals for the Cape Town Industrial Areas vary between  R25/m² and R55/m² for existing industrial space.

Security Parks such as Airport City, Montague Park in Montague Gardens and Brackengate on the R300 Corridor achieve the highest rentals in Cape Town. Older, less function properties in areas such as Parow, Beaconvale, Epping and Blackheath still have bargains to be had at R25/m².

For more detailed information please contact info@capeindustrialproperty.co.za or call us.