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Water risks to land development: SAPOA
The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) is pointing to a growing risk to land development: the complex issuing of Water Use Licences (WULAs) and river reserve determinations.

SAPOA legal officer Eugenia Makgabo says SAPOA notes that even where planning approval has been granted, and an EIA has been approved, construction activity cannot commence without a WULA.Since the majority of new land development proposals in SA require crossings of water courses, WULAs have become a key criterion in new land and property projects.

The primary concern is that the process to issue WULAs is highly cumbersome, lengthy and unclear. This is according to SAPOA legal officer Eugenia Makgabo, who says SAPOA notes that even where planning approval has been granted, and an EIA has been approved, construction activity cannot commence without a WULA.

Urbanists changing Jozi property
Gone are the days when the ideal upmarket Johannesburg home had a tennis court, swimming pool and vast, landscaped gardens.

A new breed of developers known as ‘urbanists’ are ushering in a residential revolution that is turning past housing trends on their heads and transforming once-shunned locations into hot properties. This is according to Penny Chenery, Real Estate partner at law firm, Hogan Lovells, who sayssecurity considerations and the advent of disposable living are fuelling the new trends, which are attracting property investors and young home buyers in droves.

In the Johannesburg CBD, residential units no larger than 36 square metres (the size of a double garage) are selling like hot cakes, she says. The minimum selling price is around R350 000, with marginally larger penthouse apartments going for anything up to R1 million.

Nearly 5000 land claims processed
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has processed close to 5 000 applications from claimants ever since President Jacob Zuma assented to a law that re-opened the lodgement of land claims. The President assented to the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, 2014 (Act No. 15 of 2014) at the end of last month, which reopened the lodgement of land claims on 1 July for another five years.

Briefing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform at the department’s Mowbray regional office, Nomfundo Gobodo, the Chief Land Claims Commissioner, said the process had gone smoothly ever since it was re-opened. “As of 25 July 2014, the claims captured over the past four weeks increased to 4 917.

How do I become an estate agent?
A Property24 reader asks:
I work for a bank in their home loans division and I will be leaving at the end of March 2015. I want to become an estate agent and start studying now - how do I go about setting myself up?

Jaco Rademeyer, from Jaco Rademeyer Estates, responds:
The Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976 (“the Act”) contains a specific definition of “estate agent”. In terms of the Act, an estate agent is any person who holds himself out as a person who, or advertises that he, buys and sells or lets and hires immovable property, has an interest in immovable property or a business undertaking on behalf of or on instructions of someone else for gain. The Act regulates the entry of persons to the estate agency business and controls the dealings of practising estate agents with the public and their relations with other estate agents.

Property damage and rental deposits
Many of the cases seen at the Rental Tribunal are those where a landlord feels that his property has been damaged and he wants to claim from the tenant via the security deposit. But in order to for him to succeed, he has to prove that the tenant is in the wrong or he won’t have a case.

This is according to Annette Evans, regional general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, who says landlords and managing agents must remember that when a new tenant moves into rented premises, the incoming and outgoing inspections must be done as early as possible and should be backed up by photographs of each room or items of interest.

If there are any claims for damage done to the property in the future, and there is no proof of the original state the property was in, the landlord will not be able to claim for these damages from the deposit.

Can I cancel rental, get deposit back?
A Property24 reader asks:
I read this article Rental deposits - know your rights. So if I paid a R2 500 part deposit on securing a rental property and decided that due to circumstances, I no longer wanted the place, can I get my deposit back? The owner of the property said that he lost out on income due to the 1 week delay of waiting for a decision from me, so is keeping the funds.

Martin Goodman, Director of Rentshield, advises:
In short, you can choose to cancel a lease agreement before taking occupation. However, according to the Consumer Protection Act when a lease is terminated by the lessee before occupation has taken place, the landlord is entitled to the deposit or part of the deposit as a suitable cancellation fee.

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