Property 24/10 - 28

Banks' parking decision 'illogical'
The recently issued statement by two of South Africa's major banks that henceforth they will no longer finance sectional title units if they do not have onsite parking is illogical and based on outmoded thinking.

So says Bill Rawson, chairman of Rawson Properties, who added that "this decision makes little sense in the current scenario where all the major cities in South Africa are working towards higher densities, greater use of public transport and reductions in commuting time". "Fewer cars and fewer parking areas in the CBD and in the suburbs are what we all want and need."

When raising bond, get insurance
When a buyer is granted a bond to buy a home he will be certain to receive telephone calls from insurance brokers urging him to take out sufficient insurance to cover the full cost of the home in the event of its being destroyed by fire, storm or any other cause.

This is known in insurance circles as a Home Owners Comprehensive (HOC) policy.

"Because the bank has a vested financial interest in the property that is the underlying security for its mortgage bond, a bank has the legal right to and will always insist that such an insurance policy is taken out so as to protect its asset in the event of the home being damaged - which does happen more often than most people realise. Often the bank will try to persuade the new owner to do this through them, but he has the right to shop around to try and find a similar policy at a better rate, if that is possible. This, incidentally, is fairly frequently achieved," says Rob Lawrence, national Manager for Rawson Finance.

How CPA will injure landlords
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) will unleash a litany of woes for buy-to-let investors and rental managing agents if it is implemented in its entirety on 25 October.

The first increment took effect on 25 April 2010.

The Act imposes onerous constraints on landlords whilst empowering defaulting tenants and even threatens the democratic right of investors to charge a market-related rental.

Marlon Shevelew of Marlon Shevelew & Associates, legal adviser to Tenant Profile Network (TPN), said at a TPN seminar on the CPA on Wednesday that if the CPA is accepted in its current form, the onus will fall squarely on landlords to prove that they are not discriminating against anyone - even someone who can't pay the required rental amount.

Looking for affordability in the Cape?
Amid tough economic times and ongoing difficulty in obtaining mortgage finance, the importance of affordability in the housing market remains paramount.

Accessible pricing remains a major obstacle to many new entrants to the housing market, and is a crucial factor for many other buyer types, including those downscaling for retirement or wishing to upgrade to meet the needs of a growing family.

Yet affordable homes are not a myth, says Pam Golding Properties' MD for the Western Cape metro region, Laurie Wener.

"There are a number of suburbs in the Cape Town metropolitan area where one can obtain decent, well-built homes in the R600k to R3m price range, ranging from compact apartments ideal for young couples and professionals, to larger free-standing homes. If one only knows where to look, one may be surprised by the value for money which can be obtained, and the large variety of stock which is currently on offer."

Back to city for many semigrants
Many country towns and villages are left high and dry as lots of new residents start to "follow the money" back to the cities.

"This is very clearly reflected in our current sales patterns, which reveal strong and growing demand in the metro areas, and slow or declining demand in many smaller centres, where prices are now often too high for local buyers and there are insufficient economic opportunities to attract city buyers with more money," says Realty 1 International Property Group CEO Hano Jacobs.

"In fact, what we are seeing in more and more platteland towns now is a distinct reversal of the relocation trend of a few years ago, as many of the people who came from cities and bigger towns a few years ago in search of a better lifestyle in the country pack up and head back to the cities in search of better business or job prospects."

SARS to bear property tax gifts
Wait awhile before unwinding property in trusts or companies until the new rules are clear.

There is another amnesty for tax and exchange control fiddlers on the way.

Most of us are used to visualising SA Revenue Services as a sort of modern highwayman, putting a gun to our heads and squeezing as much of our earnings as it can, while we wake up in a cold sweat fearing the outcome of not fully complying with our returns. We perceive SARS' growing efficiency as a threat and an imposition and ignore the contribution it makes to the national economy.

So it is with considerable surprise that we occasionally see the hand of friendship extended. Our natural reaction is to beware the SARS bearing gifts. However, says tax adviser, Grant Bayne, that is just what the taxman is offering - and not just one gesture, but actually two.

Cyber thieves steal property in Oz
An international cyber-crime investigation has been launched after a sophisticated fraud network sold a home owner's investment property in Perth, Australia, in June this year without his knowledge.

The website reported that Roger Mildenhall, the owner of the house who has lived in Cape Town for the last year, has lost a whopping A$485k (about R3,2m). The cyber criminals convinced the estate agent that they were the home owners and had enough information on the owner to comply with regulatory requirements.

Mildenhall only became aware of it when a neighbour notified him that they were busy selling a second property using the same methods. He rushed to Australia just to hear that his first property had already been sold.
The sale of the second has meanwhile been prevented.

Build it lawfully!
I don't care how much money you have. And I don't care how you spend it either.

If you want to light your cigars with $20 bills that's up to you. After all, money is just a disposable commodity anyway.

However, I do care if you spend money doing something that is illegal or wrong.

So let's think about an interesting dispute that's unfolding in Cape Town and it's typical of many similar disputes in other parts of the country too.

What happened was that a local businessman Fred Robertson, chief executive of listed black empowerment company Brimstone, decided to build himself a mansion in Bantry Bay.

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