Property 24/10 - 5

Property rights sustain economies
Tamper with property rights and it's the beginning of the end of a country's economy.
Nothing bears greater weight than the individual's right to obtain and retain property.

This is the lesson to be learnt from events that happened two decades ago in Nicaragua and which have unfolded over the last ten years in Zimbabwe where economies were heavily affected when these two countries' governments jettisoned property rights.

After a thorough study of what went wrong in Nicaragua and Zimbabwe, Prof Craig J. Richardson, professor in economics at the Salem College in North Carolina in America, came to the conclusion that property rights are the foundation a country's economy is built on.

Joburg to review municipal tariffs
Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo announced on Wednesday that the city will review its tariff rates based on the revised municipal tariffs of 28,9% announced by Eskom.

He said the 28,9% tariff increase, effective from July 1, is up by more than 4% compared to the initial figure of 24,8%.

"In Joburg we had already approved our tariffs based on the 24,8%. We are now forced to go back to the drawing board to review our tariffs based on the 28,9%.

"This is a blow for the people of Johannesburg - both residents and the business community. A sharp rise in electricity costs will have a severe impact on poor households who will be further affected by higher prices of other essential commodities," said Masondo.

Home loans: Beware termination penalties
Paying off one's mortgage debt before the standard 20-year repayment term has lapsed may well be a financially savvy route to follow, but banks still have the right to slap various penalty interest charges on consumers who settle their home loans early.

Industry players note that banks have become far more stringent about imposing their termination notice periods since the introduction of the National Credit Act (NCA) in mid-2007. Section 125 of the NCA stipulates that banks are entitled to receive 90 days notice from a client of their intention to cancel their mortgage bond, regardless of when the loan was granted.

AGMs: Appoint proxy if you can't make it
There are a fairly high percentage of sectional title schemes in South Africa that are poorly run and even heading for big debt and maintenance problems.

Despite this, says Michael Bauer, general manager of IHFM, which specialises in sectional title management, there is a marked reluctance among sectional title property owners to attend the all-important Annual General Meetings (AGMs) at which difficult matters can be sorted out.

Bathrooms: Add some Eastern flair
With an ever-increasing number of people discovering the benefits of ancient Asian practices, such as yoga, various martial arts and meditation, it is no wonder that there has been an increasing demand to bring this Asian-flavoured serenity and calm into living areas as well.

As a result, Asian-inspired décor and architecture have become fashionable, especially when there is a subtle fusion between Eastern and Western design philosophies. Says Jasmin Kraneveldt, director of leading sanitaryware supplier, Bathroom Bizarre: "The clean and uncluttered designs, as well as the nature-inspired inspiration for Asian-themes, lend themselves particularly well to bathroom design and layout."

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