How estate agents can combat fraud and money laundering risks
The property sector is often misused by criminals, as it presents options in which to hide the source, disposal and use of their illicit proceeds.
This can pose serious threats to South Africa’s financial system. Due to the nature of the industry, estate agents are identified as being vulnerable to abuse by criminals for purposes of money laundering and terrorist financing, says the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), which is calling on Estate Agents to continue to adopt a risk based approach, and to report any suspicious concerns, as require.
"Estate agents can help mitigate the risk of being misused by criminals by fulfilling their FIC Act obligations while at the same time, strengthening their sector. In compliance with these obligations, estate agents must gather sufficient information regarding their clients and their transactions, and where required, report certain information to the FIC."
Weak office market will 'adapt to risks and evolve to be value-packed'
The exact impact of COVID-19 on offices in South Africa is a key point of debate, but their relevance for the future of business isn’t - with industry experts stating "offices will continue to be an essential part of doing business during and post the COVID-19 pandemic".
South Africa's office market has seen high vacancy rates for a while now and it has only been exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is according to the Rode Report 2020 for Quarter 2, which shows that office rentals have seen their weakest year-on-year changes since 2013 at 1% and lower than the 4% seen in the first quarter of 2020.
“Offices are critical to employee productivity and building a successful corporate culture. This forms part of an effective talent retention and attraction strategy. Furthermore, creativity, skill development and problem-solving is vastly improved through collaboration in groups which is best achieved in an office environment,” so explains Naeem Tilly, Head of Research at Sesfikile Capital.
The conduct rules causing the most headaches in Sectional Title Schemes
Community scheme living can be challenging as it often involves people from diverse backgrounds and with different personal preferences. Issues that become a point of contention involve noise disturbance, the keeping of pets, parking problems and refuse disposal, to name only a few.
The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act (STSMA) has prescribed rules known as conduct rules, which schemes can apply to curb some of these issues. The Act also allows for schemes to add or amend these rules. This is especially helpful considering schemes are not alike and certain rules may not be relevant in their prescribed area, advises Stonewood Property Management.
So how do schemes change their conduct rules?
Changes to these rules can be proposed to the members at a special general meeting. For the meeting to commence a quorum of 33.33% of the registered members must be present in person or by proxy.
Leisure rentals dealt 'flip-flop' blow in tightened Level 3 restrictions
The new regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday evening, July 12 now excludes hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities and resorts and guest houses from operating for leisure purposes.
Many within the Tourism industry are at their wits end, with the prospect of some 1.5-million individuals facing business closure and job losses. Tourism Business Counsel of South Africa (TBCSA) CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa has questioned the logic of the latest raft of measures announced as infection rates soar across the country.