The year that was - 2012

The big story of the year for us was undoubtedly the launch of the redesigned GhostDigest website with an interface which is simpler, cleaner and easier to read, search and post comments on.  Casting my eye over the 360 or so other articles published in the GhostDigest during 2012, a number spring to prominence and are worthy of a revisit before PCs are switched off and holidays embarked upon.

This year we conducted our usual survey into conveyancing - Conveyancing 2012 which yielded some illuminating results, while the graphs in Lodgements vis-a-vis rejections clearly hit a nerve. 

The close association between the GhostDigest and continues with this weekly round-up of the ten best or so stories from South Africa's leading property website, thereby allowing us to broaden our coverage of property related news.

A number of stories initiated some lively responses and debate amongst conveyancers this year, the most recent being the introduction of electric fence certificates, see Electric fence certificates.  An interesting problem was raised in One scheme two Deeds Registries and an answer was given to a Covering mortgage bond question. In May, Ann Bertelsmann brought our attention to a Conveyancing scam doing the rounds, while a question asked about whether it is fraud to artificially increase the purchase price of a property to include transfer and bond registration costs in Inflated price gave rise to a number of comments and answers. A spanner in the works highlighted the problems of not keeping a companies secretarial matters up to date.

Clarification as to what information is necessary and which alterations and errors are acceptable to Registrars in transfer duty receipts was given in Transfer duty receipts.  Estate agents in Responsible marketing were warned to be fair and responsible in their marketing otherwise they could be exposing themselves to claims in terms of the CPA. In Description, one of the many informative and thought provoking articles by  Allen West, he discussed the huge impact of the new Companies Act on the description of companies in deeds and documents lodged at deeds registries for registration and in Legal certainty for habitatio he submitted that one cannot register a habitatio without the procurement of a diagram of that portion of the land on which the dwelling is erected.  

Here undoubtedly the biggest story of the year was the launch of SARS' modernised Transfer Duty system in August and which became mandatory from 1 October - see SARS Transfer Duty System launched. In this vein Cheryl Claassen considered the practical effects for conveyancers, estate agents, buyers and sellers in E-Filing amendments.  Payment Solutions meanwhile offers an efficient, low risk (to the attorney) and cost effective process to facilitate the payment of the seller’s rates and taxes on his behalf.  Go Mobile with Property24 saw Property24's launch of a free mobi-site service and  "Find an attorney" is flying covered the successful uptake of the (Real Estate Agencies of South Africa) REASA panel attorney pages on Property24.  Finally ISIS showed that e-conveyancing is not for the faint hearted. 

People and News
Definitely GhostConvey's Connect. Collaborate. Communicate Roadshow held across the country in October at which Mari van Wyk spoke about Communicating Electronically with key stakeholders in your property transactions via GhostConvey 2012; Colin Day spoke about The Key to Collaboration in identifying property; andTheo Mseka and JP Farhina spoke about Connecting through Property24. A summary of their presentations can be found here

Sectional Titles
Here articles of interest include Developer's powers in which Allen West opened a can of worms when he submitted that developers cannot subdivide, consolidate or extend any section, or add to the common property, before the establishment of the body corporate and in More than one piece he discussed the opening of a sectional title scheme on more than one piece of land.  In Extension of a section M A Grové asked how it is possible to extend a section without increasing the floor area.

Web Bytes
Continued to highlighted property news with emphasis on the economics of property as found in amongst other publications, FNB's Property Barometers, Absa's House Price Indices, and the Rode report. 

Practice management
In Fraud - managing your risk Kuben Naidoo wrote that not being a victim of fraud depends on your people, your processes, your systems and you.  Earlier this month we published details of the many courses LEAD will be holding next year for office staff who want a thorough understanding of the law firm environment, procedures and systems - see Admin and corporate training for more details.

Registrar's Circulars
We introduced this new section to make it easier for conveyancers to access the Chief Registrar's Circulars. 

Law Reports
Three cases are worthy of comment here. Dubs v Dubs highlighted the potential pitfalls of joint property ownership between (married and unmarried) couples;  Yonda investments brought home the point that failure to comply strictly with our law’s formal requirements will sink your sale while Ngwenyama concerned the interpretation of s 7(6) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act and raised a conveyancing question.

As a Christmas stocking filler The Practitioners Guide to Conveyancing and Notarial Practice -2013 update by Allen West is a good idea. 

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