Property 24/10 - 277

Proposed changes to SA housing subsidy structure
It might sound like a logical conclusion to suggest giving previously disadvantaged people a housing subsidy will empower them, and that’s exactly the idea that the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) is putting forward according to Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, who says the IRR is suggesting a radical change in the way housing subsidies are allocated.

According to a statement by the IRR, in the past 21 years, the State has provided more than 2.5 million houses and a further 1.2 million serviced sites. Despite this, the housing backlog has grown from 1.5 million units in 1994 to 2.1 million units today. In addition, the number of informal settlements has expanded from 300 in 1994 to the present 2 225.

Swain says he believes that the issues surrounding government’s housing project are well known.

Transformation plans on cards in Gauteng
Gauteng government leaders say plans to transform, modernise and reindustrialise the Gauteng region are on track.

“Over the past 16 months, good progress has been made in harmonising the plans of the province and municipalities, and a common perspective on the government priorities is emerging across the Gauteng City Region.

“The Gauteng City Region is becoming a reality and there is closer collaboration between the provincial government and all municipalities in the province,” said Gauteng Provincial Government spokesperson, Thabo Masebe.

Estate agents need not wait for SSETA to write exams
The process for estate agents to qualify and register as real estate practitioners is a multi-tiered and somewhat complicated process that has had to be followed in order to reach the final goal according to Annette Evans, regional general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, who says for estate agents to register for their Professional Designation Exam (PDE) qualification, they first need to be found competent by their training service provider.

Once this is done, she says they have to receive confirmation of competence from the Services Sector Education Training Authority (SSETA), and will then receive clearance from the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) that they are registered and qualified to write the final exam.

However, what is happening is that it is taking up to two years in some cases for SSETA to issue competency certificates, and the EAAB has stepped in to provide an intermediary solution: they will now accept a letter of confirmation instead of a certificate.

What you need to know about the due diligence clause
Due diligence clauses are common features in commercial property sales contracts these days, and yet there can be a lot of confusion around how they impact the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved.

The verification of building plans is a prime example of a popular component in due diligence clauses that can cause a lot of dissension if not fully understood according to Jason Gregoriades, a member of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division, who says to understand where responsibilities for building plan verification fall under a due diligence clause, you need to understand what the clause is, and what it’s designed to do.

Can't afford your home loan repayments? Do this
Despite our best efforts, we all hit bumps in the road at times and financial ups and downs can’t always be predicted. So what happens when, as a homeowner, you find yourself under unexpected financial strain and your monthly home loan repayments suddenly become more than you can handle?

According to Mike van Alphen, national manager for Rawson Finance, this kind of situation happens all the time.

“As hard as banks try to ensure that home loan holders will be able to meet their repayments, people get retrenched, they have unexpected medical expenses, the interest rates rise - there are all kinds of things that can affect financial circumstances that nobody can predict,” he says.

Top tips for getting your rental deposit back
Tenants in South Africa currently pay anywhere between one and three months’ rent as a damages deposit, but are often unsure what they need to do to get it back when their lease ends.

“Although deposits are often used to cover rental defaults or unpaid utility bills, their primary purpose is to protect landlords against damage to the property,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of national property management company Trafalgar.

“Tenants need to be aware of this, and since they may have quite a large sum of money at stake, they also need to know how to avoid being penalised for damage that may have been done by others, or may just be due to wear-and-tear, which is the landlord’s own responsibility.”

Renting out property? Set the right price
Landlords need to guard against pricing themselves out of the market as rental prices slow in tandem with the movement out of a sellers’ property market according to Lorraine-Marie Dellbridge, rentals manager for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Southern Suburbs, Noordhoek and False Bay, who says in 2014 rental rates were already hitting a ceiling, but this year they’ve exploded through roof. “We are finding that many properties, especially at the upper end of the market, are now sitting empty for months,” she says. “This essentially means that the landlord is losing money as the property is not earning anything while it is empty, so over a year, it will yield a much smaller return than if the property had been rented out immediately at a realistic, market-related rental.”

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