Property 24/10 - 290

Why property will still be a safe haven in 2016
Amid extreme stock market volatility, political upheavals and plummeting oil and commodity prices, private investors - big and small - are finding a safe haven in property, and this bodes well for the real estate market in 2016 according to Bill Rawson, chairman of the Rawson Property Group, who says at the moment, investors in South Africa and all around the world are avidly seeking out ‘copper-bottom’ assets that are more likely to hold their value in the face of major social changes or economic shocks.

“For many, property is a known quantity, a familiar and reliable place to put your money when everything else is in flux, he says.

“After all, although real estate prices may grow more slowly in some years than in others, they have only declined or failed to keep up with inflation twice in the past 30 years. And in South Africa, we have the added advantage, currently, of the low rand exchange rate that makes residential property here an attractive proposition for foreign investors and developers.”

Who is liable for weather damage - landlord or tenant?
It is undeniable that dramatic and strange weather patterns have been on the increase. Not only have we seen the highest temperatures ever recorded in some areas, but massive hail storms and flash floods as well.

This is all happening while other parts of the country continue to experience severe drought and devastating fires according to Managing Director of Tenant Profile Network, Michelle Dickens, who says during extreme weather cycles, physical damage to a property can be unavoidable.

But is an owner or tenant liable for this kind of damage?

“The risk and liability involved with immovable property will always be that of the owner. The owner is thus liable for all damages caused by 'vis major',” says Dickens.

She says ‘vis major’ is a legal term referring to a superior force, which is outside of human control. It includes acts of nature or acts of God such as lightning, earthquake, flood or violent storms.

UCT students seek to rehabilitate the environment
The social complexities of a developing country cannot be ignored when blending all the ingredients that go towards achieving world-class architectural design that has a profound sense of place and is relevant to its environment.

Consequently, innovation is an essential attribute for modern architects as they employ their technical skills to create aesthetically appealing and functional built structures that will endure into the future.

This is according to Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, ahead of the 29th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, which have been held annually for almost three decades to encourage and reward innovation and technical excellence amongst the country's most promising architectural students.

Why landlords must communicate with tenants
There are various kinds of tenants landlords may encounter, from amenable and reasonable, to nightmarish and deplorable according to Grant Rea, rental specialist at RE/MAX Living, who says one thing is clear, regardless of the nature of your lease agreement, clear and precise communication with your tenant is critical to the outcome of your tenancy arrangement.

Rea says since communication with your tenant can ‘make or break’ a tenancy, it is vital that the landlord considers what aspects need to be highlighted for the tenant before the tenancy begins. Keep in mind that the motto of every landlord should be ‘fair, firm and flexible’.

“Merging under unreasonable initial demands by the tenant leans the entire lease towards one of excessive leniency, and the tenant taking advantage of the landlord’s generosity with untimely payments and extra ‘uncalled for’ general demands,” says Rea.

Tax season must-knows: Renting out and selling property
It is that time of the year again, the start of a new tax season and time to start getting your documents together and also planning for the next financial year. To most of us, this topic is somewhat confusing, completely intimidating and downright uninteresting according to Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, who says there are reasons for property owners to be interested in taxes.

Do you know about all the benefits there are for owning a property, and how greatly it could influence your tax deductions in a positive way?

Unfortunately, Hutchison says paying a home loan on one property, proclaiming it to be your main residence and not owning any other property or earning any additional income from your home, means that you will not necessarily benefit from any tax exemption or cash flow gains from personal income tax claiming every year-end.

Six things not to say when you're house hunting
House hunting can be one of the most enjoyable parts of buying a home, but did you know that your behaviour “on the hunt” can directly affect your chances of having an offer accepted?

It’s easy to forget that while you’re investigating the strengths and weaknesses of a property, the seller and their agent are investigating your strengths and weaknesses as a buyer, too.

This is according to Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group, who says it’s perfectly normal to want to chat about the pros and cons of a property during a viewing, but don’t be fooled into thinking that nobody is paying attention to what you say.

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