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Property syndication rules coming soon
Business Report - South Africa
The trade and industry department will soon publish draft regulations to control the conduct of companies involved in public property syndication investments.

Ebrahim Mohamed, the chief director of the office of consumer protection in the department's consumer and corporate regulation division, said on Friday that the draft regulations would be published in the Government Gazette, allowing 30 days for public comment.

The department hoped to publish the final regulations by the end of March. Attempts to clean up conduct in the industry follow an investigation by the department's consumer affairs committee into property syndication scams in October 2004.
Business Report

Become your own estate agent
Moneyweb - South Africa
Buying a home is one of the most crucial investment decisions that individuals have to grapple with, hence the need for buyers to tread carefully before committing themselves.

But most prospective homebuyers are not familiar with the do's and don'ts of buying a house. To navigate the complex maze of home buying, the uninitiated often enlist the services of an estate agent to guide them through the process.

However, calling on the expertise of an estate agent can have its problems, as some prospective homebuyers have discovered.

As a result, some buyers are electing to go the private buying route, but according to Berry Everrit, of Chas Everrit International, this road can be bumpy.

Professional negligence: under the magnifying glass
LegalWeek - UK
The office for legal complaints will transform the way consumers can seek redress; this regulatory shake-up, combined with a change in the way courts are viewing poor service from the legal profession, will shape a new environment for solicitors accused of negligence. Barney Micklem and Katherine Rees report

Agatha Christie started it. Read any of her whodunnits up to the moment when a solicitor arrives on the scene, and you instantly know who the crook is.

Consumers are also not particularly keen. A quote from Which? reads: "People complain… time and time again about the second-rate service they receive from solicitors, often during stressful times. Other professions cannot get away with this sort of behaviour, and it is time for the Government to rein in this complaint-riddled industry."

Court ends Bloubergstrand battle
Iol - South Africa
The Cape High Court has ended a battle between neighbours living near the sea at Bloubergstrand after the City of Cape Town had approved building plans for one of the properties that would block the view from the other.

The court has ordered that the council's approval of the plans be set aside and has directed the council to observe its obligations to make the neighbours comply with the height restriction provisions of the Town Planning Regulations.

The order follows an application by the trustees of the Reenen Muller Trust, which owns a property which has a view of the sea. The trustees claimed that its neighbour, situated between the trust's property and the Atlantic Ocean, planned to build upwards.

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