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Is technology all it’s cracked up to be?
Mortgage Strategy - UK
Good technology can help conveyancers provide a better service to brokers but it is not a panacea
It’s no exaggeration to say that technology has transformed the way we do business, in the mortgage market and beyond. It makes things happen more quickly, it’s efficient and it gives us an audit trail of our work, which is crucial in regulated markets.

Technology is also changing conveyancing, but it isn’t happening across the board. In what is still a cottage industry, with the vast majority of business being conducted by small high street law firms, online capability hasn’t been fully exploited.

It’s the larger conveyancing specialists that have really invested in technology, helping brokers to refer clients quickly and easily, and making sure that you are kept fully up to date at all times, so you don’t need to spend time phoning up to check the latest state of play on your cases.
Mortgage Strategy 2013

Local authorities' rulings give objectors infinite scope to delay and often do away with worthwhile property developments
Rawson - South Africa
Time and again, says Paul Henry, Managing Director of Rawson Developers, thoroughly worthwhile property developments, which would enhance the values of other homes in the areas for which they are proposed, have been delayed and repeatedly changed in response to the public’s objections – until, quite often, the point is reached where they are no longer viable and have to be abandoned.

“The recent Tramway Trust development in Sea Point illustrates only too well how beneficial developments can be so delayed by politics, infighting and objections that eventually they end up with huge debts and no prospect of redeeming them,” said Henry.

In the Tramway’s development, well publicised by the Cape Town press, 34 Tramway Trust claimants, whose families were evicted from their Sea Point homes in the 1960s, were granted a 754 m2 site at no cost by the City of Cape Town. This followed a successful application for land restitution and the remaining 71 claimants accepted a compensatory payment of R17,500 each.

Calling in a bank and a developer to provide funds and expertise, the new owners came up with an initial plan to build 42 single residential units. This was then changed to provide 87 units, and further discussions resulted in a proposal for 75 luxury units, priced between R2,5 million and R12 million each. However, the project never got off the ground and now the trust is selling the land to pay their debts.

Selling power: Joburg landlord gets a shock on ruling
Iol - South Africa
Johannesburg landlords have been warned that they are not allowed to profit from electricity sales and they are not allowed to pass on City Power's service charge of R385 to tenants.

In a landmark ruling last week, the Gauteng Rental Housing Tribunal found that landlords charging tenants an electricity "service charge" violated the Gauteng Unfair Practices Regulations and the practice amounts to a profit that they were not entitled to make.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) represented 80 tenants of a block of flats in Hillbrow called Plettenberg who were being charged R385 each for the electricity service fee. This meant the landlord, Young Min Shan, was raking in a profit of R27 000 a month.

Rode Conferences 2013
Rode - South Africa
First-rate line-up of speakers to address the many uncertainties and opportunities facing the property industry at upcoming Rode events
Property economists Rode & Associates’ annual events are to be held in August this year in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Durban. The central theme of these events will be “A SWOT analysis of the economy and the property market”.

The one-day Rode Conference at Spier Estate, near Stellenbosch, will take place on Tuesday, 20 August. The event will start with a presentation by Rudolf Gouws who is a consultant economist to Rand Merchant Bank and also a member of its board. His topic of discussion will be “Economic prospects”. Rudolf is also an honorary professor of economics at the University of Stellenbosch.

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