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What happens when a property lease is cancelled early?
IHPC - South Africa
If a tenant cancels his lease before the end date of the contract, the landlord can decide to either a) accept this cancellation or b) treat it as a repudiation of the contract and claim for damages, says Michael Bauer, managing director of IHPC estate agents. If the landlord decides to claim for damages, the tenant is likely to lose his deposit but can also be sued for the remainder of the rental due for the lease period, said Bauer.

The tenant is, however, able to receive his full deposit refund (if there are no damages) and be released of any claims of future rental if the landlord agrees to just cancel the existing lease and finds a replacement tenant immediately, he said.

While the Consumer Protection Act is often quoted in cases of whether a landlord is able to claim the full rental for the remainder of the lease, it has to be remembered that although the tenant is given the choice of terminating his lease, giving 20 working days' notice, the Act also says that the landlord is able to recover the costs of cancellation and is able to charge a "reasonable" penalty. The term "reasonable" is subjective in that it would be reasonable to one person to pay one month's rent whereas another might say it will take three to six months to find a good tenant, but the landlord has to prove his claim by providing invoices and proof of advertising, said Bauer.

How to home stage your property
Knight Frank - South Africa
Many of the properties Knight Frank market internationally employ the use of a professional home stager to help the seller make their homes as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Home staging aims to present the home in a light where the potential buyer could picture himself living there and in his mind ?see? his personal belongings fitting into rooms, without too much effort.

Professional home staging in South Africa, however, has not taken off. This is probably because sellers are unable to justify the cost for an average priced home, says Matt Mercer of Knight Frank Residential SA. Sellers should realise though, that spending a nominal sum, possibly R2 000, could make a difference of R100 000 more achieved on the selling price, and assist in selling the home in a shorter time.
How to home stage your property

Property and inheritance: making the right cal for yourself and your heirs
Rawson - South Africa
One of the things all human beings have in common is the fact that none of us are going to live forever. It’s not a comfortable thought at any age, but it can be even more stressful as we approach our later years and are faced with the realities of planning for the day we’re no longer around.

For many people, the focus of these years becomes about protecting the legacy they will leave behind – the savings and investments that will be their last gift to the family they spent their lives nurturing. Sadly, this often comes at the expense of their own quality of life and, ironically, can have the opposite of the desired effect on their assets – especially when it comes to property.

“Unless it’s held by a trust, property is not an easy asset to deal with as part of an estate,” says Elia Theocharis, a sales agent serving the Bishopscourt, Claremont Upper and Upper Kenilworth areas for the Rawson Property Group’s Constantia franchise. “You can’t divide up the bricks of a property between multiple heirs, and you also can’t accurately predict its future value to use as part of an equitable distribution plan.”

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