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Tenants not liable: Ekurhuleni Germiston punished for unlawful disconnection
MunicipalDebt - South Africa
The Court has recently released a devastating Judgment against Ekurhuleni Municipality. The Courts were so disdainful of the Municipality’s conduct that they decided to sanction the Municipality by way of a punitive cost order.

The Municipality chose to interpret its powers unreasonably and effectively terminated the electricity to an innocent tenant. The Municipality attempted to read its By-laws that a landlord and tenant are jointly and severally liable. However, the Municipality did not follow its own By-laws properly and attempted to effectively pressure the tenant into paying for the landlord’s debt by disconnecting the electricity accordingly during April 2015.

The Municipality opposed the application which came up for hearing before Judge Twala. After the learned Judge heard the matter, relief was granted to the tenant. Ekurhuleni Municipality decided to take the matter on appeal.

Check the body corporate rules
ReMax - South Africa
Due to the lifestyle and security benefits they offer, sectional title units are a very popular choice among South Africa buyers, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He adds that another drawcard to these types of properties is that they are often more affordable than freehold homes, making them the ideal purchase for first-time buyers.

“There are several benefits to purchasing a sectional title unit such as the fact that they offer a more communal lifestyle and generally require less maintenance on the owner’s part. This type of property has proven to be a highly sought after since its introduction and often outsells other types of properties in many regions throughout the country. Those who purchase sectional title homes can enjoy living in a secure, communal development, without having to pay premium prices,” says Goslett.

He notes that another aspect that has attracted buyers to sectional title units is the fact that the costs of basic services such as water and electricity are shared. Goslett says that because the costs are shared, residents in sectional title homes will pay less for these services than their counterparts living in freehold homes.

Is your landlord liable to provide security and, if so, how much?
IolProperty - South Africa
The Rental Housing Act and consequent unfair practices regulations are clear on the landlord's responsibility to offer a property that is "reasonably fit" for the purpose for which it has been let.

A landlord should also ensure that the property is habitable, says Grant Rea, certified residential rentals specialist at Remax Living. However, is providing security like burglar bars, perimeter sensors and alarms an obligation of the landlord and can tenants reasonably expect this?

According to Rea, a matter that often arises in tenancies is the level of security offered by a landlord in terms of the fixtures of a property rented to a tenant.

"On face value, it would not be an obligation of a landlord to offer more than doors and windows that adequately lock and close. However, in this day and age with escalating domestic crimes and break-ins, it may be deemed reasonable for tenants to request at least a security gate or access control measures," says Rea.

The decline of stigma - selling commercial property by auction
Rawson - South Africa
We are, for the most part, fairly traditional beings with preconceived notions regarding many facets of life. Selling a property on auction is one of these. Many myths abound regarding property auctions which are generally believed by most people, yet there has been a distinct rise in the popularity of auctions as a means of sale for both commercial and residential properties.

The belief that a property is sold on auction only if it is distressed is no longer the case. “These ideas are for the most part no longer true, given the changes in society and development of trends,” says Jason Gregoriades, a member of the Rawson Property Group’s Commercial Business Development Team in Cape Town. “Customers are now radically driven by the need for convenience and time saving,” he continues, “which is amply supplied by means of property auctions.”

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