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11 February 2021 00:00
This week: Cross-industry survey reveals digital and remote working welcomed by property professionals; reducing the risk of property fraud; and using the spoliation remedy to protect against unlawful dispossession.
Cross-industry survey reveals digital and remote working welcomed by property professionals
UK - Todays Conveyancer
A survey of over 600 property professionals has revealed that more acceptance of digital and remote working has been welcomed by the industry and recognised as an outstanding positive of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is just one of many revelations featured in the new ‘Thriving in a pandemic’ report published by tmgroup and mio, which also reflects on the challenges that have stretched the industry to its limits.
Carried out across December 2020 and January 2021, survey participants – including residential conveyancers, real estate professionals, estate agents, developers, surveyors, and more – shared their thoughts on the lessons that reshaped the property market, and how they expect them to continue to change the face of property transactions in 2021 and beyond.
The research also gathered key insight into the individual impact of these industry changes, which further reiterate the positive feeling towards the wider adoption of digital and remote working, including: “It’s been very challenging, but amazing how much can be done remotely.” (Residential conveyancer) “Working from home and the use of technology have been positive factors for me. Hopefully the technological advances will continue to leap forward in 2021.” (Real estate professional) “We’ve saved a lot of time and money – especially on travel costs – thanks to the collective shift to using technology instead of face-to-face meetings.” (Estate agent) “2020 has been a great opportunity to embrace change, not just within our firm but also the industry. For example, we’ve gone from paper files to full electronic working.” (Residential conveyancer)
Reducing the risk of property fraud
South Africa - PropertyWheel
While businesses struggle to make ends meet, pay salaries, and keep operations afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many are facing increased activity from fraudsters intent on taking advantage of the situation. The conveyancing industry, historically a target for unscrupulous operators due to the large sums of money they hold in trust for transfer between buyer and seller, will not have been exempt from this increased interest from swindlers.
Ongoing paper-based processes in the property sector have always exposed it to risks and – with role players now leaning more strongly into digitisation due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions – there is a heightened need to ensure processes are fool-proof.
“The digitisation of the conveyancing industry has resulted in many wins for the sector and its clients. Those who were already working on electronic property transfer platforms during our lockdown have managed to continue to operate as normal and weather the Covid-19 storm far better than those who have been slower to embrace digitisation,” says Mellony Ramalho, Sales and Marketing Director at LexisNexis South Africa, a company that provides the property and legal sector with secure tools that expedite the property transfer process.
Protection from unlawful dispossession using the spoliation remedy
South Africa - De Rebus
The year 2020 will remain indelibly inscribed on the collective memory of the human race. It was a year of unpredictable developments, unexpected surprises and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While some of COVID-19’s curve balls might have come at us along unprecedented trajectories, some things do not change. Some tenants may conveniently have wanted to evade paying their rent and some lessors – frustrated by the delay with regard to evictions – have wanted to cut off the tenant’s electricity or water. But, before they do something drastic, they should think carefully about their actions.
Spoliation is the wrongful deprivation of another’s right of possession. ‘The aim of spoliation is to prevent self-help’ (Ivanov v North West Gambling Board and Others 2012 (6) SA 67 (SCA)). It seeks to prevent people from taking the law into their own hands. The cause for possession is irrelevant.
Our law requires that you approach a court for assistance; self-help is not an option. So if you remove the tenant’s access to the leased premises without a court order, you face having to immediately restore possession to the tenant via a ‘spoliation order’.