Web Bytes – 824

15 Apr 2021 12:00 am

This week: Advancing a real estate sector that embodies ethics and credibility; SIU probes how master of the high court fleeces the poor; Ensuring the home buying process is not ‘slow, complex and opaque’; and retrenchment and cancelling a lease.

Advancing a real estate sector that embodies ethics, credibility
South Africa - Biz Community
The real estate and property sector is constantly encountering challenges, and it comes as no surprise when issues around ethics and credibility are brought into question. Over the 23 years since Snooks Estates has been operational, we have found a wide range of elements which have had a direct negative impact on most real estate agencies, more especially within the environments in which we operate, such as Soweto and Johannesburg South. This includes some real estate agents eliciting their own deals on the side whilst still employed at an agency.

Such acts hamper the growth of most real estate agents and some of them could have been a lot further in their careers, however, it seems in some circles we have become our own worst enemies. Even with our skills and potential, a massive gap occurs between best practice and work delivery for clients who unfortunately receive the negative end of the stick.
Biz Community

SIU probes how master of the high court fleeces the poor
South Africa - Mail and Guardian
While the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) delves into dozens of allegations of fraud, corruption and misconduct against officials at the master of the high court, many families have been left destitute after the death of their loved ones.

After years of complaints, it was only last year that President Cyril Ramaphosa, working with Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, issued a proclamation empowering the SIU to investigate.

The scale of the investigations is huge and saw 15 master of the high court offices in the nine provinces shut down — the first time in the history of that office — to allow the SIU to copy court files and mirror hard drives to collect thousands of documents in a bid to get to the bottom of the allegations.

The investigation is still ongoing. The Mail & Guardian, with funding from the Henry Nxumalo grant for investigative journalism, has also examined the problems
Mail and Guardian

Ensuring the home buying process is not ‘slow, complex and opaque’
UK - Financial Reporter
How would you describe the home buying process?

Here’s how the Law Commission does in outlining home buying as one of its potential areas for law reform – ‘can be slow, complex and opaque’.

Clearly that’s not the case for every single purchase but when you have the statutory body responsible for the law calling the process in this way, then we probably all need to sit up and listen.

Now one of the arguments might be that the industry as a whole, and the bodies charged with overseeing and developing it, have been late to the party here, and that the ways and means for ensuring the process is not ‘slow, complex and opaque’ have not been taken up as quickly as they should.

Historically, efforts to improve the process have either been met with wholesale resistance and/or not had the courage of their convictions, or ultimately failed to recognise the true problems at the heart of why we have average transaction times of over 20 weeks.
Financial Reporter

Retrenchment and cancelling a lease - the legal implications
South Africa - PropertyWheel
With the dramatic increase in sudden retrenchments brought on by the economic effects of Covid-19, tenants are asking are unsure of the legal implications when forced to cancel their leases.

“Sadly, the latest official unemployment rate stands at 32.5%” says Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property. “We have seen an increase in the number of tenants cancelling their lease agreements before term due to financial hardship”.

Cilna Steyn, Managing Director of SSLR Incorporated, notes that the early cancellation of a lease agreement is regulated by legislation, specifically the Consumer Protection Act and the Rental Housing Act.

“If a tenant wishes to end a fixed-term lease agreement during the fixed term, this constitutes a cancellation in terms of Section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act,” she explains. “The tenant (as the consumer) can cancel the fixed-term agreement by giving the landlord (the supplier) twenty business days’ notice. The landlord has the right to claim a reasonable cancellation penalty from the tenant. Even if the lease agreement is silent on this, the landlord may claim the full damages suffered within certain legal limitations” .
PropertyWheel