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12 Jul 2018

THE RISK OF CYBER FRAUD IS VERY REAL

Cyber fraud is now a harsh reality of life for us, as the criminal hackers focus with even more precision on stealing the large sums of money that flow in the property industry.

Hackers are targeting purchasers of properties who are paying deposits, transfer costs, or the balance of the purchase price, but the attacks are not limited to this area.

The criminals hack into email accounts, intercept legitimate emails which contain banking details, amend these banking details and send the emails on. If the client is not vigilant, the client then pays into the criminal’s account.

To counter these attacks, we have now implemented a revised system to make provision for our purchasers to be given our trust account banking details on 4 occasions, in three ways, so that they can cross-reference and ensure that the account details are correct. We are also highlighting the risks of cyber fraud to make the clients even more aware, so that they can protect themselves.

As an estate agent you can add an additional layer of security to the process by doing the following:

  • Please do not send any email requests for the deposit to be paid into our trust account. Your email account might have been hacked. Allow us to do this using our super secure system.
  • Please warn the purchaser of the risks involved in making large payments via EFT on the strength of emails that might be hacked.
  • Please tell the purchaser that we will implement a 4-stage verification process to give the bank details to them and tell them to expect up to 4 communications from us on the matter of banking details.

We take our responsibility to safeguard our clients very seriously and we trust that this will give you increased peace of mind when doing business with us.

Deon Welz
Miltons Matsemela Inc

12 Jul 2018

CONVEYANCING FEE INCREASE

Kindly note that the recommended fees for transfers and bond registrations, as issued by the Law Society, will increase by approximately 5% on all new instructions received as from 1 June 2018. (Note : This is the conveyancing fee and not transfer duty which is paid to SARS)

The new fees will be as follows:

On a transfer or a bond of (for example) R1 800 000, the recommended fee is currently R22 800 excluding VAT; miscellaneous expenses; transfer duty and so forth. The new fee on such a bond or transfer will be R23 910 ex VAT etc.

Our mobile application will be updated to reflect the new fees.

12 Jul 2018

CASE LAW UPDATE: A RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL (PRE-EMPTION) IN A LEASE

A right of pre-emption is a contractual right, affording the holder the first opportunity to purchase property, before it can be offered to another buyer. In other words, it is a right of first refusal. The right usually exists for an agreed period.

A recent Constitutional Court judgment, Mokone v Tassos Properties CC and Another 2017 [ZACC] 25, dealt with a right of pre-emption that was contained in an agreement of lease. One of the questions that was answered in this case was whether the period for a right of pre-emption in a written lease agreement was automatically extended when the lease was extended.

The facts of the case were the following: In 2004 Ms Mokone, the tenant, entered into a written 12-month lease agreement with the landlord, Tassos Properties. The agreement granted the tenant a right of pre-emption. The parties thereafter orally renewed the lease for another year and later extended the agreement for a further period until 2014, which renewal was endorsed on the front page of the lease agreement.

During the period of the lease, the landlord sold the property to a 3rd party without first offering it to the tenant, who only became aware of the sale in 2010. The tenant then notified the landlord that she wanted to exercise her right of pre-emption and offered payment of the same purchase price. She asserted that her right of pre-emption was automatically extended along with the lease and that the sale by the landlord to the third-party buyer was therefore invalid and able to be set aside.

The landlord argued that when the lease was extended, only those terms essential to the lease were carried forward, and that the right of pre-emption therefore lapsed when the initial period of the lease expired. The Constitutional Court however did not agree. The Court held that the contract in its entirety had been extended, including the right of pre-emption. We must now accept that this is the law. All ancillary agreements contained in a lease will also be extended with the lease unless specifically stated otherwise.

As an aside, the Court also confirmed that to be valid, a right of pre-emption need not comply with the formalities prescribed in the Alienation of Land Act, i.e, it need not be in writing. A verbal agreement granting a right of pre-emption will therefore also be binding and enforceable.

What do we learn from this? If you are an agent, and you are selling a property that is subject to a lease, make sure you check the lease carefully before marketing the property. You need to look for pitfalls like rights of pre-emption so as to protect both your seller and any prospective buyers from the consequences of overlooking a clause like this. If you are a landlord or a tenant, be aware of your rights and obligations as contained in the first lease agreement you signed. This will be carried forward to future renewal agreements unless you sign a new contract that differs, or unless you expressly exclude the clause in your addendum to extend.

Deon Welz and Storm Barry
June 2018

12 Jul 2018

COUNCIL APPROVES AMENDMENTS TO WATER BY-LAW

This is a MUST read for anyone who owns property that falls within the City of Cape Town!

Council met on 31 May 2018 and voted in favour of certain far reaching and important changes to the Water By-Law. We are awaiting confirmation from the City on when exactly these changes will be implemented. Herewith a summary of the most important changes in as much as it will affect developers and property owners:

  1. Landlords must now keep record of consumption for each residential unit in a multi-tenant complex/block of flats, and inform the City if contraventions of water restrictions are taking place – this means water meters will have to now be installed for every unit it seems.
  2. New developments must install water conservation and demand management systems, or alternative water systems, and these must be approved by the City before development proceeds.
  3. No irrigation of gardens is allowed between 09:00 and 18:00, including from boreholes and well-points. Previously no irrigation was allowed 10:00 and 16:00, and did not include borehole water.
  4. Maximum capacity for toilet cisterns and shower head flow: Toilets are now only allowed a maximum 6 litre cistern volume (down from 9 litres), and water from shower heads must flow out at no more than 7 litres per minute (down from 9.5 litres/minute). Only when it comes time to replace toilets and showerheads due to age or malfunction must new parts that conform with the revised standards be fitted.
  5. All pools must be fitted with a cover to avoid evaporation when not in use.
  6. All automatic flushing cisterns fitted to urinals must however be replaced immediately with either manually operated systems or properly maintained non-manual apparatus which causes the flushing device to operate only after each use.
  7. A prepayment meter is now an option, in addition to the WMD, as a Council water meter. While this technology is not yet at a stage of development for uptake by the City, having this item of legislation in the By-law allows the City to make use of it in the event that it becomes appropriate and necessary.

Kind Regards
Robert Krautkramer
Director
Miltons Matsemela Inc

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