February 2020 | Does an Expired Lease Automatically Continue Month-to-Month? At What Rental?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2020-02-01 at 00:00
What happens if your fixed-term lease expires without an extension agreement? Is there any lease in place at all? If so what terms and conditions apply? What rental is payable? We discuss the answers to those questions with reference to the Rental Housing Act and to a recent High Court judgment in which a landlord, in claiming damages from an ex-tenant, relied on a verbal agreement to increase rental after expiry of a written lease. We end off with some thoughts on what your lease s...
January 2020 | Before You Start a New Small Business in 2020 …
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2020-01-01 at 00:00
Whatever 2020 may bring us in the way of opportunities and challenges, starting a new business will always require careful planning. So if you have any thought of embarking on the exciting venture of becoming an entrepreneur for your own account, make sure to map out a comprehensive plan upfront. We share 9 tips on how to get that planning process underway, with hyperlinks to an online “Entrepreneurial potential self-assessment” quiz, to information sources on crowdfunding, an...
December 2019 | Property Sales and Trusts: Demand Proof of Trustee Authority
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-12-01 at 00:00
Selling property to a trust comes with a particular risk, and it’s one that - although easily avoidable - still seems to catch sellers unawares on a regular basis. Not checking that the trustee/s signing the offer to purchase/deed of sale are fully authorised to do so could leave you with no sale at all. We illustrate the downsides of not checking for trustee authority by discussing a recent Supreme Court of Appeal judgment in which a seller’s R3m claim came to naught, because on...
November 2019 | "Seller’s Remorse" and "Subject to Sale of the Buyer’s Property" – Can They Sink the Sale?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-11-01 at 00:00
Holiday Season can be an ideal time to buy and sell residential property, and if you are in the market for a house – or about to put yours up for sale – be mindful of the fact that both “seller’s remorse” and sales with suspensive conditions (like “subject to sale of the buyer’s property”) are much more likely now than they have been for some time. So both buyers and sellers need to understand whether it is easy or difficult for a seller to esc...
October 2019 | Landlord vs Tenant: When Can You Cut Electricity or Change the Locks?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-10-01 at 00:00
Landlord vs tenant disputes can quickly escalate into protracted and expensive litigation, and as a landlord you may be tempted to take the law into your own hands by changing locks, cutting electricity etc. We analyse our law in that regard, explain what a “spoliation order” is and what a tenant must prove to obtain one, and discuss a recent High Court case in which an internet café owner in a shopping centre disputed her landlord’s method of billing for electricity...
September 2019 | Your Will: What You Can and Can’t Do
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-09-01 at 00:00
A properly drawn and executed will (your “Last Will and Testament”) is the only way for you to ensure that your loved ones are properly looked after once you are gone. Perhaps most importantly, only by making your own will can you specify who is to inherit what from you. But is your “Freedom of Testation” limited in any way? Can you disinherit your spouse, or your children? Who chooses who will benefit from your pension and retirement funds? These...
August 2019 | Beware of Property Cyber Scammers
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-08-01 at 00:00
Forewarned is forearmed! Here’s another warning about cyber-scams in the property industry because the more they increase, and the cleverer they become, the more vital it becomes for you to be aware of them and to protect yourself from them. Remember that you become a prime target when you buy or sell property – the rich pickings on offer when property is involved make sure of that. So we’ll have a look at how these cyber-scams work, at how you can protect yourself...
July 2019 | Property Transfers and Trust Account Theft: A R720,000 Warning
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-07-01 at 00:00
Buying a property, whether to live in, work in or just as an investment, invariably involves a substantial amount of money changing hands. Whether you are the seller or the buyer, the last thing you want is for the money to be stolen by a dishonest transferring attorney. If it happens, who carries the loss? Must transfer still be passed to the buyer? Who must lodge a claim with the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund and hope that it pays out without delay? A recent High Court case involvin...
June 2019 | You Signed a Property Sale Agreement, Can You Still Accept a Better Offer?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-06-01 at 00:00
Selling property, particularly your own home, is one of the more stressful events in life. Will you get the right buyer? The best price? What if it all goes wrong? Then an offer comes in that is acceptable, but not perfect. If for example there is a bond clause and the buyer’s bond application fails a month down the line you’ve lost all that valuable marketing time. You’ll never know whether you just missed the “perfect offer” while your buyer filled out bank fo...
May 2019 | Security Estates: Can You Fine Speedsters?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-05-01 at 00:00
Buying property in security estates and other community schemes comes with a range of benefits, but it’s important to be aware of all the rules and regulations you are agreeing to - our courts will almost always hold you to them! For example, Home Owners Associations and Bodies Corporate will welcome a recent Supreme Court of Appeal decision upholding the rights of a golf estate to impose a 40km/h speed limit (and penalties for breaching it) on all homeowners, tenants and guests using ...
April 2019 | Your Dog, Cat or Cow (Even Your Bees) Could Cost You Millions
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-04-01 at 00:00
We all know that causing someone else loss either negligently or intentionally lays us open to being sued for damages. What is less well known – and in this case ignorance is extremely dangerous – is that animal owners can be held liable for loss or damage caused by their animals on a “no fault” or “strict liability basis”. You can be sued for millions when you are in no way at fault. On what basis can you be held liable? Are there any defences you can ...
March 2019 | Property Buyers: Beware Unlawful Occupiers!
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-03-01 at 00:00
If you plan to buy a house before the property market starts to recover from its present doldrums, be aware of the risks you face if anyone is currently in the property. A recent High Court decision illustrates the danger of your being unable to evict unwelcome occupiers who point-blank refuse to leave. We’ll analyse that decision, and the lessons to be learned from it, after summarising the two things that PIE (the Prevention of Illegal Eviction From and Unlawful Occupation of Land Ac...
February 2019 | Property Owners, Buyers and Agents: Check for the Title Deeds Before 25 February!
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-02-01 at 00:00
UPDATE: Relax, the 25 February deadline has fallen away! Since publication of this article on 1 February, the Chief Registrar of Deeds has advised that “… the Deeds Registries Regulations Board at a meeting on 19 February 2019, resolved to suspend the implementation of the amendments to regulation 68, as referred to above, until further notice.” The amendments as they affect you will now be re-drafted, and we wi...
January 2019 | Paternity Leave and Minimum Wages – How Will The New Laws Affect You?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2019-01-07 at 00:00
Both employers and employees should be up to speed with the new labour legislation which will affect all businesses and individuals on one level or another. Firstly we discuss the new “parental leave” provisions relevant to fathers, adoptive parents and commissioning parents in surrogacy agreements. Next we look at the new National Minimum Wage and the different hourly rates applicable to various categories of employee. Finally we’ll address new provisions relating to...
December 2018 | Buying Property this Festive Season? Check the Title Deed First!
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2018-12-01 at 00:00
If cowboy Will Rogers’ practical advice “Don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait” has you looking for a property to buy this Festive Season, don’t miss out on an invaluable source of relevant information – the title deed. What you find in the title deed of your prospective purchase could make or break your decision to buy it, and it will certainly impact on how much you want to offer. We’ll tell you what a title deed is, why it’s imp...
November 2018 | Can I have pets in a residential complex?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2018-11-01 at 00:00
Life in a residential complex comes with many benefits – hence the increasing demand for apartments and security estates - but it also means sacrificing some of the freedom of choice you would enjoy if you were entirely on your own. For example, pet ownership is often a contentious topic in community schemes, so in the common interest it’s likely to be regulated by the scheme’s Conduct Rules. Read on for some ideas on how to establish what your legal rights are, with adv...
October 2018 | Selling Your House: Disclosing Defects
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2018-10-01 at 00:00
When you sell anything, our law requires that you deliver it to the buyer without any defects. That’s not easily achieved with property and you should always protect yourself with a voetstoots (“as is” or “without any warranty”) clause in your sale agreement. But, as a recent High Court case involving a house with roof leaks, defective pool equipment and a list of other defects shows, that won’t protect you if you acted unlawfully in failing to di...
September 2018 | Do You Need a Will?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2018-09-01 at 00:00
We all die, and we all know that it is up to us to ensure the happiness and well-being and protection of our loved ones long after we are gone. But it’s not easy to contemplate our own mortality, nor is it easy to find the time in our busy schedules to attend to even the basics of doing so. This article is about the one basic that needs your immediate attention. That of course is to make your will. We look at exactly why a will is essential, at what happens to yo...
August 2018 | Your Body Corporate and Arrear Levies: To Sequestrate or Not To Sequestrate?
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2018-08-01 at 00:00
As a Body Corporate trustee you will understand how important it is to collect arrear levies from defaulting owners. And of course as a section owner you have a personal stake in the process. When normal debt collection processes fail, what do you do? Sometimes it makes sense to apply for the debtor’s sequestration (just the threat of that has been known to scare even the hardiest of debtors into paying up!) - but beware the ‘danger of contribution’. We discuss what that...
July 2018 | How to Escape from a Property Suretyship
by Bruno Simao Attorneys on 2018-07-01 at 00:00
You are a director of a company entering into a good, sensible property deal which you have researched thoroughly. So when you need finance from the bank and the bank says “sure, your company can have a R5m loan, just sign this personal suretyship here”, you sign. It’s only when everything falls apart down the line and the bank sues you personally for R5m, that you desperately start looking for ways to get out of your suretyship. We discuss a recent High Court case illustra...