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Linprop News


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With our newsletter we aim to bring you information to enlighten you about the property market and related matters.
In this edition we paint the picture of the property market in Quarter 2 of 2013 in a couple of broad statistical strokes, tell you how you can be sure to know about applications for subdivision and rezoning in your neighbourhood, share some valuable contact numbers if you have problems with City Power and meter readings, and emphasise the importance of approved building plans.
We currently have a few urgent buyers looking for family homes in the R2 000 000 - R4 000 000 price bracket. If you are thinking of selling, or know of someone whom we may assist, kindly contact us?
Our next newsletter will reach you when spring is on our doorstep.
Kind regards
THE LINPROP TEAM
Daleen van der Linde
0826007894
Carina van der Linde
0826038694


Vital signs of the property market

In the second quarter of 2013
• The variable interest rate was maintained at 8.5% per annum – the interest rate remained unchanged since mid 2012 at a 40 year low.
• Monthly mortgage repayments were on average 35.9% lower than in December 2008.
• It was 34% cheaper to have bought an existing home than to build a new one.
• 90% of sellers had to drop their price in order to sell – the reported average of the price drop is 10%.
• The estimated time a property would be in the market before selling was 17 weeks and 1 day.
• About 22% of buyers were first-time buyers.
• 52.5% of consumers had credit records in good standing, while 47.5% had impaired records.
• 21% of sellers were selling because they were downscaling due to life stage – they were not necessarily under financial pressure to sell
• 18% of sellers were under financial pressure to sell
• 19% of sellers were selling to upgrade to a better home
• 3% of sellers were selling because they plan to emigrate
• The average age of tenants rose from 27 to 31.
• 71% of tenants paid rent on time, 3% paid in the grace period, 10% paid late, 8% made only partial payment and 8% did not pay at all.

 The above statistics were extracted from The property barometer – FNB estate agent survey which was published on 16 July and Absa’s housing review for the Second Quarter of 2013, which was issued on 26 July 2013.



Take note of that notice on your neighbour's property!


The most common of these procedures that the owner of a typical residential erf in a Johannesburg suburb will encounter, are the following:
• An application for the amendment of the Town Planning Scheme conditions applicable to a particular property – commonly referred to as “rezoning”.
• An application for the subdivision of a property.
• An application for the removal of restrictive title conditions.

The above applications all have different prescribed procedures and requirements in terms of the relevant legislation as far as advertising is concerned.

Rezonings are done in terms of the provisions of the Town Planning and Townships Ordinance, 15 of 1986.

Subdivisions are done either in terms of the provisions of the particular Town Planning Scheme – if the particular “density clause” applicable to the site allows such subdivision, or it can follow a “rezoning” procedure. (In the event of a subdivision subsequent to a rezoning procedure, no further advertising will be required. The advertising of the prerequisite rezoning to make provision for higher density and subdivision is deemed to be adequate.) Subdivision applications in Linden are done in terms of the provisions of the Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme and there is an advertising procedure. In the case of Linden Extension (or other suburbs also falling outside the Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme area), a subdivision application more than likely follows a rezoning – thus no further advertising will be required.

Removal of Title Restrictions are done in terms of the provisions of the Gauteng Removal of Restrictions Act, 3 of 1996.

The applications are submitted in a prescribed manner to the Local Authority (City of Johannesburg), upon which the City will circulate copies of an application to their internal departments, as well as to a list of official external bodies as applicable in each case. In addition, the applicant (or his appointed agent) needs to advertise his application in the following manner:

In the case of a Rezoning:
  • A notice – for two consecutive weeks – in the Official Gazette.
  • A notice – for two consecutive weeks – in two local newspapers - in the sections for Legal Notices.
  • A site notice to be erected on the property boundary.
In the case of a subdivision in terms of the provisions of the Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme:
  • A site notice to be erected on the property boundary.
  • Notification by registered mail to the owners of the properties adjoining the application site; i.e properties with a common boundary, including the properties across the street as if the street reserve does not exist.
In the case of a Removal of Restrictions application:
  • A notice – for two consecutive weeks – in the Official Gazette.   
  • A notice – for two consecutive weeks – in two local newspapers - in the sections for Legal Notices.     
  • A site notice to be erected on the property boundary.
  • Notification by registered mail to the owners of the properties adjoining the application site; i.e properties with a common boundary, including the properties across the street as if the street reserve does not exist.

 The commencement date of the above notices must coincide (the same week) and must be specific as to the expiry date for the submission of comments or objections. These notices must provide basic information as to the relevant property and the intended rezoning, must supply information as to the availability of more detailed information and invite comments and/or objections to be submitted (in writing and to a specific address) within the particular objection period.

If you do not submit your comments/objections/reservation during the particular objection period, you have missed out entirely. There is no second chance.

Therefore, if you see a notice on the boundary of a property in your neighbourhood, do not ignore it. If you receive notice of registered mail, do not ignore it. Act immediately, or you may have to "forever hold your tongue!"

This article was contributed by Eduard van der Linde, a town planner in private practice. You can contact him on 011 782 2348 or eduard@thetownplanner.co.za.



City Power about meter readings

1. Open Letter from City Power MD
To our valuable customers

Over the past few months, City Power has embarked upon a campaign to read electricity meters across the city of Johannesburg. The project focused on meters, which have been difficult to access for periods of three to 12 months.

Johannesburg residents and businesses have cooperated. As a result, we have made encouraging progress and have been able to access many previously inaccessible meters.

On behalf of City Power, I would like to thank every customer, who made it possible for us to gain access to their properties to read their electricity meters. Most importantly, the meter readers have also been able to identify faulty meters and replace them where necessary. This is the only way we can avoid estimations, ensure that the correct electricity consumption is recorded and that disconnections are minimised.

One of the serious challenges, which we have needed to contend with, is people masquerading as City Power meter readers. Let me assure you that City Power, together with our strategic partners in the safety and security cluster, have implemented a number of measures to deal with this issue. Customer safety remains a top priority in our business. We urge our customers to verify the identity of our meter readers, by contacting our 24/7 Safety and Security Control office. This will ensure their safety.

We will be introducing new technologies, which will make it possible for us to read meters without having to physically access customer premises.

In the interim, I would like to encourage our customers to continue to support our meter reading campaign, which comprises the following:
• Requests to gain access to customer properties to read meters;
• Repair and/or replace faulty meters;
• Update customer details;
• Convert customer who prefer prepaid units to prepaid meters.
To normalise the meter reading situation, City Power has put measures in place for customers to make arrangements and appointments for our meter readers to read their meters.

Thank you for enabling us to improve electricity meter reading and begin to record actual electricity consumption.

Together, we can keep the lights in this city burning.

Regards

Sicelo Xulu
Managing Director City Power – Johannesburg.


2. City Power Fact Sheet
METER READINGS

Our meter reading schedule is available at www . citypower . co . za. If you will not be home on the date our meter readers are scheduled to visit your area, please make an appointment with us directly. Let us know what time and date will suit you, including evenings and weekends.

Remember that if we are not able to access your property to read the meter/s, your electricity supply can be disconnected according to the Electricity Regulation Act no 4 of 2006, the Local Government Municipal Systems Act, and the Electricity by-laws, which states that consumers may be disconnected if two consecutive meter readings are missed.

TO SCHEDULE A METER READING APPOINTMENT
• Contact City Power’s meter reading call centre on (011) 490 7484 between 07:00 and 19:00 (Monday to Friday) and 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays;
• Email readings@citypower.co.za, with your account number, address and preferred date.
• Send a free SMS: “read me” followed by your account number and address to 44074.
• Our customer care consultants will call you to confirm the appointment.

 FAULTY METERS

If you suspect that your meter is faulty, City Power will replace your meter as soon as you have reported the fault.


TO SCHEDULE A REPLACEMENT OF A FAULTY METER

• Contact City Power on (011) 490 7484 between 07:00 and 19:00 (Monday to Friday) and 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays;
• Send a free SMS: “faulty” followed by your account number and address to 44074.
• Our customer care consultants will call you to confirm the appointment.

 TO SCHEDULE A CONVERSION TO A PREPAID METER

• Contact City Power on (011) 490 7484 between 07:00 and 19:00 (Monday to Friday) and 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays;
• Send a free SMS: “prepaid” followed by your account number and address to 44074.
• Our customer care consultants will call you to confirm the appointment.

 UPDATE YOUR DETAILS

• Call City Power to update or verify your contact and account details.
• Call City Power on (011) 490 7484 between 07:00 and 19:00 (Monday to Friday) and 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays;
• Send a free SMS: “details” followed by your account number and address to 44074.
• Our customer care consultants will contact you.

 SAFETY TIPS

• Your safety is important to us. Follow these tips to stay safe:
• Don’t allow people onto your property without verifying their identity, even if you have made an appointment.
• Your meter reader must be able to display a City Power photo ID card with a unique identification number.

• Call the City Power Security Control Room on (011) 490 7900 / 7911 / 7553 to confirm the unique identification number. Encourage your neighbours, family and friends to do the same.

 

3. Frequently Asked Questions


Q How can I get my meter read?

A Contact City Power at 011 4907 484. Get the meter reading schedule. Ensure that City Power meter readers can access your Property as per the schedule. Contact 011 490 7484 to confirm that your meter is being read regularly.

Q What happens if my meter is not read?

A If City Power is not able to access your property to read the meter/s, your electricity supply can be disconnected according to the Electricity Regulation Act no 4 of 2006, The Local Government Municipal Systems Act, and the Electricity by-laws, which states that consumers may be disconnected if two consecutive meter readings are missed.

Q What happens if my meter is faulty or my meter does not work?

A If you suspect that your meter is faulty, please contact the call centre at 011 490 7484 to make an appointment with City Power technician.

Q Can City Power replace my meter?

A Yes, only if your meter is faulty. City Power will examine it, and establish if it can be repaired. If it can be repaired they will repair the meter and ensure that it functions. If the meter is irreparable City Power will replace it for free.

Q Do I have to pay for the replacement of a faulty meter?

A No.

Q My electricity statement is wrong!

A City Power is not responsible for electricity billings and statements. City of Joburg is responsible for electricity billing and statements.Contact them on: 011 375 5555. City Power is only responsible for:1. Electricity Meter Repairs.2. Replacements.3. Readings 4. Electricity Meter Maintenance and Performance.

Q My statement is based on estimates how can I resolve this?

A Call City Power to make an appointment during the week between 8am and 5pm At this number 011 490 7484. Get a meter reading schedule from City Power. Ensure that your meter is read monthly according to the schedule.

Q How can I confirm that my meter is being read?

A Contact City Power at 011 490 7484.






The importance of approved building plans

The answer is yes.

Danie Botha of Wilsenach van Wyk Attorneys explains:

"1. The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act No 103 of 1977 defines the owner of a house as the person in whose name land is registered in the relevant deeds office;
2. Section 4 of the Act states that no person shall without approved plans erect a building on a property. Section 4 (4) makes it an offence should an owner not adhere to the above.
3. Section 21 expressly authorises a court to order demolition of buildings for which building plans have not been approved.

From this, it is clear that approved building plans don’t need to be a condition in a sales agreement to be a legal requirement. Any property owner stand the chance that the structure, not on a plan, may be demolished at any time whilst plans are not approved, and, therefore, a purchaser will be able to insist on approved plans before transfer in view of the risk of demolition."

Most people will  have a plan approved when a new home is built, but people tend to be less concerned  about having a building plan approved when a single room is added or a garage is turned into a cottage. When is it necessary to have a plan approved for alterations? A rule of thumb is that any change to the structure - even when you just move the front door - requires approval of a building plan. If it needs a foundation or has any sort of roof covering, it needs an approved building plan.

It can easily be argued that one can always have "as-built" plans approved later, if the need arises. It may not be that easy.

Here are a couple of good reasons:

  • If the building does not comply with the National Building Regulations, it may not be possible to have the plan approved at a later stage. The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (no 103 of 1977) not only stipulates that no person may erect, alter, add to, or convert any building without the prior approval of the Local Authority, it also sets out many rules as to the building itself.  The amended National Building Regulations and Building Standards act which came  in effect from November 2011 for example stipulates that all new commercial and residential buildings will have to receive at least 50% of its hot water requirements from renewable energy sources such as solar water heating. The regulation also stipulates that buildings should be designed with the region’s climate in mind to prevent the use of extra energy to heat or cool the building. Worst case scenario a building which does not comply with the regulations, may have to be demolished.
  • All building work on a property must comply with the zoning of the property. A second dwelling or cottage may not be allowed in terms of the zoning. Building lines must be honoured. Building lines can be  relaxed, but it requires neighbours' consent - which may be much more difficult to obtain after the building had been completed. The building work may also exceed the coverage - the area you are allowed to build over, in which case the only solution is demolition.
  • There may be conditions entrenched in the title deed which have to be removed in order to legalise the structure. This is a time-consuming process.
  • If the property is more than 60 years old, it is regarded as part of our national heritage and special permission for changes may be required.
  • Often banks request copies of approved building plans before bond registration can take place, because they need to minimise their risk. If a building, or a section of a building, has to be demolished, the value of the property declines, and this means the value to bond ratio increases. The banks try to keep their value to bond ratio as low as possible, to ensure that should a bond holder default on his payments, and the property is repossessed, the bank gets the value necessary to cover the bond. If you need to have plans approved in order to transfer your property, it may cause you a costly delay of transfer.

If you do not have a copy of your building plans, try and get them as soon as possible. This can be done on the 6th floor of the Civic Centre in Loveday Street. If they do not have copies of the plans, you can also contact the building inspectors  to find out if the plans are still with them. Plans approved after 2005 may still be with the building inspectors. Once you have copies of all approved plans, keep them in a safe place - you can not rely on Council to provide copies later.

If you need assistance in to get as-built building plans approved, contact us. We can refer you to skilled consultants who can assist you.

Best still: have those plans approved before you built, and keep copies!




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