March news

We are looking back at an extemely busy and successful first 3 months of 2012, and we are truly grateful. One of the things which unfortunately fell victim to this busyness, is the newsletter which we ideally would like to send to you monthly. This is the first edition of this year - we undertake to bring you 9 more, full of interesting property-related news. If you would like to see articles on any topic specifically, please pop us an email with your suggestion.
Kind regards
Daleen van der Linde and Carina van der Linde
The Linprop Team

Heat pumps vs solar heating

 Points of consideration Solar geysers Heat pumps
The way it works A solar collector, located on the roof, collects the sun's energy and transfers heated water to a storage tank, where it is stored until it is used. The tank can be located away from the panel (a pump is then necessary) or the  tank can be placed above the panel. Works like an airconditioner in reverse. It uses a small amount of electricity to extract heat from the surrounding air and then heats water with this energy.
 Types Three types of systems: direct systems, suitable only for frost-free climates, direct frost resistant sytems, and indirect systems, where water is heated via a heat exchange mechanism - suitable when area is prone to frost, or in hard water areas.  Two types of configurations: integrated systems where the entire system is a single unit with a storage tank and heat pump, and split systems, where the tank is separated from the heat pump.
 Rebate Eskom rebate. Claims must be submitted after payment of the system, and rebate is paid within approximately 8 weeks from the date of receipt. Eskom rebate when bought from listed supplier. Rebate is paid to supplier - no need to wait to apply. Rebate available until March 2013.
Initial cost, including Eskom rebate  Between R12 000 and R18 000  Between R7000 and R12500
 Potential saving

15 - 20% of electricity bill. Saving comparable to that of a heat pump for households with up to 4 persons.  For larger households, bigger tanks are recommended. 

Up to 47% of  total electricity bill. Savings higher than with solar geysers in bigger households where hot water demand exceeds solar heater capacity.
 Running costs Free, when sun is shining. At night, or when it is cloudy or rainy, electricity backup may be necessary, which decreases saving potential. Typically consumes 1 unit of electrical energy for every 2.5 - 3.5 units of heating provided - a saving of 60% - 70%  in comparison to conventional electrical resistance heating.
 Life expectancy  20 years  10 - 15 years

 Investment recovery period

3  - 4  years - the larger the household, the shorter the period.  2 -3 years  - the larger the household, the shorter the period.
 Guarrantee Depends on supplier  Depends on supplier - between 1 and 5 years
 Efficiency measure SABS states it as  the Q factor (MJ/day) - the amount of energy absorbed  for one day of sunshine. Effiency is  given as a factor called COP.The colder the ambient air temperature and the warmer the desired hot water output, the lower the COP. COP of 2 - 3.5 common.
 Maintenance and service required

Wipe clean collector surface when dusty. Check system annually for best possible effeciency.

Keep evaporator clean from dirt and leaves. Check system annually for best possible effeciency.
 Water temperature  High  60 ºC maximum
 Availability of hot water Dependent on weather. At night and in bad weather backup with electrical heating element may be necessary. On cloudy days, 25%- 30% of the sun's energy still gets through, but the heat output is reduced.  Warm water, day and night, rain or shine - if there are no power cuts. Back-up power supply may be necessary if there are regular power cuts.
 Regulation of water temperature  Cannot be regulated.  A control panel allows water temperature to be set.
 Effect on water pressure May affect pressure in existing mixer taps.  None.
 Dependency on electricity Electricity back-up necessary if water usage exceeds capacity, and when there is no sun for prolonged periods - at night, during winter and on cloudy days. Electricity is necessary - generator backup may be  necessary during extended power cuts.
 Existing geyser Standard installation replaces existing electric geyser. Existing geyser can remain intact with pre-feed installation and a retrofit system.  Can be retrofitted to existing geyser.
 Time to install  Can be installed in a day.  Can be installed in half a day.
 Environmental advantage  Clean energy, which naturally reduces CO2 emissions and  carbon footprint. Energy efficient, with no greenhouse gas emissions.
 Safety  Tried and tested. Comply with SANS IP ratings for outdoor electrical installations.
 Damage risk Roof structure must be able to carry weight of system. Choose indirect system if area gets frost or water has a high mineral content.  Hail damage may occur, but it happens rarely with SABS approved system.  Built to be weather proof.
 Position On roof, facing solar north and an inclination angle of  latitude + 10 degrees for best results. Visible. Under eaves on the outside. Visible, but can be placed out of sight. 
 Noise levels  No noise. Comparable to air conditioning .
 Suitability for coastal conditions  Effects of corrosion may have an impact on the longevity of the system. Choose system designed for conditions.  Corrosion damage possible if not sprayed with protective layer.
 More about it - click on link Solar geysers  Heat pumps

The AGM - why it is important to have one and to be there!

The management rules in the Sectional Title Act stipulate that an annual general meeting must  be held within four months of the end of the financial year.  At this meeting the following matters must be addressed:

  • consideration of the financial statements and the trustees' report
  • approval of insurance replacement values
  • approval of income and expenditure statements and determination of the monthly levy
  • appointment of an auditor or accounting officer
  • establishing the number of trustees and election of the trustees
  • any special business set out in the notice.

Notice of the meeting, where and when it will be held, must be delivered to all owners, holders of mortage bonds over units who have formally notified the body corporate of their interests, and the managing agent at least 14 days before the AGM. The notice must be mailed to the domicilium of the owner, which would be the address of the unit, unless the owner notified the body corporate in writing of  and alternative domicilium.

The following documents should also be sent to the owners together with the notice:

  • a copy of the financial statements
  • an itemised schedule of anticipated income and expenditure
  • a schedule  of the insurance value of each unit, as well as the common property
  • a report reviewing the past year, signed by the chairman.

The AGM is a valuable opportunity to have your say in the management of the complex in which you have invested money. This is where concerns about the financial statements can be raised, where you can have your say about planned expenditure and the levy for the next year, and where you decide which trustees you trust to manage the body corporate. If you are not there, you are not looking after your own interests!

The AGM is not the forum to raise problems and grievances at the spur of the moment. The Act does not make provision for an item decribed as "general", and therefore notice of  any special matter that you would like to have discussed at the AGM, need to be given to the trustees well before the meeting, so that it can be provided for in the agenda.

Without your presence, the AGM may have to be postponed, because a minimum number of people (quorum) needs to be present at the AGM. In a complex of 10 units or less, the quorum will be the number of owners (or their representatives by law) holding 50% of the vote; in a complex of 11 to 49 units , the quorum will be the number of owners (or their representatives by law) holding 35% of the vote, and in a complex of 50 or more units, quorum will be the number of owners (or their representatives by law) holding 20% of the vote.

For your own benefit, you should really attend this very important meeting once a year! And if the trustees of your body corporate fail to arrange the AGM within the stipulated time frame, put pressure on them to do so. If you want to sell your unit and the affairs of the body corporate are in shambles, you are going to be at the short end!


The latest on the billing saga

It is now even more important that residents register a dispute by calling the 011-375-5555 help line and obtaining a 8000.... reference number. Keep record of this number and the date the issue was reported as it will be needed in all future queries, follow ups and cut-off attempts.  Refrain from calling again and getting more reference numbers,  as this confuses the issue. If the  issue is not resolved 60 days after it has been reported, please report it to your ward councillor, who will then refer it to the newly set up regional billing teams which will be dealing with problems as from 1 April 2012.


Making your own compost

Turning organic waste into compost is an ecological friendly thing to do. Your garden benefits - plants will grow better - because compost binds the soil and helps it to hold water and air.

Most organic materials that will rot or decay easily will make good compost. This include garden waste such as grass cuttings, leaves, and dead flowers, vegetable and fruit peelings, tea leaves and tea bags, egg shells and stale bread and paper, cardboard, sawdust and wood shavings, animal manure, wood fire ash and seaweed.

There are some things which should rather not be added to the compost heap
• Cooked foods and meat scraps, as it will attract unwanted flies and rodents
• Metals, glass and plastics, which will not rot
• Garden waste sprayed with pesticides
• Toilet or septic tank waste
• Diseased animal carcasses or plants
• Potato peels or the peels of citrus fruits such as oranges will make the soil too acidic
• Too many grass cuttings will heat it up too much
• Tough weeds

Making the compost heap
There are many ways to make a compost heap. You can use an old tyre with a board covering the top, build a box from sticks or poles and cover it at the top, or buy a specially made bin at a garden shop.
1. Start by putting down about 200 mm of mixed organic material.
2. Mix this well and chop up any big pieces. Don’t add layers of only one material, such as grass cuttings or leaves.
3. Make sure that air can circulate freely throughout the mixture.
4. Make sure the compost heap is damp, but not wet.
5. If you want to speed up the process, add a ‘starter,’ like a bucketful of mature compost, animal manure, or bone meal.
6. You can get 'starters' at nurseries and garden shops.
7. You can also add soil to help the organic material to rot.
8. Carry on adding layers of about 200 mm. The last layer should be soil, dry grass, leaves, or sawdust, as this will keep smells and flies away.

Looking after the compost heap
1. After one week, push your hand into the compost. It should feel hot.
2. After a few weeks the heap will have cooled down. This means that you need to turn it so that it will heat up again. The heat kills weed seeds and flies larvae.
3. You can also control flies by covering any new material you add with dry soil, sawdust, grass or leaves. Turning the compost heap makes the organic material break down faster.
4. Keep the heap moist, but not wet, or it will smell bad. If it does get too wet, add absorbent material like sawdust, straw or manure and turn the heap.
5. If you find large white worms in the compost, destroy them. They are the larvae of the large black and yellow fruit beetle, which can do a lot of damage in the garden.

Harvesting the compost
The compost will be ready in about three months. A week before you harvest it, add some vegetable matter to bring the worms up to the top. Put the top part of the compost to one side. Use the rest of it in your garden.

Restart the cycle by placing some compost on a shade cloth, and then adding the top half – containing the worms – that you took out first.

Listen carefully – you may hear your plants grow!

Colour in the home

Property in 2011 - a review

The following graphs illustrate how many full title properties were transferred in the various price categories in four of the suburbs which we service - Linden, Roosevelt Park, Darrenwood and Cresta. Please note that estate transfers, transfers as a result of divorce and sales between family members were excluded in as far as we could identify them, as they distort the information to an extent.




 Although these graphs provide a broad picture of property values in the different  areas, the only reliable way to determine the probable market value of a property is by doing a Comparative Market Analysis.

If you are interested in obtaining a free, no obligation, thoroughly researched and motivated valuation of your property, do contact us.










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