Linprop newsletter

At last! Spring is in the air! Wasn't this a very long and very cold winter?
To welcome spring, most of us are keen to get into our gardens. A green lawn is the pride and joy of homeowners, and we share how you can get the lawn back into summer shape.
As most people buy property only a few times in their lives, the process of transferring a property remains a bit of a mystery. Our article on the transfer process aims to explain the process in simple terms. We asked a conveyancer to check the article, and his comment was that we make it sound so simple and logical - why isn't it always? We suppose the human factor has a tendency to complicate many matters!
Have a look at our article on security systems. We cannot get away from crime, and it is best to be ready for criminals when they choose to cross our paths.
Lastly we give some tips to tenants to maintain a positive credit profile while renting.
Enjoy the warmer weather!
Daleen and Carina van der Linde
Your Linprop team

Lawn care

A standard plan of action will be:

• Check your lawn for thatch. This is an accumulated layer of dead material which prevents water and fertilisers from penetrating the soil. If you have a Kikuyu lawn, a short, close mow is what you are looking for, so set your lawnmower quite low. Other lawn varieties do not require low cuttings. Thatch can be removed by using a good strong, metal rake. This makes good compost!
• Aerate the lawn by pushing a garden fork into the soil (preferably when wet) at a spacing of 100 mm and a depth of 150 mm. Alternatively, you can hire a lawn spike aerator.
• If you had to remove thatch, fertilise the lawn with superphosphate or 2:3:2 at 60g/m². If no thatch had to be removed, fertilise the lawn with 3:2:1 (28) SR at 45g/m². Water well after fertilising.
• Level out any depressions in the lawn by filling it in with a good quality, weed-free lawn dressing, but do not cover the lawn with more than 3 cm of lawn dressing at a time. This will improve the soil structure and will add essential organic matter. Water well, and keep upper soil layer moist until new growth shows.

If your lawn shows signs of distress caused by disease or insects, it is best to call in professional help to identify and solve the specific problem.

A consistent lawn care program - regular mowing, watering and fertilising - ensures that the lawn stays healthy and attractive – the perfect backdrop for a cool summer garden.

The transfer process in layman's language.

There are usually at least two to three attorneys involved in the transfer process: The conveyancer or transferring attorney, who is usually appointed by the seller, attends to the registration of the property in the name of the new owner; the bond cancellation attorney, who is appointed by the bank holding the current bond, attends to the cancellation of the current bond; and the bond registration attorney, who is appointed by the bank granting the new bond, who attends to the registration of the new bond over the property. If the property is financed - even partially - with the proceeds of the sale of the purchaser's previous property, the conveyancer will also liaise with the conveyancer attending to the preceding transfer.

If the seller does not have a bond on the property, he is usually in possession of the original title deed of the property, and there will not be a bond cancellation attorney involved. When there is an existing bond, the bank holding the current bond, has the original title deed.

Firstly the transferring attorneys request the title deed and cancellation figures from the seller’s bank, which currently has a bond over the property, as well as a clearance figures for the rates, taxes and services from the local municipality. Cancellation figures refer  to a settlement amount required by the bank, to cancel the current bond on registration of transfer, and clearance figures  refer to the upfront payment the local authority will require from the seller with regards to rates, taxes and services before they will issue the clearance certificate - one of the documents which is lodged at the Deed's Office. The purpose of this is to ensure that the seller does not owe the local authority anything on the date of transfer. If the property is a sectional title unit, a clearance certificate is also requested from the body corporate's managing agents, to ensure that the seller's levy account is up to date.

When the transferring attorneys receive the title deed and cancellation figures from the seller’s bank, they send a copy of the title deed and guarantee requirements to the registering (bond) attorneys.

Once they receive the title deed, the transferring attorneys are in a position to draft the transferring documents.

The transfer documents are signed by the buyer and the seller, with the transferring attorneys.

The buyer pays the transfer costs, with which the transferring attorneys pay the transfer duty to the Receiver of Revenue, and a transfer duty receipt is issued. 

The seller pays the clearance figures to the council via the transferring attorney, and a clearance certificate is issued by the local authority. It is important to note that this clearance certificate is only valid until a specified date and that the transfer must be registered before that date. If not, new clearance figures must be obtained and paid.

The buyer’s bond account and supporting documentation are prepared by the registering (bond) attorneys, and the buyer signs the supporting documentation and pays the bond registration costs to the registering (bond) attorneys.

The necessary guarantees are prepared by the registering (bond) attorneys and forwarded to the transferring attorneys, who prepare the bond documents for lodgement with the Deed's Office. 

The transferring attorneys then forward the guarantees to the cancellation attorneys, who get consent from the bank, which currently has a bond over the property, to cancel the seller’s bond. 

The seller provide the transferring attorney with the Electrical Compliance Certificate, and also a pest control certificate and gas compliance certificate if required in terms of the sales agreement. The transferring attorney will also make sure that all special conditions in the sales agreement are met, such as copies of building plans, which are to be provided to the purchaser by the seller, or repair work that must be done at the seller's cost prior to transfer.

Once all the documentation is signed, and all costs are paid, the buyer’s new bond documents, the transfer of the property (into the buyer’s name) documents and the cancellation of the seller’s bond documents are prepared by the respective attorneys and lodged in the Deed's Office - simultaneously.

The transfer documents include:

  • The transfer duty or VAT receipt (from the Receiver of Revenue). 
  • The rates & taxes clearance certificate (from the local municipality). 

  • The levy clearance certificate (from the body corporate). 

  • The consent of the bondholder (bank which holds the current bond) to cancel the current bond. 

  • Consents required in terms of conditions in the title deed (i.e. a right of first refusal waived by the interested party). 

The Deed's Office takes approximately 2 weeks to check all the documentation before they are ready for registration by all the attorneys on the same day. 

On registration, the bank pays out the loan in accordance with the guarantees issued. The seller's current bond is settled, and the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller, after deduction of the agent's commission.  
The whole process can take anything from 8 to 12 weeks, if there are no delays.

There are various factors, which could delay the transfer process. Some factors can not be controlled, such as a delay in obtaining clearance figures, or a title deed that is lost or misplaced.

There are, however, things both the seller and purchaser can do to make sure that the process is completed as smoothly as possible.

The seller can:

  • Provide the conveyancer with all required documentation when requested to do so, without delay.
  • Sign documents immediately when requested to do so.
  • Pay clearance monies and any outstanding levies as soon as possible.
  • Provide the conveyancer with the COC, and any other documentation required in terms of the sales agreement, as soon as possible.
  • Meet any special conditions without delay.

The purchaser can:

  • Pay the deposit within the stipulated time period.
  • Provide the conveyancer with all required documentation when requested to do so, without delay.
  • Sign documents at both the bond registration attorneys and conveyancer immediately when requested to do so.
  • Pay transfer duty and legal costs pertaining to the transfer and the bond registration immediately when requested to do so.
  • Ensure that guarantees are lodged, or that balance of the purchase price is paid into the conveyancer's account, within the stipulated time period.

If all parties do what they have to do as quickly as possible, and the team of attorneys handling the transaction is capable and meticulous, chances are good that the transfer process will be completed within a very reasonable period of time.










Check those security systems!

A few tips:
• Inspect the boundary walls and fences. Have leaning or broken walls repaired, and move things which will make it easy to jump over the wall, away. Palisade fencing may have become rusted – treat that.
• Electric fencing provides perimeter protection and is your first line of defence. Occasionally check that the energizer is plugged in, and that nothing which can interrupt the current touches the fence. An example is vegetation which may have to be cut back. Have the fencing serviced, and voltage tested at least once a year. An older system may need to be updated if the spring tensions are stretched, or bobbins cracked or broken.
• Laser beams connected to the alarm system is a great security measure. Check that plants do no interfere with their effectiveness. Cut back plants, which may cause false alarms. Let the security company do a proper inspection of the system once a year, and make sure that everything that you want covered, is covered.
• The alarm system must be fully functional, and the only way to make sure of this, is to have it serviced one or twice a year. Do not wait until the end of the year when everybody wants to have this done – book that service call now! It is also a good idea to check the alarm’s and panic button’s connectivity to the armed response company now and then. Call them beforehand and tell them that you plan to do the test.
• The security company must preferably be able to access your property when the alarm is activated. There are many ways in which this can be arranged. Discuss the different possibilities with your service provider.
• An automated gate is great to have when you get home – provided that it works! Have a back-up battery installed to provide power in case of power failures, and secure the gate motor with a bracket or something similar – thieves like taking gate motors!
• Security cameras are a safe way to be able to monitor the property without having to go out and inspect. Obviously they must be in full working order too!
Although the above are all common sense, don’t assume all is in order. Criminals seem to be quick to pick up when it isn’t.

A positive credit profile - tips for tenants

Most tenants do not realise that paying their rent in full and on time every month can help them build a positive credit profile. In the long run, a positive credit profile does make it easier to obtain a loan when applying for a bond or short term credit. We are registered users of TPN (Tenant Profile Network), which is a registered credit bureau and who is registered with the Credit Bureau Association.

TPN is not only a credit bureau, but also a source of valuable information when placing a tenant for agents and landlords registered with TPN. Agents and landlords can, not only, report poor payment behaviour, but also poor tenant behaviour to other agents and landlords registered on the same network. Here, are a few tips to ensure that you always get the payment and tenant profile you deserve: 

  • Ensure that your rental payment is made in full and on time, as per your lease agreement. If your lease agreement states that rental should reflect in the agent or landlord's account on the 1st of each month, make sure it does.
  • Report any maintenance work that is the landlord's responsibility to the agent or landlord as soon as you are aware of the problem. No landlord wants a tenant he cannot trust to help him/her take care of the property rented out. 
  • Ensure that you keep the premises, and/or garden and pool clean and tidy. Also, attend to damages caused by you as quickly as possible. No landlord wants a tenant that does not keep a rental property clean and tidy, and left any damages for the landlord to fix up.
  • Do not disturb the neighbours. High noise levels at inconsiderate times and rowdy parties do not make neighbours happy. Landlords do not want tenants that can negatively influence a good relationship with previous neighbours or fellow body corporate members.
  • Unless you are allowed in terms of your lease agreement, do not sublet any part of the premises or over crowd the premises. No landlord wants an unwanted tenant he cannot get off the premises if the person that was sublet to refuse to move. This also creates an impression that the terms of any lease agreement is irrelevant to you as a tenant.

If you as a tenant follow these golden rules, no landlord or agent will have any reason to report poor payment and tenant behaviour. If you as a tenant excel in these golden rules, any agent or landlord has an obligation to write a letter of recommendation on TPN.

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