Comments for This 'n That And the Long, Short 'n Tall of it Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:12:42 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Lease of Property — Part 2 by John Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:12:42 +0000 Hi Charlene

It’s worth noting that, whenever cancellation of a contract is envisaged, it’s always best to consult with an attorney first.

That said, without your deposit in hand to cover legal costs, it’s fairly likely that the lessor may be reluctant to take legal action if you decide not to go ahead with the current lease.

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Lease of Property — Part 2 by Charlene Wed, 30 Nov 2016 06:56:23 +0000 Hi John

I’ve signed a lease with a private person/landlord yesterday, but still waiting on approval for my dogs to be kept on the premises. In the meanwhile I found a more suited place and would like to cancel the contract.

I haven’t paid a deposit yet, as the landlord suggested we wait for approval first. Can I still cancel the contract?

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Property Transactions — Part 1 by John Thu, 24 Nov 2016 18:18:55 +0000 Hi Sharan

You need to establish if your seller is a ‘supplier’ under the CPA. As mentioned in the above article, a seller who is defined as a supplier may be liable for any defect that was not disclosed to the purchaser by the seller or the agent at the time of the sale. The seller is obliged to make a written declaration or disclosure of any hidden defects in the property. This document must be included as an addendum to the Deed of Sale and must be signed by both parties.

Your contract may have included a voetstoots or ‘as is’ clause, which might be an indication that that the CPA is not applicable to your transaction. In that case, any defects that were visible to you at the time of the sale are likely to be ‘patent’ (visible) defects that the seller is not liable for under the provisions of this clause.

The voetstoots clause also protects the seller from liability for any ‘latent’ (hidden) defect that the seller didn’t know about at the time of the sale. However, if the seller knew about a hidden defect, and concealed this from you or failed to disclose it, the seller can not rely on the protection of the voetstoots clause. You may need to do some digging for evidence that the seller knew about it in order to prove your claim against the seller.

If you think the seller has purposely concealed a defect in the property from you, and you can prove it, you will then have to consult with an attorney in order to seek compensation from the seller. Alternatively, you may be able to negotiate a compromise that’s acceptable to both parties.

Good luck.

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Property Transactions — Part 1 by Sharan Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:12:05 +0000 Hi

My wife and I recently bought a house. Now we found out there is a wall which has major water damage as well as plumbing issues with the house flooding up. The seller and agent did not mention any of this to us.

Due to my wife and I getting married in October, we only moved into the house in November and found these problems. Now no one wants to pay for the damages that were existing from before we bought the house.

Comment on Property Defects Full Disclosure Required By Consumer Protection Act by John Thu, 24 Nov 2016 09:12:41 +0000 Hi Zandi

Mould is usually caused by rising damp in the walls. There are many different issues that can lead to rising damp and the most common of these is a missing or defective damp course. This is a water-proof barrier built into the foundations during the building process. It shields the rest of the construction that goes on top of it from any rising moisture coming from below. If the damp course is faulty or absent, rising damp can permeate the walls and eventually the problem of mould will raise it’s ugly head.

Before you can paint over the mouldy areas you first need to treat the root cause of the problem or the mould will just keep coming back again. In practice there are many different ways to treat this problem and I suggest you have a professional contractor or damp specialist investigate and advise you.

As to what recourse you may have, this will depend to what extent you can prove that the previous owner had prior knowlege of the mould problem, which is fairly likely, and then perhaps concealed it from you before the sale by painting over the mouldy areas. In that case the seller will not be able to claim protection under the voetstoots or “as is” clause and you may have a viable claim for compensation.

Your first step might be to do some digging; speak to local contractors and repairmen; see if you can find anyone who was approached for advice by the previous owner. Ask for an assessment of the cost of solving the problem and a written estimate. Then you will need to approach an attorney for advice.

Hopefully you can avoid litigation and your attorney can help you negotiate an amicable settlement with the seller.

Best of luck.

Comment on Property Defects Full Disclosure Required By Consumer Protection Act by Zandi Thu, 24 Nov 2016 04:04:58 +0000 I bought a house last year for a million after negotiating the price. I had a down payment of R150 K. I did major renovations in the house, like tiling the entire house, did the entire ensuite bathroom, changed the whole kitchen and main bedroom wardrobes. Outside I renovated the patio and closed it. Further converted the garage into an extra room and did some landscape things in the garden.

Now a couple of months later I’m just discovering that the house has bad mold. I have called so many people to attend to the problem but it appears there is nothing I can do if the house has mold and this was not disclosed to me.

What recourse do I have? Especially with so much I have done to improve the house and the installments I’ve been paying the bank and still have to pay.

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Lease of Property — Part 2 by Claire Stubbs Tue, 22 Nov 2016 09:50:42 +0000 Thank you so much for your very useful advice, John. They are continuing work in that narrow gap, so there was no need for all the drama. In fact, one of the workers is now physically holding the scaffolding, so I’m glad to have been instrumental in creating a much needed job, haha. Regards Claire

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Lease of Property — Part 2 by John Tue, 22 Nov 2016 07:31:56 +0000 Hi Claire

Certainly your outrage is justified. Anyone who enters a property without the express permission of the owner is guilty of a criminal offence, trespassing. You can ask them to leave and deny them any future access, if you so wish.

However, the key consideration here is the fact that you would welcome an aesthetic improvement to your neighbour’s building. Of course, this might also have a favourable impact on the value of your property so it makes sense to let them finish.

It’s a great idea to get the municipal building inspector involved as every local authority has its own policy for boundary walls, fences and building lines. This may also vary depending on what the site has been zoned for.

A building or wall may not encroach on building lines unless a waiver has been applied for and granted by the local planning department. Furthermore, the adjoining neighbour’s written consent is required before the municipality will consider the application.

Where the building encroaches on the building line and a waiver has not been obtained, the building inspector can order it taken down or moved back by a reasonable deadline. After this, a fine of a R100.00 per day may be levied until the offending construction is removed.

Hope that helps and thanks for your question.

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Lease of Property — Part 2 by Claire Stubbs Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:42:09 +0000 Dear John

I would appreciate your opinion on the boundary dispute that has recently arisen with my neighbour. I own a house in the Western Cape. Next door is a vast warehouse that was unused for several years, but has now been sold and the owner is doing renovations. The issue is that the building is a mere 1.10 m from my boundary.

Last week, the owner’s workmen climbed over my fence, breaking a tree in the process and proceeded to use materials from my yard to build bracing for the dodgy looking scaffolding they are putting up the side of the warehouse. When I complained, they insisted they were not able to do the work in that small gap and I should be quite happy to allow them in my property to do whatever they pleased.

I pointed out that it was not my fault that the building was built too close to the boundary, that they should finish that particular part of the building, remove the scaffolding bracing from my yard and under no circumstances come into my property for any reason. I reported this to the municipality and they will send out a building inspector.

My question is can the municipality insist on their partially demolishing the building to conform to the 2.250m requirement, even though the building has been there for at least 10 years?

I have no wish to be on bad terms with my neighbour and welcome the improvement to this monstrosity, but I have no intention of allowing them to compromise my security and construct unsafe structures on my side of the fence without the courtesy of asking my permission.

Your opinion would be appreciated.

Comment on How Consumer Protection Act Affects Property Transactions — Part 1 by John Wed, 16 Nov 2016 11:08:49 +0000 Unless there’s a valid and compelling reason, the developer can’t simply do a u-turn.

Once your finance is approved you will have a binding contract and will have the option of approaching an attorney in order to put the developer to terms.