Friends and Lovers: Before You Lend Out Your Car…

Friends and Lovers: Before You Lend Out Your Car…

What happens if you lend your car to a friend (or, as happened in the High Court dispute we will refer to, a lover) who refuses point blank to give it back when asked to do so? Can you simply go to court and say “Here are the registration papers. They prove that it’s my car so no matter what, I am the owner and entitled to get it back, end of argument”? That might seem logical but as we shall see, having a car registered in your name is a very different thing to having an immovable property registered…
Read More
Home Businesses – Is Yours Legal?

Home Businesses – Is Yours Legal?

The concepts of working from home and running home businesses have always been with us, but never before have they played such a central role in our lifestyle and property choices. After looking at “what’s hot” in the resultant property market trends, we’ll discuss what our laws have to say about the legality of conducting any one of three categories of business operations from residential premises. We’ll do so with reference to a High Court decision over a home-based hair salon which, although complying with local zoning laws, was in conflict with a Home Owners Association’s rules and regulations. The…
Read More
Landlords and Tenants: Alert Level 1 and the New Eviction Rules

Landlords and Tenants: Alert Level 1 and the New Eviction Rules

Landlords and tenants alike should understand the regulations applicable to tenant evictions during the National State of Disaster. Many tenants are of course finding it hard to meet their monthly rental commitments, whilst landlords still have to fund their ongoing expenses and will be keen to be rid of problem tenants preventing them from doing so. That requires a careful balancing act, and to help you we summarise some highlights of the current regulations, with practical notes for both parties on how to navigate these hard times successfully. The flood of lockdown lay-offs and salary reductions has left many tenants…
Read More
Is Your Will Valid?

Is Your Will Valid?

We live in particularly dangerous times, and making sure that our affairs are in order is perhaps even more vital for us all than before. Leaving a will in place is of course the only way to properly protect your loved ones after you are gone. Take steps now to ensure that it will be accepted as valid and that there is as little danger as possible of it being challenged in any way. That’s not as straightforward as it may seem, and there are many pitfalls awaiting the unwary. We discuss five mistakes to be especially avoided when making…
Read More
Options to Renew Leases – Risks for Landlords and Tenants

Options to Renew Leases – Risks for Landlords and Tenants

Leases often give tenants an option to extend or renew at the end of the current term, and tenants who lose sight of the value and importance of such an option are flirting with disaster. Tenants In a nutshell, when the time comes to exercise your option do comply fully with the clause’s requirements. Make sure also that you understand and accept the exact wording of the renewal clause before you sign the lease. Drop the ball in either respect, and if your landlord wants you out for whatever reason, you will struggle to convince a court to come to…
Read More
Buying a Business? Make Sure the Seller Publishes Notice of the Sale

Buying a Business? Make Sure the Seller Publishes Notice of the Sale

With our economy in trouble and the ongoing pandemic and lockdown damaging more and more businesses by the day, sales by distressed companies and traders are likely to rocket. If you are a prospective buyer here, be aware of one particular danger lurking in the wings for you. Follow this rule to protect yourself - before you buy any business, its goodwill or assets forming part of the business, take legal advice as to whether or not the sale must first be advertised in terms of section 34 the Insolvency Act. You stand to lose both the business and the…
Read More
Directors, Trustees: Can You Hold Your AGMs and General Meetings on Zoom?

Directors, Trustees: Can You Hold Your AGMs and General Meetings on Zoom?

Regrettably the pandemic still shows no sign of going away any time soon, and the social distancing it has brought to our “new normal” leaves companies with a dilemma. How can you comply – safely and lawfully - with the Companies Act’s stringent requirements for the holding of Annual General Meetings and (where needed) interim General Meetings? The good news is that our South African legislation has for many years allowed the holding of company meetings via electronic communication. The savings in cost, efficiency and convenience have now – courtesy of the lockdown - been experienced first-hand by many a…
Read More
Property: Don’t Pay Double Commission!

Property: Don’t Pay Double Commission!

With many property sellers allowing multiple estate agencies to market their properties in their attempts to sell during what is still (for the moment at least) a buyer’s market, now is perhaps a good time to remind both sellers and buyers of the double commission danger. Consider this scenario – you mandate an agent who introduces a potential buyer to your property, but no acceptable offer results. Later on you bring another agent in, and this time the same buyer makes an acceptable offer. Q: Which agent must you pay commission to – the agent who originally introduced the buyer…
Read More
Property Subsidence: New Law, Strict Liability and Ubuntu

Property Subsidence: New Law, Strict Liability and Ubuntu

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare – your property starts subsiding and as the tell-tale cracks in the living room widen alarmingly, it begins to dawn on you that your whole house is at risk of collapse. The cause must, you decide, be your neighbour’s excavations for a new house/garage/swimming pool. You approach said neighbour for a friendly chat and a request to do something about it urgently. “Sorry” replies your neighbour, “not my fault, I am building exactly according to approved plans so it’s your problem.” So where do you stand legally? A recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision of…
Read More
Lockdown “Admission of Guilt” Fines – The Criminal Record Risk

Lockdown “Admission of Guilt” Fines – The Criminal Record Risk

Breaking any of our lockdown laws can be an expensive business, risking heavy penalties. If you are accused of a contravention and offered the option of paying an “admission of guilt” fine to avoid a court appearance, beware! It may seem like the easy way out to pay up and put the whole thing behind you but it could land you with a criminal record. Read more: Traffic Fines and Admissions of Guilt – Will They Earn You a Criminal Record? You really don’t want to have a criminal record! Having a criminal record comes with serious and lifelong negative…
Read More