Category Archives: Property

OCCUPIERS WHO CAN’T BE EVICTED UNDER THE EST ACT

The Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (PIE Act) provides, inter alia, the procedures for the eviction of unlawful occupiers. Section 1 of the PIE Act defines an “unlawful occupier” as someone who occupies land without the express or tacit consent of the owner or person in charge or without any other right in law to occupy the land. This definition expressly excludes a person who is an occupier in terms of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (EST Act). Section 29 (2) of the EST Act states that the provisions of the PIE Act will not apply to an occupier in respect of land which he is entitled to occupy in terms of this Act. Who are occupiers in terms of the EST Act and why are they excluded from the ambit of The PIE Act?

The EST Act

The EST Act has as its aim the provision of measures to facilitate long-term secured land tenure with state assistance. This Act grants occupiers the right to obtain a secured long-term right to occupancy with the permission of the owner, upon request on or after 4 February 1997.

Occupiers of rural land, farms and undeveloped land are specifically protected under this Act. The EST Act does not apply to, inter alia, occupiers living in already proclaimed township areas, land invaders, labour tenants and people using land for mining and industrial purposes and for commercial farming purposes. Occupiers in terms of the EST Act receive a secured right in law to live on and use the land they have been occupying, under permission, for continued periods of time. The occupier thus enjoys protection of this right and as a result such a secured right may not be unreasonably altered or cancelled by the owner or person in charge of the land without notice to, and the permission and/or consent of, the occupier. This includes protection against unfair or arbitrary eviction and, in fact, provides its own specific mechanisms for the eviction of long-term secured occupants, which must be followed.

Actions such as the removal of a right to occupancy, access to the land, water or electricity, denial of family or visitors on the said land and the prohibition of the use of the land for personal reasons are all forms of evictions in terms of the EST Act and are strictly regulated by this Act when applicable to occupiers classified under and granted rights in terms of this Act.

Conclusion

Many occupiers of land who do so with the proper and necessary consent and permission of the owner are not aware that they possess tenure rights to occupy the land on a long-term basis. Unless such an occupier commits a serious wrong or fails to honour any terms of the agreement with the owner, he/she may not be arbitrarily evicted in terms of any eviction process available to owners, including those available under the PIE Act. Such occupier’s rights are protected and regulated under the EST Act.

References:

Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998; www.sarflii.org/za/legis/consol_act/poiefauoola1998627/ (accessed 11 March 2016);

Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997; www.justice.gov.za/lcc/docs/1997-062.pdf (accessed 11 March 2016);

People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty, PASSOP, www.passop.co.za/your-rights/housing-rights-esta (accessed 11 March 2016).

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

WHEN IS A TENANT AN ILLEGAL OCCUPANT?

Where the Contract of Lease is breached in any way by the tenant and he or she after receiving notice thereof has not remedied such a breach within the period agreed upon, then the landlord may cancel the contract. The tenant will be found to be an illegal occupier in this instance.

Where a tenant fails to perform as agreed upon in his Lease agreement, he will be found to be in breach of that agreement. An example of this is a failure to pay rent timeously or at all. The landlord must notify the tenant in writing of his decision to terminate the contract by means of a letter of cancellation, allowing the tenant a reasonable period, or such timeframe as agreed upon in terms of such a lease, to vacate the property.

If the tenant chooses to ignore the notice of cancellation of the lease agreement by remaining on the property and continuing to use and enjoy it, the tenant will be regarded as an illegal occupier of the property. The same applies if the tenant continues to occupy the property after the expiration of the initial lease period. An illegal occupier may be evicted from the rented property by the landlord or owner. This will be done at a Magistrate’s or High Court and for that the services of a lawyer will be required.

There is no longer a Common Law right to evict someone. Instead the owner or landlord must follow the procedures and provisions of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of land Act 19 of 1998 (hereinafter referred to as the “PIE Act”). The tenant must be notified of the pending action, by means of a Notice of Intention to Evict and this must be done at least 14 days before the date of the court hearing. This notice must also be sent to the respective Municipality involved.

On the date of the hearing, the court will consider factors such as whether the person is an unlawful occupier, whether the owner has reasonable grounds for eviction and alternative accommodation available to the tenant. It is now considered a criminal offence to evict someone without a court order to that effect. Constructive eviction, for instance, where a landlord cuts the water or electricity supply to the property in order to “drive” the tenants out, is a criminal offence.

The type of action or application that your legal representative will bring will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the matter. Such actions or applications can be heard in the Magistrate’s or High Court, depending on the value of the occupation and not the leased property value. The lease agreement may also have a clause embodied in it where the parties agree to a particular court’s jurisdiction, where upon that will be followed. If the court proceedings are successful a Warrant of Ejectment may be issued, whereupon the owner or landlord may proceed with the eviction of the illegal occupier.

Once the owner or the proprietor of the leased property has followed all the prescribed procedures as laid out in the PIE Act and they have established that their tenant is considered an unlawful occupier then they may proceed with the above-mentioned steps in order to evict them from their property.

An unlawful occupier may be removed from the premises upon the instruction of an Eviction Order / Warrant of Eviction with the assistance of the Sheriff of the respective court at a minimal fee. The steps laid out in the PIE Act are simple to understand and follow allowing a transparent and fair chance to both the landlord and the tenant in these difficult situations.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

PAY YOUR LEVIES, OR ELSE…

Dear Mr Lawyer

I am the owner of a sectional title, and I have paid my levies every month as required, until the water started seeping through the ceiling of my enclosed balcony into my section when it rains. The leak was clearly emanating from a defect in the common property. I asked the body corporate on numerous occasions to repair the defect, yet after four months of writing letters and sending emails the body corporate still has not done anything to honour this simple request. As a frustrated owner I resorted to desperate measures and employed a contractor to repair the property defect. I settled the bill myself.

May I withhold my levies for a period to set off the money that is owed to me by the body corporate?

Dear Mr Owner

Although this action may sound reasonable, the right to stop paying or to set off a debt against levies is not legally justified and owners are not, under any circumstances, entitled to simply withhold levies.

There is no provision in the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 or the rules that gives an owner the right to withhold levy payments. Even if an owner incurs expense in performing an emergency repair to the common property, and believes that the body corporate owes him money, the owner may only set off the debt against the levies once it becomes liquid.

An amount can only be liquid once it has been agreed upon. An owner cannot set off the amount he believes he is entitled to deduct. The trustees, judge or arbitrator must have confirmed the amount.

If Mr Owner does withhold his levies without the amount being liquid, he is subject to the following sanctions in terms of the prescribed rules:

l Firstly, the trustees are entitled to charge interest on arrear amounts at a rate determined by them, and so the defaulting owner may receive a larger account, due to the interest on his arrears, than if he had paid his levies.

l What is more, The Sectional Titles Act imposes a positive obligation on trustees to recover levies from defaulting owners. Not only does the Act empower them to charge interest, the scheme attorneys will most likely issue summons against the defaulter for all costs that the Body Corporate may incur in recovering any arrears.

l Secondly, the prescribed management rules provide that, except in the case of special and unanimous resolutions, an owner is not entitled to vote if any contributions payable by him in respect of his section have not been duly paid. Therefore, an owner who withholds his levies is unable to vote for ordinary resolutions in respect of the section that he is withholding levies on.

Mr Lawyer, how does an owner deal with a situation where he believes the body corporate is liable for payment?

A dispute must be declared with the Body Corporate by written notice of the dispute or query to the trustees. The trustees or Body Corporate then have 14 days from receipt to resolve the dispute. During this period, the parties should meet to try and resolve the dispute. If there is no resolution after the 14-day period, either party may demand that the dispute be referred to arbitration. The arbitrator must make his/her recommendations in settlement of the dispute within 7 days from the date of commencement of the dispute. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding and may be made an order of the High Court.

It is clear that prescribed processes are in place according to which disputes and related issues can be settled. Not only will this ensure that you act within the legal guidelines, but it will also eliminate unnecessary frustration.

Copyright © Succeed Group. All rights reserved | Contact Us at info@succeedgroup.co.za

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

MEDE-EIENAARSKAP VAN GROND

Die woord “mede-eienaarskap” met betrekking tot grond beteken dat twee of meer persone ‘n stuk grond gelyktydig in onverdeelde aandele besit. ‘n Aandeel in die grond beteken nie dat  ‘n bepaalde gedeelte van die grond besit word nie. ‘n Mede-eienaar wat ‘n aandeel in grond hou, kan nie aanspraak maak op ‘n bepaalde stuk grond nie, selfs al het sy mede-eienaars by wyse van ‘n ooreenkoms ingestem om okkupasie of gebruik van ‘n bepaalde stuk grond aan hom te gee. Die reg wat hy het, is op ‘n onverdeelde aandeel in die geheel van die grond wat in gesamentlike eienaarskap gehou word. Die gedeelte wat hy okkupeer, word gesamentlik besit deur hom en sy mede-eienaars in die grond. Indien hy ‘n huis bou op die gedeelte wat hy okkupeer, sal die huis gesamentlik besit word deur al die eienaars.

Wanneer X, Y en Z  mede-eienaars van ‘n plaas is, is hulle nie geregtig op ‘n fisiese deel van die plaas nie, maar elkeen van hulle het ‘n onverdeelde aandeel in die geheel van die plaas. Die aandeelhouding sal nie noodwendig altyd gelyk wees nie. Een persoon kan ‘n halwe aandeelhouding besit, terwyl die ander twee eienaars elk ‘n vyf en twintig persent aandeel kan hou. Mede-eienaarskap kan ongelukkig soms tot geskille tussen die eienaars lei.

Samewerking tussen die mede-eienaars

Dit is raadsaam dat die mede-eienaars ‘n ooreenkoms aangaan wat die verhouding tussen hulle reguleer. Ongelukkig is hierdie ooreenkoms nie afdwingbaar teenoor derde partye nie. Die toestemming van al die mede-eienaars word vereis wanneer administratiewe besluite geneem moet word. Geen eienaar is geregtig om veranderings of verbeterings op die eiendom aan te bring sonder die toestemming van die ander eienaars nie. Al die eienaars moet saamstem oor die gebruik van die eiendom, byvoorbeeld indien hulle bome wil afkap, ’n stoorfasiliteit of -gebou wil oprig of beeste in die veld wil laat wei. As mede-eienaars nie in besluite geraadpleeg word nie kan hulle die hof nader om ‘n interdik toe te staan. Die hof kan selfs gelas dat geboue wat opgerig is, verwyder word. In gevalle waar die doel is om die eiendom te bewaar, is dit egter nie altyd nodig om die toestemming van die mede-eienaars te verkry nie.

Die winste en verliese

Al die mede-eienaars moet proporsioneel bydra tot noodsaaklike en ook nuttige uitgawes vir die bewaring van die eiendom. Dié uitgawes sluit in belasting en uitgawes om die eiendom in ‘n goeie toestand te hou, maar sluit nie luukse uitgawes in nie. Verliese en koste moet deur die mede-eienaars gedeel word, behalwe waar dit toegeskryf kan word aan nalatigheid van een van die eienaars. Soos met uitgawes, moet vrugte en winste verdeel word onder die mede-eienaars volgens elke eienaar se aandeelhouding.

Vervreemding van ‘n aandeel

‘n Mede-eienaar kan sy aandeel vervreem of selfs aan sy erfgename bemaak, sonder die toestemming van die ander eienaars, selfs teen hulle wil. Die balju kan ook beslag lê op ‘n mede-eienaar se aandeel.

Gebruik van die eiendom

Elke mede-eienaar kan die eiendom  gebruik in ooreenstemming met sy onverdeelde aandeel. Hy moet dit egter gebruik met inagneming van die regte van die ander mede-eienaars. Elke mede-eienaar, sy werknemers en gaste, is geregtig op vrye toegang tot enige deel van die eiendom, behalwe as die mede-eienaars ooreengekom het dat ‘n gedeelte van die eiendom vir die uitsluitlike gebruik van ‘n mede-eienaar gereserveer word.

Fisiese verdeling

Mede-eienaars kan besluit om die eiendom te verdeel, wat gewoonlik gebeur as hulle nie oor die benutting van die eiendom kan saamstem nie. Die eiendom sal dan fisies verdeel word in ooreenstemming met die waarde van die eiendom en elke mede-eienaar se aandeel daarin. Wanneer dit egter nie ekonomies is nie, wat gewoonlik die geval is met ‘n plaas, kan die eiendom toegeken word aan ‘n mede-eienaar, maar hy moet dan die ander mede-eienaars vergoed. Die hof kan ook beveel dat die eiendom op ‘n openbare veiling verkoop word en die opbrengs onder die mede-eienaars verdeel word. Daar is streng statutêre beheer oor die onderverdeling van grond en die gebruik daarvan, wat die onderverdeling nie altyd moontlik maak nie.

Mede-eienaarskap is een van die maniere hoe mens eienaar kan word van ‘n eiendom wat andersins nie bekostig kan word nie. Wees egter bewus van die slaggate, kies jou mede-eienaars oordeelkundig en stel ‘n ooreenkoms op om die onderlinge verhouding tussen die partye te reël ten opsigte van onder andere die betaling van die verband en erfbelasting, die dag-tot-dag uitgawes, asook die huisreëls.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Capital gains tax and the sale of a property

A1blCapital Gains Tax was introduced on 1 October 2001. Capital Gains Tax is payable on the profit a seller makes when disposing of his property.

What is meant by Capital Gain?

A person’s capital gain on an asset disposed of is the amount by which the proceeds exceed the base cost of that asset.

What is base cost?

The base cost of an asset is what you paid for it, plus the expenditure. The following can be included in calculating the base cost:

  1. The costs of acquiring the property, including the purchase price, transfer costs, transfer duty and professional fees e.g. attorney’s fees and fees paid to a surveyor and auctioneer.
  2. The cost of improvements, alterations and renovations which can be proved by invoices and/or receipts.
  3. The cost of disposing of the property, e.g. advertising costs, cost of obtaining a valuation for capital gains purposes, and estate agents’ commission.

How was base cost of assets held calculated before 1 October 2001?

If the property was acquired before 1 October 2001 you may use one of the following methods to value the property:

  1. 20% x (proceeds less expenditure incurred on or after 1 October 2001).
  2. The market value of the asset as at 1 October 2001, which valuation must have been obtained before 30 September 2004.
  3. Time-apportionment  base cost method. Original cost + (proceeds – original cost) x number of years held before 1 October 2001 divided by the number of years held before 1 October 2001 + number of years held after 1 October 2001). 

How is Capital Gains Tax paid?

Capital Gains Tax is not a separate tax from income tax. Part of a person’s capital gain is included in his taxable income. It is then subject to normal tax. A portion of the total of the taxpayer’s capital gain less capital losses for the year is included in the taxpayer’s taxable income and taxed in terms of normal tax tables.

How is Capital Gain calculated?

If you are an individual, the first R30 000 of your total capital gain will be disregarded. Then 33.3% of the capital gain made on disposal of the property must be included in the taxable income for the year of assessment in which the property is sold. When the property is owned by a company, a close corporation or an ordinary trust, 66.6% of the capital gain must be included in their taxable income.

Primary residence and Capital Gains Tax

As from 1 March 2012 the first R2 million of any capital gain on the sale of a primary residence is exempted from Capital Gains Tax. This exemption only applies where the property is registered in the name of an individual or in the name of a special trust. The property should furthermore not exceed 2 hectares. If the property is used partially for residential and partially for business purposes, an apportionment must be done.

If more than one person holds an interest in a primary residence, the exclusion will be in proportion to the interest held by each party. For example, if you and your spouse have an equal interest in the primary residence, you will each qualify for a primary residence exclusion of R1 million. You will also be entitled to the annual exclusion, currently R30 000.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.