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Seven real estate trends: 2020 and beyond
Influenced by a multitude of factors and operating in regular cycles, the real estate industry has always been one of the most dynamic, but in recent years the changes have become progressively dramatic with the next decade poised for even more significant transformation.

“Two decades ago, the way that top agents best serviced their clients was by being experts in their local markets,” says Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

“But these days a thorough understanding of your market is no longer enough; it’s also essential to be au fait with fast-changing current and emergent global trends in order to retain the edge in an increasingly competitive market.”

She believes the following are the key global trends that property professionals need to keep abreast:
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Extra charges on your levy statement: legal or not?
One of the most frustrating tasks some trustees and managing agents have to tackle, is the situation where the body corporate finds itself in financial difficulty as a direct result of some of its members failing, and/or refusing to pay their contributions (commonly referred to as “levies’).

It is from this place of frustration that trustees and managing agents often take a “desperate times call for desperate measures” approach and unlawfully place certain amounts on the defaulting member’s levy statement. While it is completely understandable that the trustees feel the need to take action to force the defaulting owner to make payment as a matter of urgency, it is important that they act in a lawful and appropriate manner when doing so. Here are some things to remain mindful of in such circumstances:
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First ‘green shoots’ in Cape property market now evident
There are clear signs that an upturn is likely to be seen in the Cape Town residential property market over the next 12 months according to Rowan Alexander, Director of the estate agency Alexander Swart Property, who says that the first evidence is the big improvement in the morale and sentiments of the agents in recent weeks - not only those in his company, but also elsewhere.

This, Alexander believes is always an accurate indicator of what is yet to come and he is witnessing it “across the board”.

Such revivals are usually complemented by upturns in other businesses, especially those with cash sales. One example is the motor accessories trade (as revealed by a close contact) where there are already signs of a significant increase in sales. Another example is the small builder and renovation/upgrade enterprises throughout Cape Town who are now experiencing a regular supply of work.
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Tenants’ rights given teeth with prepaid sub-metering
A bad relationship between tenant and landlord or managing agent can change a home into a truly unpleasant living environment. Disputes about utility payments remains one of the biggest potential areas of conflict. But nothing can end an argument faster than indisputable evidence.

Citiq Prepaid managing director, Michael Franze, looks at how prepaid metering can work for the consumer and help to quickly resolve unfair utility overbilling.

Most South Africans are now familiar with the Consumer Protection Act. And while they may not be overtly aware that local policy is moving towards the overarching aim of regulating for the consumer, most tenants know that rental law is weighted in their favour, says Franze.

However, he says when it comes to electricity billing disputes between tenants and landlords, the rights and recourse open to consumers still remains a little opaque.
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