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Month: June 2013

THE FUTURE OF A TRUST IN THE LIGHT OF NEW LEGISLATION

THE FUTURE OF A TRUST IN THE LIGHT OF NEW LEGISLATION

article4v2According to the Budget Review, government plans to introduce several legislative measures in the 2013/14 financial year which will influence the advantages offered by a trust as a legal entity. This includes the way that discretionary trusts are taxed, for example, capital gains tax that will be treated as ordinary income distributed by the trust.

From a tax point of view, the benefits of a trust might change extensively in the near future. In the light of new legislation and considering the cost involved in annual trust management, it is vital to fully understand the future of a trust to establish if it is still a valuable asset protection and financial planning tool.

Therefore MHI has invited Prof Walter Geach to present another seminar to address these complex concerns. Click here for the event programme. Do not miss this informative event! Guests will earn CPD points.

DIE TOEKOMS VAN ‘N TRUST IN DIE LIG VAN NUWE WETGEWING.

DIE TOEKOMS VAN ‘N TRUST IN DIE LIG VAN NUWE WETGEWING.

article4v2Volgens die Begroting Hersiening, beplan die regering om verskeie wetgewende maatreëls in die 2013/14 finansiële jaar bekend te stel, wat die voordele wat ‘n trust as ‘n wettige entiteit bied sal beïnvloed. Dit sluit in die manier waarop diskresionêre trusts belas word, bv. kapitaalwinsbelasting wat as gewone inkomste hanteer sal word en deur die trust versprei word.

Uit ‘n belasting oogpunt, kan die voordele van ‘n trust op groot skaal verander in die nabye toekoms. In die lig van nuwe wetgewing en die oorweging van die koste verbonde aan die jaarlikse trust bestuur, is dit noodsaaklik om ten volle te verstaan ​​wat die toekoms van ‘n trust is om vas te stel of dit steeds ‘n waardevolle bate beskerming en finansiële beplanning hulpmiddel is.

Daarom het MHI vir Prof Walter Geach uitgenooi om nog n seminaar aan te bied om hierdie komplekse probleme aan te spreek. Kliek hier vir die gebeurtenis program. Moet nie hierdie leersame geleentheid misloop nie! Gaste sal CPD punte verdien.

VERKOPERS SE BESKERMING BEPERK ONDER VOETSTOOTSKLOUSULE

VERKOPERS SE BESKERMING BEPERK ONDER VOETSTOOTSKLOUSULE

article1bVerkopers se beskerming onder die voetstootsklousule in ‘n koopkontrak vir die verkoop van onroerende eiendom, is dalk nie so “absoluut” soos sommige mense dink nie.  Dit bly steeds die verkopers se plig om alle latente (verborge) gebreke in die eiendom aan voornemende kopers uit te wys.

Verkopers se versuim om hieraan gehoor te gee, kan hulle duur te staan kom, soos in die onlangse saak Banda & Fynn v van der Spuy (781/2011) [2013] ZASCA 23 (22 Maart 2013) in die Appèlhof beslis is.

‘n Latente gebrek is byvoorbeeld ‘n lekkende dak of ‘n warmwatersilinder wat probleme veroorsaak, basies enige fout wat nie met die blote oog gesien kan word nie. Voornemende kopers sal byvoorbeeld nie gedurende die ‘droë’ maande watermerke op ‘n plafon kan sien as bewys van ‘n lekkende dak nie.

In die bogemelde saak het die verkopers nagelaat om die kopers in te lig oor die werklike skade wat aan hulle woning se grasdak aangerig is. Die verkopers het herstelwerk aangebring nadat hul bewus geword het van die lekkende dak. By verdere ondersoek deur kenners is egter vasgestel dat die oorsaak van die lekkasies tweevoudig was. Eerstens was die houtpale wat die grasdak ondersteun het onvoldoende om die gewig van die dak te dra en het dit veroorsaak dat die dak stelselmatig inmekaarsak. Tweedens was die betrokke woning se dakhelling slegs 35 grade, wat veroorsaak het dat reënwater in die dak insyfer en die dak dus gouer laat verrot het. Die kenners het getuig dat die helling van ‘n grasdak minstens 45 grade moet wees vir water om van die dak af te kan vloei. Die aanvanklike herstelwerk was dus nie voldoende om die lekkasie te verhoed nie. Die kopers het eers ná registrasie van die eiendom op hul naam agter die kap van die byl gekom en die verkopers moes opdok om die dak te herbou, aangesien die probleem nie permanent opgelos kon word deur slegs herstelwerk aan te bring nie. Alhoewel die verkopers nie van die groter probleem (die onvoldoende helling van die dak) bewus was nie, is hulle steeds aanspreeklik gehou aangesien hulle bewus was van die feit dat die herstelwerk nie die probleem permanent sou oplos nie.

Patente gebreke aan die ander kant, bly steeds die koper se verantwoordelikheid. Voornemende kopers kan dus nie terugsit en aanvaar dat, indien gebreke na okkupasie van die eiendom opduik, die verkopers aanspreeklik gehou sal word nie. Patente gebreke word gedefinieer as gebreke wat sigbaar is tydens ‘n gewone ondersoek.* ‘n Voorbeeld van ‘n patente gebrek is krake in ‘n muur. Dit is voornemende kopers se plig om verkopers uit te vra oor die stand van sake en waarborge van die verkopers oor gebreke in die eiendom op skrif te kry.

Daar rus dus ‘n wedersydse verantwoordelikheid op kopers en verkopers rakende gebreke in ‘n eiendom. Verkopers moet eerlik wees oor enige latente gebreke en kopers moet, wanneer hulle ‘n potensiële woning besigtig, uitkyk vir patente gebreke. Dit is egter wys uit ‘n verkoper se oogpunt om eerder ‘n verminderde koopprys met kopers te onderhandel weens gebreke in die eiendom, as om moontlik ná registrasie van die eiendom deur die kopers aanspreeklik gehou te word vir herstelwerk wat groot finansiële implikasies kan hê.

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.

SELLER’S PROTECTION UNDER VOETSTOOTS CLAUSE LIMITED

SELLER’S PROTECTION UNDER VOETSTOOTS CLAUSE LIMITED

article1bA seller’s protection under the “voetstoots” clause in a deed of sale for immovable property is not as “absolute” as some might think.  It is still the seller’s duty to inform prospective purchasers about all latent (hidden) defects in a property.

A seller’s failure to do so could cost the seller in the long run, as per a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Banda & Fynn v van der Spuy (781/2011) [2013] ZASCA 23 (22 March 2013).

Examples of latent defects are a leaking roof or a faulty geyser. It basically includes any defects that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Prospective purchasers will, for example, not see water marks on a ceiling resulting from a leaking roof, in “dry” months.

In the abovementioned case the sellers failed to inform the purchasers about the true extent of the damage to the property’s roof. The sellers were aware of the fact that the roof leaked and had some repairs done to it to try and fix the problem. On closer inspection by specialists it was found that the cause of the leaks was twofold. Firstly, the wooden roof poles were inadequate to properly support the weight of the thatch roof and resulted in the gradual sagging of the roof. Secondly, the pitch of the property’s thatch roof was only 35 degrees and not 45 degrees as it should be, which would have at least ensured that rain water would run off the roof. The specialists testified that due to the pitch of the roof being 35 degrees, water ran into the roof and caused the thatch to rot more quickly. It was found that the initial repairs were therefore not sufficient to stop the roof from leaking in future. The purchasers only discovered this after registration of the property and the sellers had to fork out to replace the roof, as the problem could not be permanently solved by doing repairs to it. Even though the sellers were not aware of the bigger problem, namely the incorrect pitch of the roof, they were still held liable because they were aware that the repairs which they had done were not adequate.

On the other hand, patent defects are still the purchaser’s responsibility. Prospective purchasers cannot sit back and think that if any problems occur after occupation, the sellers will be held liable. A patent defect is defined as “one which will be apparent on an ordinary inspection”*. An example of a patent defect will be a crack in a wall which shows through the paint. It is a prospective purchaser’s duty to ask the sellers about such defects and get all guarantees from the sellers in writing.

It is clear that a mutual responsibility rests on sellers and purchasers regarding defects in a property. Sellers should be honest regarding latent defects and purchasers should be vigilant, when viewing a property, for any patent defects. It will be wise for sellers to rather negotiate a lower purchase price due to defects in a property, and to disclose them to the purchaser. Failing to be honest with the purchaser could have huge financial implications for the seller after registration of the property.

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.

TRUSTEES OF BODY CORPORATE NOT ALLOWED TO DISCONNECT ELECTRICITY OR WATER SUPPLY TO A SECTION AS A DEBT COLLECTION MEASURE

TRUSTEES OF BODY CORPORATE NOT ALLOWED TO DISCONNECT ELECTRICITY OR WATER SUPPLY TO A SECTION AS A DEBT COLLECTION MEASURE

article2bThe default of levy payments is a frequent problem for the trustees of body corporates as well as the managing agent. It is the way in which the defaulting owner is treated and the outstanding debt collected, that will make the difference between a functioning, financially stable sectional title scheme or an impending disaster zone.

In these testing economic times, monthly levy payments are sometimes considered by owners of sectional title sections to be an optional expense in making ends meet on a tight budget. Once an owner has got away with defaulting on one payment, habitual default becomes easy, and more so if the trustees and management agent are slow to react to the failure to pay. The problem is worsened by the fact that the monthly levy is carefully calculated prior to the annual general meeting to be the minimum amount possible, in an attempt to accommodate the owners. However, these small monthly levies could easily accrue over a few months to a significant amount, aggravated by interest and reflected as a substantial outstanding debt.

These non-payers place severe financial restraints on the cash flow of a body corporate which is largely dependent on the timeous monthly payments by all its members to fulfil its monthly obligations to, inter alia, municipalities regarding water and common area electricity usage, security, and general upkeep of the property. If the body corporate does not have large financial reserves on which it can rely in the event of default by its members, the impact of the default can be severe and can cause unnecessary hardship for other owners. There are known instances of special levies raised in order to assist the body corporate in its financial hardship.Many trustees and managing agents, in order to recover outstanding amounts, revert to taking the law into their own hands by cutting off the water and electricity supply to such members’ sections or units. Some have even passed rules which allow for such actions. Justifications for these actions by trustees and management agents are abundant, but none of these are legally sound or will stand in court.By withholding the water and/or electricity supply to the section, whether or not it is allowed for in the rules, the trustees and management agent not only disregard the owner’s constitutional rights to access to water as well as the provisions of the electricity act, but also specific stipulations of the Sectional Title Act, Act 95 of 1986 as amended (“the Act”) and confirmed in case law. Such trustees and managing agents expose themselves and the trustees in their personal capacity, to an application by the owner and/or the occupier, against the spoliation of such services, or access with a court order for immediate re-connection. The body corporate or management agent may not interfere with water and electricity services rendered to a section or unit. The penalty will be a cost order, if not granted on a punitive scale, red faces, and a lot to answer to at the next annual general meeting.

The Act clearly stipulates in Section 37(2) that trustees must approach by action any court, including the Magistrate’s court, for recovery of any and all contributions levied under the provision of Section 37(1), which include monthly levies, special levies, interest, and legal costs on attorney and client scale.

The trustees and managing agent have no choice herein. Prompt debt collection action taken against any owner immediately on default, will be the best defence. Therefore the trustees must ensure that the appointed management agent either has a proven track record or a detailed collection policy prior to appointment of such agent. We all know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and that it can take months for the default judgment to be granted and the warrant issued. By delaying the collection process the outstanding levy account increases exponentially, together with the burden on paying owners.

Therefore, the trustees themselves should keep a watchful eye on monthly payments and ensure that defaulting owners are immediately contacted by the management agent and, if they persist in the default, handed over to competent attorneys for collection. The sooner, the better. The old adage “absentee landlords gather no crops” is fitting, and trustees should ensure that the management agents attend to defaulters speedily and effectively in the interest of both their own property investment and that of the other owners in the sectional title scheme.

For further reading, see the judgement by Blieden J with Serobe AJ concurring in Queensgate Body Corporate v MJV Claesen delivered on 26 November 1998 in the Witwatersrand Local Division, case number A3076/1998, and case law referred to therein.

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.

WEN KAARTJIES OM VIR BOK VAN BLERK, MATTHYS ROETS OF HELENA HETTEMA TE SIEN

WEN KAARTJIES OM VIR BOK VAN BLERK, MATTHYS ROETS OF HELENA HETTEMA TE SIEN

article3bBesoek die nuwe MHI Facebook-blad en jy kan een van ses gelukkige wenners wees om Bok van Blerk, Matthys Roets of Helena Hettema te sien wat by Die Boer in Durbanville optree.

Wenners sal hul gunsteling optrede kies en MHI sal vir die bespreking betaal. Kliek hier en LIKE ons splinternuwe Facebook-blad en jy kan een van die gelukkige wenners wees. Die MHI Facebook-blad sal jou op hoogte hou met die jongste nuus, direk uit die MHI kantoor. Bekom nog n inskrywing in ons kompetisie deur die bladsy met jou vriende op Facebook te“share”.

WIN TICKETS TO SEE BOK VAN BLERK, MATTHYS ROETS OR HELENA HETTEMA

WIN TICKETS TO SEE BOK VAN BLERK, MATTHYS ROETS OR HELENA HETTEMA

article3bVisit the new MHI Facebook page and you can be one of six lucky winners to see Bok van Blerk, Matthys Roets or Helena Hettema performing at Die Boer in Durbanville.

Winners will be able to select their favorite show and MHI will pay for the booking. Click here and LIKE our brand new Facebook page and you can be one of the lucky winners. The MHI Facebook page will keep you up to date with the latest news, straight from the MHI office. Get another entry into our competition by sharing the page with your friends on Facebook.

TRUSTEES VAN BEHEERLIGGAAM MAG NIE WATER OF ELEKTRISITEIT NA ‘N EENHEID AFSNY AS ‘N SKULDINVORDERINGSMETODE NIE

TRUSTEES VAN BEHEERLIGGAAM MAG NIE WATER OF ELEKTRISITEIT NA ‘N EENHEID AFSNY AS ‘N SKULDINVORDERINGSMETODE NIE

article2bVir sowel die trustees van ‘n beheerliggaam as die bestuursagent is die wanbetaling van heffings ‘n probleem wat kort-kort opduik. Dit is egter die wyse waarop die wanbetaler hanteer en die uitstaande skuld ingevorder word, wat die verskil gaan maak tussen ‘n behoorlik funksionerende en finansieel gesonde deeltitelskema, of ‘n dreigende rampgebied.

In hierdie taai ekonomiese tye beskou baie eienaars van eenhede in deeltitelskemas die betaling van die maandelikse heffing as ‘n opsionele uitgawe ten einde ‘n knypende begroting te laat klop. As ‘n eienaar eers eenmaal daarmee weggekom het om nie die heffing te betaal nie, word so ‘n eienaar maklik ‘n gewoonte-wanbetaler, des te meer waar die Trustees en bestuursagent stadig reageer op die wanbetaling. Die probleem word vererger deur die feit dat die maandelikse heffings versigtig bereken word voor die algemene jaarvergadering om so klein as moontlik te wees, juis ten einde eienaars tegemoet te kom. Klein heffings word egter maklik oor ‘n paar maande ‘n wesentlike uitstaande skuld, vererger deur opgelope rente.

Die kontantvloei van ‘n beheerliggaam, wat grootliks afhanklik is van tydige betalings deur al die lede om die maandelikse verpligtinge, byvoorbeeld munisipale rekeninge vir waterverbruik, sekuriteit, die elektrisiteitsverbruik van gemeenskaplike areas en die gewone instandhouding van die eiendom na te kom, word ernstig benadeel deur wanbetalers. Waar ‘n beheerliggaam nie groot finansiële reserwes het om op te steun in die geval van wanbetaling deur die lede nie, kan ‘n paar wanbetalers ‘n onnodige finansiële las op ander lede plaas. Spesiale heffings is al in sommige gevalle ingestel om die beheerliggaam in staat te stel om die nodigste finansiële verpligtinge na te kom.

Baie trustees en bestuursagente neem soms die reg in eie hande ten einde die uitstaande bedrae in te vorder. Van hierdie metodes sluit die (onwettige) afsny van elektrisiteits- en watertoevoer na die eenhede in. In sommige gevalle het die beheerliggaam selfs reëls goedgekeur wat hierdie tipe optrede en aksies verplig. Daar is legio regverdigings vir hierdie optrede deur trustees en bestuursagente, waarvan geen op goeie regsbeginsels berus of sal steek hou in die hof nie.

Waar trustees of bestuursagente die elektrisiteits- en/of watertoevoer van die betrokke eenheid (onwettig) afsny, of daarvoor voorsiening gemaak is in die reëls of nie, druis dit nie net in teen die eienaar se grondwetlike reg op water en teen die elektrisiteitswetgewing nie, maar is lynreg in botsing met die spesifieke bepalings van die Wet op Deeltitelskemas, Wet 95 van 1986 soos gewysig (“die Wet”). Hierdie standpunt is deur die howe bevestig. Sodanige trustees en bestuursagente, en die trustees in hul persoonlike hoedanigheid, loop die risiko van ‘n aansoek deur die eienaar of okkupeerder teen die spoliëring van sulke dienste, of vir toegang met ‘n hofbevel vir onmiddellike aansluiting. Die beheerliggaam of bestuursagent mag nie inbreuk maak op elektrisiteits- of watertoevoer aan ‘n eenheid nie. ‘n Kostebevel ten gunste van die eienaar of okkupeerder, indien nie op ‘n bestrawwende skaal nie, rooi gesigte en baie vrae om te beantwoord op die volgende algemene vergadering, kan die lot van sulke trustees en die bestuursagent wees.

Die wet is onomwonde voorskriftelik in artikel 37 (2) en bepaal dat Trustees enige hof, insluitende die Landdroshof, in ‘n aksie moet nader vir die verhaling van enige en alle bydraes gehef ingevolge artikel 37(1), wat kan insluit maandelikse heffings, spesiale heffings, rente, en regskoste op ‘n prokureur- en klienteskaal. Nóg die trustees nóg die bestuursagent het enige keuse hieroor.

Tydige invorderingsoptrede teen eienaars wanneer wanbetaling geskied, is die beste verweer. Die trustees moet derhalwe seker maak dat die aangestelde bestuursagent óf ‘n bewese invorderingsgeskiedenis óf ‘n gedetailleerde invorderingsplan het. Ons is almal deeglik bewus daarvan dat die gereg sy eie gang gaan en dat dit soms maande kan neem voordat ‘n verstekvonnis toegestaan en die lasbrief uitgereik is. Uitstel van die invorderingsproses vererger die probleem met die uitstaande heffingsrekening wat in ‘n oogwink ‘n kommerwekkende bedrag kan beloop, met ‘’n gepaardgaande addisionele las vir betalende eienaars.

Trustees moet daarom maandelikse betalings wat ontvang word goed dophou en verseker dat wanbetalers onmiddellik en sonder versuim deur die bestuursagent aangespreek word. As die wanbetaler volhard in sy optrede moet die aangeleentheid so spoedig moontlik oorhandig word aan ‘n bevoegde invorderingsprokureur. Hoe gouer, hoe beter. Die ou gesegde van “ver van jou goed is naby jou skade” is in hierdie geval baie toepaslik. Trustees moet verseker dat die bestuursagent spoedig en effektief aan wanbetaling aandag skenk, nie net in belang van hul eie eiendomsbelegging nie, maar ook die belang van ander eienaars in dieselfde deeltitelskema.

Lees gerus die uistpraak van Blieden R, met Serobe WR instemmend, in die aangeleentheid van Queensgate Body Corporate v MJV Claesen gelewer op 26 November 1998 in die Witwatersrand Plaaslike Afdeling onder saaknommer A3076/1998, en die ander sake waarna daarin verwys word.

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.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR NEXT?

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR NEXT?

article2bWe would appreciate your input to establish relevant topics for the next seminar. Click on the links below to let us know what you would like to see included in the next seminar programme.

Option 1: Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) / New BEE codes
Option 2: An introduction to BBBEE / How to improve your BEE rating
Option 3: Companies Act and the responsibilities of Directors
Option 4: I would like to suggest a different topic

BAIE GELUK AAN DIE MHI FACEBOOK WENNERS

BAIE GELUK AAN DIE MHI FACEBOOK WENNERS

article3bBaie geluk aan die wenners van ons Mei MHI Facebook kompetisie. Liza Oberholzer, Amanda Goosen, Ben van Rensburg, Justtobe Renier en Amelia Putter Weideman het die afgelope maand op ons MHI Facebook bladsy gekuier.

Hulle gaan binnekort ‘n vertoning  by Die Boer Teater bywoon met komplimente van MHI Prokureurs. Hierdie wenners kan vir Helané Meintjes kontak by 083 3323 886 of contact@mhlaw.co.za om hul kaartjies af te haal.