Chris Fick & Associates

Neighbours behaving badly: Illegal buildings and demolition orders

“The approval of building plans is not a mere formality in town planning and compliance with building standards promote public safety … The courts should not permit landowners to erect illegal structures on their land and then present the authorities with a fait accompli created by their illegal actions” (Extracts from judgment below) What do […]

Owning property jointly – The rewards, the risks, and the remedy

“Co-ownership is the mother of disputes” (old Roman law maxim) There can be big advantages to buying property jointly but be aware of the risks and take steps to lessen them before you put pen to paper. The problem comes if there is a falling-out with your co-owner. Perhaps you come to blows on your […]

12 Questions to ask before you sign that deed of sale

“Knowledge is power” (old proverb) Whether you are buying or selling property, remember that it is too late to ask questions after you sign the Deed of Sale (often called a “Sale Agreement” or “Offer to Purchase”). “Knowledge is power” rings particularly true when it comes to any form of process with significant legal consequences, […]

Buying and selling property: Who pays what costs?

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing” (Warren Buffett) Don’t risk not knowing what you’re doing when you either sell or buy property. Avoid nasty shocks by budgeting properly for the costs you will incur – some of them can be substantial, and some are less obvious than others. The checklists below are of […]

Coffee with us – “For whom does the Conveyancer Act?”

From time to time the question: “For whom does the Conveyancer Act?” comes up for discussion. In most of the country (except KZN) it is the prerogative of the Seller to appoint the conveyancer. The conveyancer protects the seller’s right of ownership while securing the purchase price, attends to obtaining all clearances and permissions, providing […]

Beware the badly worded bond clause!

“The terms of the contract are the decisive criterion by which any potential expiry of a deadline has to be determined” (extract from the judgment below) A recent High Court decision provides yet another reminder to have your property sale agreement drawn (or at least checked) by a professional. Before you sign anything! As is […]

Property owners: Your rates could quadruple for unauthorised land use

“The said penalty … was imposed due to the fact that the property was being used in contradiction to its zoning” (extract from judgment below) Municipalities all have the right (and the duty) to regulate land use in their areas, and amongst other sanctions, properties that are used unlawfully or without authorisation can be subjected […]

How the Property Practitioners Act affects you

From 1 February 2022 all property sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants acquire a series of new rights and responsibilities. Although the Property Practitioners Act (“PPA”) is a complex piece of legislation and much of it will be of more interest to estate agents, conveyancers and attorney realtors than to you as a seller or buyer, […]

Noisy neighbours – Your rights, and buyers beware!

“In common law, everyone is in general permitted to use their property for any purpose they choose, provided that the use of the property should not intrude unreasonably on the use and enjoyment by the neighbours of their properties” (extract from the “gym case” below) Consider this unhappy scenario – you buy your dream home […]