Chris Fick & Associates

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Property: Are verbal agreements valid?

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” (Samuel Goldwyn) Verbal agreements in South Africa are generally as binding and valid as written ones. Of course not recording your agreements in writing is a bad idea – oral agreements are a recipe for doubt and dispute, and proving the exact terms agreed on […]

Can your bank take your money without permission?

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it” (Bob Hope) A recent High Court decision has settled the knotty question of whether your bank can take money it holds for you in one account to cover your debt to it in another, without your […]

Estate agents: Securing your trade secrets (and your commission)

“In short, it [a Fidelity Fund Certificate] is a licence to practice without which you cannot practice.” (Extract from judgment below) As an estate agent you will know that without a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) you are not entitled to any commission for the successful sales or leases you put together. All your hard […]

Beware the building deadlines when buying-to-build

Here’s yet another warning from our courts to take seriously the building deadlines commonly imposed on buyers of plots in residential estates. Failure to comply with them could expose you to heavy fines, recurring penalties and even the risk of losing your plot altogether. A Home Owners Association (HOA) imposed “double levy” penalties totalling R105k […]

Security Estates: Are your rules enforceable?

“It is well established that contractual provisions are against public policy ‘… if there is a probability that unconscionable, immoral or illegal conduct will result from the implementation of the provisions according to the tenor’” (extract from judgment below) When you choose to buy into a security estate or other community scheme, you will invariably […]

Expired firearm licences: High court to the rescue

“There is no question that firearms are hazardous objects and that possession and ownership must be strictly controlled. A failure to comply with the Act exposes the public to potential harm, especially in a society like ours where violence is rife.” (Extract from judgment below) Whilst our law quite correctly treats unlawful possession of a […]

Your property sale agreement: Be careful how it’s worded!

“In war and litigation, both sides suffer” (old Roman proverb) Here’s yet another reminder from our courts on how important it is – if you want to avoid the trials of litigation – for you to have your property sale agreement drawn up professionally. One thing it must do, as the case in question clearly shows, […]