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Do I push rentals and have a vacant property or be realistic with my current tenant?



The rental market changes over time, generally in an upwards direction but occasionally down.

In the residential market, because of the interference by government acts, the tendency has been to change to two months’ notice.

But for commercial, there are less controls and leases tend to be three-five years with options to renew.

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, all types of rentals have been in demand though student accommodation is battling a bit.

Landlords who take into account the market when their lease is up for renewal or their property goes empty don’t have a problem getting a new tenant if their price is right.

Rentals are a balance between what the landlord will accept and what the tenant can afford and is willing to pay.

Landlords don’t decide on rentals, tenants do.

If one tenant offers too little the landlord will not accept their offer.

If another offers an acceptable rental the landlord and the tenant will come to an agreement.

The reason why there is a factor in the market is either that the landlord is asking too much or the tenant is offering too little.

The market is always balanced but some landlords in particular seem to think that if they stick to their over ambitious rental, a miraculous tenant will someday appear.

It can happen but it’s highly unlikely.

I can recall when Taiwanese-Chinese nationals arrived in the Free State to take up the tax-free development areas in Thaba Nchu they were gobsmacked with the perceived low prices for homes in Bloemfontein.

Many paid double the going rate. But they soon learned.

Letting your place stay empty when you have a good tenant prepared to pay a fair price is just silly.

If your rental is R10 000 per month and you get an offer of R8 000, you seriously need to consider it.

If your office stays open for just one month, then effectively you have lost R0 or the equivalent of the “loss” that you would have made by letting the offices at R9 000 for 10 months.

If you leave it empty for two months then it climbs to one and a half years.

What I am trying to say?

If your place stays empty, then you are losing a month’s rental every month it stands empty.

By letting it for R1 000 less just one month sooner, it will take nine months before you are in the same situation that you would have done by letting it at “your” full rental.

It is very difficult to catch up on lost income due to an empty property.

Rather a bird in the hand than nothing at all.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.


Gas it out, give Eskom the boot



ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION . . . Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general

Electricity has simply become unaffordable. And, as if that’s not enough, it’s not always available.

In recent months, the power utility has been churning out media statements explaining the loss of generation at various power stations and pleading with consumers to use electricity sparingly.

While the updates are important, consumers naturally expect electricity to be available whenever they turn on the switch.

The recent tariff hike of over seven percent in Mangaung Metro has proved quite steep to most households and it might not be far-fetched to expect another round of hikes in the coming months.

I strongly believe it’s now time to seriously consider other practical solutions to end this double inconvenience of high prices and inavailabilty of electricity.

Alternatives like solar and gas could ease the problem quite significantly but it comes at a cost.

In fact, the installation costs might be quite discouraging, but once the systems are in place, there are no major expenses to be incurred – this including solar electricity, solar water heaters and gas.

Electrical geysers chew electricity while solar heaters are effective and efficient.

Natural gas is also a realistic alternative.

The system is cheaper to install by far and gas cylinders normally last for months.

Gas can be used for heating water, ovens and stoves in general.

Larger systems can also have central heating.

Gas is readily available and suppliers have delivery services for 10kg cylinders and above.

And unlike electricity, gas geysers only heat water on demand, which means that you don’t sit around with pre-heated water in your geyser.

It only heats on demand.

And when cooking, pans heat up quickly and, importantly, cool down when the gas is switched off.

It is a different type of heat and is great for making oven bread.

Worth a try!

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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Langenhoven Park chain store robbed



SHOP ROBBERY . . . The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park

Bainsvlei police in Bloemfontein have launched a manhunt for suspects involved in business robbery at a chain store at The Walk Centre in Langenhoven Park on Wednesday.

The complainant, who is the manager of the shop, told the police that two men walked into the shop pretending to be customers before robbing the shop.

“Suddenly they pulled out firearms and accosted the four cashiers and instructed them to walk back into the complainant’s office,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in a statement.

“The suspects robbed the shop of different brands of cellular telephones as well as an undisclosed amount of money, and fled the scene in a white Renault Clio with registration number HRT 558 FS,” he added.

Police were called to the scene and they are now investigating a case of business robbery.

Covane said anyone who might have information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects may contact Captain Thapelo Motseki on 082 466 8405 or call the SAPS Crime Stop number: 08600 10111. Alternatively, information can be sent via MySAPS App. – Staff Reporter

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Duets are sectional title too



A duet unit is by definition a two-unit sectional title scheme. Or at least is supposed to be.

However, I have seen these mini schemes with up to five units. Not sure how they get away with it.

Either way they are still mini sectional title schemes and have to be treated like their big brothers – but they aren’t.

Usually, each owner has their own rates account, own water and electricity account and just does their own thing. But that is where the complications come in.

Some owners have a bond and thus insurance. Some bought cash and forgot.

A body corporate is supposed to have a body corporate policy on all the buildings.

Let’s say that there is a fire in an insured unit but it also results in the building down of an uninsured unit.

And because this is a body corporate and all parties are trustees that are expected to have a body corporate policy, they will be equally negligent.

That means that the owner will have to pay 50 percent — or whatever the Participation Quota (PQ) ratio is — of the uninsured unit owner’s loss.

Would you like to be in that position? I don’t think so.

The same applies to maintenance.

So, if your neighbour thinks that his roof needs to be replaced, you will be liable for that same PQ part of the replacement cost.

The trouble is that nothing will happen while everyone is happy and things are running smoothly, but when there is a major problem, people look for solutions to their financial crisis.

It’s not worth it.

Run your mini scheme properly and contact Community Schemes Ombud Service if your neighbour won’t.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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