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Levies can be as high as owners like



Levies should be set at the budget meeting based on the expected running costs of your building or complex. 

All owners should be at the meeting so that there can be consensus on what owners want included and after agreement the levy is set. 

But the levy will depend on what type of owners a given building or complex has.

Some building owners just want the basic.

The concept here is to have a minimal budget and no frills.

Nothing wrong with this, as long as owners understand that if you don’t keep up with maintenance it will come back to bite you in the budget.

You should never cut the budget to set the levy at a level that you want to pay.

Budget is king.

Other buildings have owners that are looking for a good standard of living and are prepared to pay for some extras. 

What these extras are depends on what the owners of these buildings see as essential and what they see as a luxury.

In this type of building the majority of residents are likely to be owners.

They will want to see their building well looked after, the gardens neat and well maintained and would be prepared to pay for small extras. 

They will want pretty gardens and will pay for its upkeep to the standard that they want to see.

The painting will be done more often and not left until it is peeling.

The roofing will be routinely serviced rather than waiting for leaks to happen.

Top-of-the range buildings will go that extra mile to have security and comfort.

Here the owners will be upgrading their building with better security, CCTV, making changes to make the building look more modern and won’t be afraid to pay for what they want.

Full-time security, for example, can be really expensive, except in the largest buildings, but if you want that level of security and are prepared to pay for it, you could have it in the smallest building.

This can cause friction.

For example, when it comes to spending money on painting, an owner that wants to sell in the next year will vote for a basic painting job at the cheapest price so that the levy is not raised to a level that will put off potential buyers – even when the painting job will not last.

At the same time, an owner that is staying there will want the job done properly and to last the full eight years.

This is why it is so important for all owners to go to the budget meeting so that they can look after their interest.

  • 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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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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