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No rush back to the office

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LOW DEMAND . . . There are large numbers of vacant and under-utilised offices across the city

While there are a few owners who want staff back in the office in order to start having face-to-face meetings, online meetings have become the norm.

It is just another indication that the demand for office space is not likely to grow soon, particularly in Bloemfontein.

We can see in the market that there are large numbers of vacant and under-utilised offices across the city.

The demand is simply not there.

What can be done with these offices to create an income?

Firstly, we should remember that many of them are simply converted houses, so a possible solution is to return them to their original use as a single home or to split them into a number of smaller apartments.

The market for such units is good now and it is a realistic option, provided that bathroom facilities are there or can be easily put in.

Secondly, the same can be said for small offices, especially in Westdene as most house-sized units are too large for smaller businesses.

Something needs to be done because landlords cannot continue to suffer from these properties standing vacant.

And if you have tried looking for a nice place to stay, it seems there are very few quality residential places to let.

Even if you are prepared to pay over the odds to rent something neater, newer, or nearer to work, you are going to be disappointed.

Apart from Langenhoven Park and a few areas in the north, there has been very little development taking place around the city.

Even fewer of these areas have allowed for the development of flats or apartments, so the new supply is very limited compared to the current demand.

Any middle-of-the-road potential tenant will find it near impossible to find an affordable luxury apartment to rent – at any price.

It is quite surprising because the cost of land is high and putting three times the units on a site should be a preferred option for developers and reduces this cost per unit by two thirds.

Servicing an area of flats is going to be less than servicing an area of single-storey units.

With relatively large flat sites compared to individual stands the services are simpler, the roads are far fewer and cheaper to construct in total.

It is disappointing that developers have not taken these new dynamics on board and are still developing small sites that cannot accommodate more than 25 units while the demand for large multi-unit developments remains high.

  • 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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Property

Gas it out, give Eskom the boot

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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

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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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Property

Duets are sectional title too

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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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