Warning: Property Email Scams Surging

"Forewarned is Forearmed!" (Wise old saying)

 

Why yet another warning about cyber-scams in the property industry? It's because the hard fact is that the criminals are winning this war. In fact we are now reportedly the "second most targeted country in the world with regard to cyber-attacks" (Law Society of South Africa).

Continue Reading

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 permission and without notice to you.

Continue Reading

Unlawful Occupiers: Eviction Is Possible, but Neither Quick nor Easy

"It is only once the court concludes that there is no defence to the claim for eviction and that it would be just and equitable to grant an eviction order that it is obliged to grant that order" (Extract from judgment below)

"Buy land" said Mark Twain, "they're not making it anymore." With the first green shoots of a property market recovery supposedly now showing through perhaps this is indeed the time to take his advice.

Just be sure, if the property you have your eye on is occupied by anyone, to seek proper legal advice on the occupiers' legal position before you put pen to paper.

Continue Reading

How to Stop Vital Evidence Being Destroyed

"Surprise the enemy" (Sun Tzu in 'Art of War')

You suspect that someone you are suing (or about to sue) will destroy or hide vital evidence in their possession. Perhaps by shredding documents or deleting electronic records supporting your case, or perhaps by spiriting away computer hard drives full of incriminating information. You fear that if they get away with it your case will be dead, or at least compromised.

Fortunately our law has a strong and quick remedy for you - the "Anton Piller" order, by means of which the High Court can authorise a search for, and a seizure into safekeeping of, the relevant evidence until trial.

Continue Reading

Property Transfers and Trust Account Theft: A R720,000 Warning

"The issue of whether a conveyancing attorney receives the money as the agent of the seller, or of the purchaser, or of both, or as trustee for both to await the event, is a somewhat vexed question ... and each case must be considered in the light of its own facts and the particular contractual terms under which the conveyancer received payment" (Extract from judgment below)

A lot of money changes hands in property sales, and for many of us buying or selling a house is the largest single financial transaction of our lives.

A recent High Court judgment involving a theft of R720,000 by a dishonest conveyancer (transferring attorney) provides a timely warning to both buyers and sellers to proceed with extreme caution. And as always, the core message to both is this: Sign nothing without your lawyer's advice!

Continue Reading