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I am a qualified Attorney. I specialise in Property Law, Commercial Law, Corporate Law and Trusts.
 
Please visit our website at www.prop-law.co.za for more details.
 
I am an elected Committee Member of the Property Committee of the Association of Pretoria Attorneys and through my involvement, I like to ensure that I am constantly at the "sharp-end" of Conveyancing Practice.

I am the elected Chairman on the Gauteng Council of SAPOA. The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) is the biggest and most influential institution in the property industry. SAPOA members control about 90% of commercial property in SA, with a combined portfolio in excess of R150 Billion (about $22 Billion). I am also on the National Council and the National Legal Committee of SAPOA.
 
Member of the Institute of Directors South Africa and Member of the Sirdar Governance Panel.

09 May 2011

Barclays Plc to move Africa headquarters in Dubai to Joburg - Financial | Moneyweb

Barclays Plc to move Africa headquarters in Dubai to Joburg - Financial | Moneyweb

Barclays Africa headquarters was based in South Africa until 2006 when it was moved to the Gulf Arab emirate.

The latest move follows the recent decision by Barclays and its majority-owned Absa (JSE:ASA) Group to combine their operations, the source said. Barclays bought a 56.4 percent stake in Absa in 2005.

Gareth Shepperson

WMP has over R16m short fall - Liquidator - Property | Moneyweb

WMP has over R16m short fall - Liquidator - Property | Moneyweb

A liquidator's report indicates that Wendy Machanik Properties (WMP) has a shortfall of more than R16 million, The Star reported on Monday.

The report estimates the shortfall from preliminary investigations and has been sent to estate agents who worked for the agency.

Gareth Shepperson

06 May 2011

Realestateweb - South African property market corrections - Property talk - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - South African property market corrections - Property talk - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

South Africa is experiencing a property market correction. The question is whether it is or has been on the same scale as has been experienced in the USA during the last 3 years. The American dream has in some states unfortunately changed into an American nightmare.

Gareth Shepperson

05 May 2011

Realestateweb - Real estate giant Capital & Counties issues new shares - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Real estate giant Capital & Counties issues new shares - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

JSE listed Capital and Counties Properties PLC (Capco) has issued new shares worth more than R18.6m. The placing price will be determined through an accelerated bookbuild launched on May 5 2011. A third of the company's shareholders are South African.

A company statement says the proceeds will predominantly be used to fund acquisitions at Covent Garden and for ongoing repositioning of assets at its central London estate. Capco says it has identified a number of potential acquisitions of various sizes that the board believes will become available in coming months.

Capco is a non-mining rand hedge on the JSE with its asset base in and around the London city centre. It's been responsible for the revamping of the historic Covent Garden on the eastern fringes of the West End and areas of the populous Earls Court district.

Covent Garden reportedly hosted foot traffic of 45m last year alone. It has mainly been associated with the former fruit and vegetable market located in the central square which is now a popular shopping and tourist site. Capco has concentrated its efforts on rejuvenating both Covent Garden and Earls Court and has its sights set on peripheral properties for refurbishment and development.

The company's ultimate aim is to improve rental levels at Covent Garden with the board seeing ongoing repositioning of assets at its estate.

Realestateweb - Seeff tries to rescue Golf & Leisure - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Seeff tries to rescue Golf & Leisure - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Due to the fact that I have already been consulted by one of the Fractional Companies involved in this whole disaster, I have been following and continue to follow developments closely. My Client appears to be one of the few lucky ones (at this stage) but investigations continue.

Gareth Shepperson

Africa’s growth beats global average - World Economic Forum | Moneyweb

Africa’s growth beats global average - World Economic Forum | Moneyweb

I guess the words of the Shakira FIFA World Cup song come to mind "It's time for Africa!"

The World Economic Forum’s Africa summit opened on Wednesday with the launch of the Africa Competitiveness Report, 2011. The report, the third produced so far, takes stock of Africa’s competitiveness in relation to other regional economic hubs.

Realestateweb - Financial wizardry in R3.5bn property scheme - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Financial wizardry in R3.5bn property scheme - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

A picture of financial wizardry is emerging at Picvest (formerly PIC Syndications), one of the country’s biggest property investment schemes. Despite assurances that investors’ assets are rock solid, there is no proof provided to back up these claims.

Please also see my previous Blog postings on this topic.

Gareth Shepperson

04 May 2011

Home loans advances still sluggish

The growth in home loans advances remained sluggish but the total value of outstanding credit balances in the country’s household sector increased by 7,4% year-on-year (y/y) to R1 127,8-billion according to figures released by the South African Reserve Bank yesterday.


The number of new home loans being granted will remain sluggish for the rest of this year as consumers battle to afford or qualify for finance.
Total household credit comprises instalment sales agreements, leasing finance, mortgage advances, overdrafts, credit card debt and general loans and advances.

According to Jacques du Toit, senior property analyst at Absa Home Loans, the growth in the total value of outstanding mortgage balances – both for commercial and residential bonds – dropped by 2,9% y/y.

“It was the lowest year-on-year growth on record since 1966,” says Du Toit. “On a monthly basis, total mortgage balances were down by R1,6-billion or 0,2%,” he adds.

“The mortgage balances in the corporate sector comprise about 26,5% of the total market value of R1 046-billion and showed that in this sector, mortgage finance recorded growth of just 2,9% y/y in March, a record low,” he says.

Du Toit points out that mortgage balances in the household sector – largely related to residential properties – recorded growth of 4,3% y/y, up from 4,1% in February. The value of the bonds was R4,5-billion.

“Despite the fact that interest rates are at their lowest level in 35 years, the housing market is still experiencing relatively tough conditions. These are driven by various factors that impact on the consumers’ ability to afford housing and qualify for a mortgage bond,” says Du Toit.

He says there are still high levels of debt in relation to household income and a large percentage of consumers have impaired credit records. “Rising transport costs, higher food prices also contribute to the inability of consumers to qualify for mortgage finance,” says Du Toit.

He forecast that growth in mortgage advances as a component of household credit will record single-digit growth for the coming year.

Death of the salesmen - Money Matters | Moneyweb

Death of the salesmen - Money Matters | Moneyweb

Thousands of investors have been severely affected by the recent collapse of various property syndications around South Africa. Whenever something like this happens, people always want to know how this could have happened and who is responsible.

See some of my previous posts on Picvest and Sharemax.

Gareth Shepperson

Rebosis offers black exposure in property - Property | Moneyweb

Rebosis offers black exposure in property - Property | Moneyweb

Rebosis, built up from scratch by CEO Sisa Ngebulana (pictured above), offers as unique selling points a large exposure to the rising black-middle class through strategically located retail developments.

Realestateweb - Increase in first time home buyers - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Increase in first time home buyers - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

The FNB House Price Index (HPI) for April has shown a significant increase in the number of first time buyers between the 2nd quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011. According to the index, first time buyers as a percentage of total buyers rose to 22% from 17% over the past four quarters.

03 May 2011

FNB house price index grows 2,2%

The FNB house price index has recorded 2,2% growth year on year (y/y) in April from the revised 1,2% in March.

The bank said this was the second successive month of mild acceleration in y/y house price growth, triggered by the lagged result of interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank late in 2010.

"Those rate cuts caused a mild uptick in residential demand which may have been more than just the usual summer seasonal factors," said FNB property strategist John Loos.

In real terms, however, adjusted for consumer price inflation, the y/y decline continued to the tune of -2,8% in March.

"However, the FNB valuers' market strength index suggests that our valuers have started to see further deterioration in the strength of demand versus supply during April, after some small signs of stabilisation in preceding months of 2011. This weakening in the market balance is the combined result of a further strengthening in the supply of residential stock on the market during the month, along with a weakening in demand, according to the valuers' combined opinion," he said.

"The contrast between the valuers' combined opinion and a slight acceleration in year-on-year price growth suggests that we should not expect too much from the slight rise in price growth. What is probably being reflected in the recent house price trend is the mild residential demand improvement late in 2010, which was the result of two late-2010 interest rate cuts.

"However, the last rate cut was five-and-a-half months ago in November, and it is likely that the impact is starting to wear thin," he said. - I-NetBridge

Conveyancers slam Sars' transfer duty e-filing : Property News from IOLProperty

Conveyancers slam Sars' transfer duty e-filing : Property News from IOLProperty

Criticism about the functionality of the new property transfer duty e-filing system introduced by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) last month has escalated.

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) on Friday added its voice to complaints that serious problems were being experienced by conveyancers with the new system.

Adrian Lackay, a spokesman for Sars, earlier last week denied there were any problems with the new system and maintained it was working normally.

I don't know who Adrian Lackay is BUT I would like to tell him that the system has several faults and that the staff at the SARS call centre are TOTALLY UNTRAINED in its use!

Why would you actually pay someone whose only ability/skill is to give you a reference number and tell you that a consultant will revert to you????

Why would these staff tel you that a consultant will contact you within 48 hours when they have no intention of doing so????

Why when a consultant eventually contacts you would a technical guy contact you, only to admit that he can only answer IT questions and actually has ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE of Transfer Duty regulations????

Why would they then suggest that you take up the matter with the local SARS office when the office is is Cape Town and you are in Pretoria????

Why when you eventually get through to the local SARS office do they tell you that they can't take calls from the public and refer you back to the call centre ... WHICH WAS WHERE YOU STARTED????

Why would you have an e-mail help service that is incapable of even acknowledging receipt of your query????

Why would SARS give a damn???

Gareth Shepperson

What’s happening with property? - Property | Moneyweb

What’s happening with property? - Property | Moneyweb

Property funds and property stocks listed on the JSE have shown outstanding growth over the past few years. And this with substantially less volatility than the current boomer: mining and resources

Realestateweb - Affordable housing in demand - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Affordable housing in demand - Residential - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Demand for affordable housing in South Africa far outweighs affordable housing stock, particularly for properties with values below R200 000, where potential demand is in the millions.

South Africa vs the world - The Burning Question | Moneyweb

South Africa vs the world - The Burning Question | Moneyweb

At the end of 2010, South Africa was formally inducted into the group after some intense lobbying, and the group became, officially, BRICS. This inclusion promises to give South Africa a prominent spot in world economic debates, and to put it firmly into global league tables. The question is, how does South Africa stack up against its BRICS and emerging market peers, and against the rest of the world?

29 April 2011

Ivan Who?, at $9bn, SA`s wealthiest by far - Money Meandering | Moneyweb

Ivan Who?, at $9bn, SA`s wealthiest by far - Money Meandering | Moneyweb

It’s not only to his countrymen that right now he’s Ivan Who? In Monaco or Mayfair, he is able to dine or dance without gawkers pointing. Not for much longer, though. Because 53-year old Ivan Glasenberg is hitting the front pages. He is the poster boy for the company he runs, Swiss-based Glencore which, at $60-billion, is about to become the London Stock Exchange biggest ever listing.

Very Nice ...!

28 April 2011

Realestateweb - Inside Sharemax Zambezi`s compromise - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Inside Sharemax Zambezi`s compromise - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Private, public partnerships the key to addressing the housing backlog? - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Private, public partnerships the key to addressing the housing backlog? - Listed - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

21 April 2011

Realestateweb - Picvest - our investors` assets are rock solid - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Picvest - our investors` assets are rock solid - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

The strangest aspect of this statement by Picvest is that there is absolutely no explanation as to why the properties have still not been transferred to investors and why investors' funds have been channeled into another company (namely Bosman & Visser).

This was probably drafted by Picvest's newly appointed Public Relations company (Fleischman-Hillard) because it contains a lot of hollow promises about how investors' interests are so dear to Picvest's heart but zero response to the allegations in recent press articles.

20 April 2011

End of the road for Sandton’s landmark Village Walk? - Property | Moneyweb

End of the road for Sandton’s landmark Village Walk? - Property | Moneyweb

Sandton’s popular Village Walk shopping centre (see images) is due for a major overhaul which will include the demolition of parts of the precinct for re-development. The final plans are yet to be approved by the Metropolitan Properties’ board before timelines for the project will become available. The adjacent Balalaika Hotel will also be refurbished. Metropolitan Properties’ managing director, Vuyani Hako, says part of the plans for the centre will be beefing up retail and the office component.

SIU investigating R2bn housing contracts - South Africa | Moneyweb

SIU investigating R2bn housing contracts - South Africa | Moneyweb

I think that if they opened up this market to more players by creating a transparent tendering process, then by virtue of the fact that greater competition is present, then better services will be delivered. I am not referring to price competition but to product quality competition. In other words, those tendering should also be judged on the quality of their product and not only on price. There is too much cutting of corners by instant developers looking to make a quick buck. The only reason that they get away with it is because of some corrupt officials who are supposed to be monitoring the process.

I am a big admirer and supporter of Minister Tokyo Sexwale and I therefore hope that he can turn this department around.

Gareth

19 April 2011

SAPOA seeks clarity on Consumer Protection Act

Property practitioners, rental agents and brokers have been urged to err on the side of caution until questions regarding property leases and the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) have been resolved.

The South African Property Owners Association (Sa...

Read the rest of this story at

http://mg.co.za/article/2011-04-18-sapoa-seeks-clarity-on-consumer-protection-act

Picvest (previously PIC Syndications)


Please view our website at:
www.prop-law.co.za


I have had a good response to my postings about PIC Syndications. People would like to know what's happening and (hopefully) get some sort of assurance from me that their investment is safe.

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about it to give investors proper legal advice or an unqualified legal opinion. I was commenting on an article on the Moneyweb website (www. Realestateweb.co.za).

The problem is that investors are contractually bound and would have to follow the mechanisms of their contract to withdraw their funds. I have not had insight into the agreements and therefore can’t speculate on what mechanisms are contractually stipulated.

However, I can broadly speculate that Investors MAY be able to claim a breach by PIC, since they invested in property that has never been transferred. It may therefore be possible to cancel and claim repayment based upon the breach. I am not aware of any “class action” by investors. However, if there is sufficient interest from investors, I would be happy to look into it.

Investors have a couple of options:

1. Julius Corbett wrote the original article for Moneyweb and he may have further information that was not included in the article (julius@moneyweb.co.za).

2. If you wish to instruct my firm, we can act on your behalf.

3. You may have a claim against the Law Firm into whose Trust Account the deposit was made since they paid it out without effecting transfer of the property.

4. You can contact the public relations firm appointed by PIC, namely Fleischman-Hillard in order to ascertain when they will be making an announcement.

5. Lastly, you can contact the FAIS Ombudsman. This is free of charge but you will need to drive the process yourself and then can only recover from your financial advisor (if he has the money to pay).

Gareth

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House prices show positive growth in March - Property | Moneyweb

House prices show positive growth in March - Property | Moneyweb

Property prices showed positive year-on-year growth in March, according to the latest results released by ooba – South Africa’s leading bond originator.

The March oobarometer price index reveals that the average house price rose 1.1% year-on-year to R860 492 from R850 864 a year earlier. The growth in the average purchase price amongst first time buyers also showed an increase, with year-on-year growth of 4.5% to R623 179 in March 2011 from R596 357 a year earlier.

18 April 2011

Absa plans big home loan push : Property News from IOLProperty

Absa plans big home loan push : Property News from IOLProperty

Realestateweb - Picvest CEO lays complaint against Andre Prakke - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Picvest CEO lays complaint against Andre Prakke - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Further developments since the article that I published about Picvest (previously PIC Syndications) earlier today. Where there is smoke ...

I find it inexplicable that the properties have not been transferred yet, when it was already confirmed last year that the syndications are fully subscribed?

I find it inexplicable that the attorneys transferred investors' trust funds prior to registration of the transfers of the property.

I find it inexplicable that Trust Funds were transferred to a third party (i.e. Bosman and Visser).

Hopefully explanations for these seemingly inexplicable facts will be forthcoming soon. Somehow I doubt it!

Gareth

Zuma returns from fruitful BRICS summit - Political economy | Moneyweb

Zuma returns from fruitful BRICS summit - Political economy | Moneyweb

Realestateweb - Picvest investors` precarious position revealed - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Picvest investors` precarious position revealed - Investment insights - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

The latest discovery is that investors in the four most recent (and most valuable) syndications - Highveld 19 to 22 - do not own any property. This is a strange situation for a company whose motto is "Where property is the basis of wealth."

There is a large amount of money at stake. The total value of the four syndications is R3.5bn. Most of this amount will have been funded by public investors, with a high concentration of senior citizens.

MY COMMENT

This is not the first time that PIC has been in the news. I find the history lesson at the end of the article most distressing because it appears as if PIC and Sharemax were "born of sin", so to speak. It seems as if DW was dissolved as a result of the managers selling property to the syndications at highly inflated prices and simply re-emerged as PIC and Sharemax. With all the financial and corporate regulation that we have in South Africa, I don't know how the authorities allowed this to happen. It seems as if the two companies merely continued where their predecessor left off. Sharemax has already collapsed and based on the info in this article it seems to be only a matter of time before PIC follows. In both cases, it is virtually certain that investors will not recover their funds.

15 April 2011

Machanik’s criminal trial postponed due to lack of funds - Special investigations | Moneyweb

Machanik’s criminal trial postponed due to lack of funds - Special investigations | Moneyweb

This article does not really add any earth shattering news about the Wendy Mechanik case but I have added the link here because of some of the comments on the Moneyweb site. It is clear that some of these comments are from her former employees/agents. I don't know enough about the details of the case to pass final judgment but these people have suffered as a result of Wendy's actions and even if she has somehow repatriated funds into her Trust Accounts it does not alleviate their suffering.

Gareth

P.S. Have a great weekend.

Realestateweb - More first time home buyers show confidence in market - FNB - Top Stories - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - More first time home buyers show confidence in market - FNB - Top Stories - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

There were more first time home buyers in the first quarter of 2011, indicating improved confidence in the property market, FNB Home Loans strategist John Loos said on Wednesday.

"The increase in first time buyer demand relative to the overall market demand is a good confidence indicator due to the greater degree of flexibility that an average first time buyer has in terms of timing his/her entry into the market," Loos said in a statement.

12 April 2011

Realestateweb - Massive mall auction called off - Auctions - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Massive mall auction called off - Auctions - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Century Property Developers have taken over the BelAir and Lonehill malls north of Johannesburg after a deal was struck between liquidators, the buyer and Absa Bank.

Realestateweb - New Consumer Protection Act no threat to reputable organisations - Property talk - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - New Consumer Protection Act no threat to reputable organisations - Property talk - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

I conducted a series of presentations to groups of Estate Agents on the likely impact of the Consumer Protection Act on the SA property industry. The presentations were organised by Colliers International. My notes from the presentation are available on Slide Share on my LinkedIn page at:http://za.linkedin.com/in/shepperson

Please remember that these notes are a little outdated because the recently published Regulations were not yet known at the time of the presentations. The notes may nevertheless prove interesting and if you have any specific questions, you can always contact me directly.

Gareth

Realestateweb - Concourt rules in favour of home owner in arrears - South Africa - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

Realestateweb - Concourt rules in favour of home owner in arrears - South Africa - South Africa's fastest-growing property website

The Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that only a judge -- and not a high court registrar -- could decide if a bank could sell a person's home in execution.

In a unanimous judgment, the court ruled that "where execution against the homes of indigent debtors who run the risk of losing their security of tenure is sought after judgment on a money debt, further judicial oversight by a court of law of the execution process is a must".

"It is declared that it is unconstitutional for a registrar of a high court to declare immovable property specially executable when ordering default judgment," states the ruling.