Owner evicted from property after sale falls through

Owner evicted from property after sale falls through

A resident of one of Joburg's top golf estates thought he had made a fantastic cash deal on his house. But now, businessman Paul Gallimore says he has instead ended up in a costly court battle to get his home back.

Paul Gallimore in front of his house in the luxury Blue Valley Estate, Midrand.

The buyers took occupation of the upmarket unit on a golf estate before the deal was completed. The transfer did not go through, occupational rent was never paid and now Gallimore says he is dealing with a nightmare. The businessman has a multimillion-rand house in Blue Valley Golf Estate in Midrand.

For years, he said, he had a wonderful tenant, a former government minister, who paid her rent on time every month. When she moved out, he decided to sell the property.

The estate agent handling the deal told him she had landed a cash offer of R5.5 million that was not subject to a bond being approved.

She said R1m would be paid immediately as a deposit. The only catch was that the buyers needed to take immediate occupation as they did not have another place to stay. They would pay occupational rent until the sale went through, according to Gallimore.

He agreed and the couple - operating under the company name Liciano Transport and Logistics - moved in on April 11 before the agreed deposit was paid over.

The tenant, Nokuthula Licia Ncube, paid an initial amount of R80 000. But no more has been forthcoming.

According to Gallimore, his court costs to date have already exceeded this amount.

He said Ncube had given him letters from the bank, showing her business was about to get a deal worth $4.2m (R41m).

But by mid-July, Gallimore was battling to keep up with his bond repayments and rent on the property in which he was living, while he was not receiving any rental income. He gave Ncube and her husband, Andrew Motsepe, notice that they had to move out immediately as he needed to return to his own property.

The couple did not resist and Gallimore had his furniture delivered to the house. The couple appeared ready to leave, saying they had some furniture still stored in the garage, which they would have picked up during the week.

Then, 24 hours later, Gallimore was served a notice to appear before the high court for an urgent eviction application. The judge ruled that Gallimore had forcibly evicted the couple and he was ordered to move out of his own home and give them the keys.

This was despite his having no other place to stay. And so Gallimore has moved into a room at a friend's place on the estate. His wife has had to bunk down with other friends outside the city and they have had to give away their cat.

'I drive past my house every day and see them. There are no curtains, so it's like a giant fish bowl,' Gallimore said.

To add insult to injury, Ncube and Motsepe did not appear to be living in the luxury home, he said.

'Licia was an estate agent and she worked with bonds at a bank. She knows the law and I think they used that against me.'
The Star has discovered Ncube has two different ID numbers.

It is not the only time the couple have defaulted on rent. A previous landlord, who did not want to be identified, said the couple had rented a house from her, also in Blue Valley Estate, and did not pay all their rent.

Gallimore now has to go through a formal eviction process, which could take several months.

He served notice of the eviction on Motsepe, whom he said verbally attacked him. Gallimore said security personnel had witnessed this.

Ncube refused to comment on the allegations. 'We have gone through the court. What we have done is legal, so I don't have to speak to you,' she said.

A property developer who specialises in buying hijacked properties, Mike Lingwood, said rent evaders had moved up the ladder and targeted the middle class as easy pickings.

'Essentially, they have all the benefits of a five-star hotel without having to pay for it,' he said.

Meanwhile, Gallimore can do nothing but wait for the formal eviction process to go through the courts.

'I don't know where my son is going to stay when he comes home from university. This is a nightmare,' he said.

•Check out applicant with care

Michelle Dickens, the managing director at Tenant Profile Network, a company that checks the background of tenants, said it was not uncommon to see rent evaders target luxury homes.

She said using bank letters guaranteeing that money was coming in was also a common tactic.

Dickens said that even in a sale, it was important for sellers to do a check on their buyers before they handed over keys to the property.

She listed the points below as the main checks that should be undertaken:

•Have a look at their actual ID book; don't just accept a copy.

•Do a credit check on the person before letting them take occupation of the property.

•Be automatically suspicious of people who want early occupation of a property.

•In the case of early occupation before a sale goes through, always treat it as a rental deal.

The Star


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!