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4 days ago

The Covid-19 pandemic has harmed many tenants financially due to the loss of income. While most employees have returned to work after the initial lockdown period, the aftereffects will be felt for much longer.

Johette Smutts, Head of Data and Analytics at PayProp says that they have witnessed many tenants approaching their agencies for financial assistance since the commencement of lockdown. Working together with their agents and landlords, many tenants have managed to reduce or to postpone their rent obligations or, to use a damage deposit to recover the rent.

The important thing to remember is that the tenants’ obligations have merely been postponed in such cases, and these rental obligations will still have to be met in future,” cautions Smuts.

Essentially, tenants will have to pay more money later and possibly monthly to cover their current and deferred rent or, to top-up a damage deposit. They will have less disposable income for other priorities, and they might even need to resort to loans or other financial assistance to cover their cost of living.

It’s not an ideal situation to land yourself in,” says Smuts, and while rent arrears won’t directly affect your credit score, a bad rental payment record is often visible to estate agents thereby affecting your changes of securing your next rental property.

Smuts advises that you keep a written record of all arrangements made with your agency or landlord and that these are correctly invoiced by checking your statement each month.

Being in good standing with rental payments may also increase your chances of negotiating a lower rental increase when it is time to extend your current lease agreement because in a tough market, it is harder than  usual to find reliable tenants. Finding the money now could ultimately save you money in the long run.

PayProp’s credit bureau partner, Experian, has observed a worsening in payment performance at the end of March, the very beginning of lockdown. Dieter Winkler, scoring analyst at Experian says that many of the account holders who were previously willing and able to pay may now only be willing to pay because of the effect of Covid-19.

The best they can do in terms of credit score health is to make the necessary arrangements with their credit providers; these arrangements most likely involve payment holidays and the deferral of payments.”

Tenants should think twice before taking out short-term loans at high interest rates as this type of credit may hurt their credit scores. Applying for credit repeatedly in a short time period could adversely affect a tenant’s credit record – correlations that are also evident in PayProp’s historic data.

Perhaps the best advice of all, now more than ever, is to draw up a realistic budget and stick with it,” says Smuts. “Cut all unnecessary expenses as far as possible and live within your means until your financial situation improves.”

4 days ago


Paragon Interface Director Claire D’Adorante won the Professional of the Year Award in the Architecture and Design Class of the Built Environment Category at the 2019/2020 South African Professional Services Awards.

Paragon Interface Director Claire D’Adorante.

Paragon Interface Director Claire D’Adorante won the Professional of the Year Award in the Architecture and Design Class of the Built Environment Category at the 2019/2020 South African Professional Services Awards (SAPSA), sponsored by Sanlam and W. Consulting.

In addition, D’Adorante was one of seven finalists for the Woman Professional of the Year Award, while the Paragon Group itself was a finalist for the Firm of the Year Award in the Architectural and Design Class of the Commerce, Law and Management Category.

Professionals from a wide range of companies were set to gather at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ballroom on the evening of 19 March. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAPSA Awards were indefinitely postponed.

The organisers subsequently undertook to progressively announce the winners for the 2019/2020 edition prior to hosting a future gathering for all finalists and guests. This marks the fifth edition of the awards, following a rigorous process of determining winners based on strict criteria.

“Paragon Interface has recently enjoyed visible success in undertaking two of the biggest projects of their kind in South Africa, Discovery Place and the Sasol headquarters. Both projects have been recipients of broad accolades within the industry,” the judges noted.

They added that such accomplishments would not have occurred without D’Adorante’s leadership. “She has been instrumental in developing the interiors business of the group from 12 to 22 employees. Her leadership philosophy is collaborative; enjoying guiding people in the right direction, adding her thoughts to make their ideas work,” the citation read.

Paragon Interface also won a 2020 German Design Award in the category Excellent Architecture – Interior Architecture for its work on Discovery Place for client Discovery and developers Growthpoint Properties and Zenprop.

Not only has Discovery Place struck a chord on an international design level, it is also testament to the depth of talent and creativity in the South African interior design industry. “The general impression is that we do not have the skills to compete on this level, but this recognition speaks otherwise,” D’Adorante points out.

In October 2018, Discovery Place was declared Office Design Winner at the prestigious Society of British and International Interior Design (SBID) International Design Awards 2018, held at the Dorchester Hotel in London in the UK.

Commenting on the Paragon Group itself, the judges expressed their admiration for the company, including the industry recognition it continues to receive, notably winning an API Award for the Hilton Garden Inn in Mbabane, Swaziland and several SAPOA awards, including overall winner for Discovery Place. These are over and above awards won in 2018 from SAPSA, SAIA, SAPOA and SBID.

“In difficult times for the built environment, the firm continues to attract reputable clients like Bidvest and Barloworld. Business growth is further underpinned by the group opening up an office in Cape Town and undertaking projects beyond South African borders in Kenya,” the judges added.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having an impact on the entire construction industry, D’Adorante stresses that Paragon Interface is striving to take advantage of the different opportunities this presents. “You have to look for the silver lining, and here constant innovation and adaptation is key. Paragon Interface prides itself on its flexibility and adaptability in changing market conditions, and being able to always provide our clients with cutting-edge design solutions,” she concludes.



4 days 9 hours ago

The trend of families moving (or considering doing so) out of busy city metropolitans to lesser congested environments and suburbs is likely to be more prevalent since lockdown proved just how versatile organisations can be in adopting flexible hours and remote working.

Gavin Tagg, CEO of Retail Network Services says that along with this shift comes the relief from not needing the hustle and bustle of large regional malls.

Community centre shopping is proven to be more therapeutic and less noisy, and thus more pleasurable and relaxing. They are no longer the quick-shop destinations of old, instead they have evolved to be places where families can shop together and be entertained, but with the same convenience as is expected from local shopping centres”.

“What the new local malls also highlight is that convenience does not need to be boring, but only if the variety of services provided is in response to local supply and demand.” 

In partnership with Dalmar Construction, Retail Network Services’ new Country Mall development is situated in Dalpark, Boksburg.

Set to open on the 23rd of September 2021, Country Mall will boast some of the country’s high-end and most desirable retail chains including Tops Liquor and SuperSpar, Clicks, West Pack Lifestyle, Eateries like Mugg & Bean, Steers, Debonairs and Piccolo Family Kitchen.

The uniqueness of this development will be attractive to existing restaurants and fast food outlets in the area, especially if they are looking to centralise or to upgrade their patronage. This applies to health and beauty and family fashion stores too as the centre is set to attract a larger and more comprehensive footfall.

Tagg highlights that Country Mall is the ideal location for local producers to find anchorage in the region.

Keeping things local means Country Mall is attractive to unique retailers who want to address the merchandise and service needs of the catchment area, and which complement the existing retailing needs of this economic hub,” says Tagg. “An additional plus is that a number of job opportunities will be created.”

The mall’s ambiance will be highlighted through its fresh approach to what Tagg refers to as ‘a third space’. By this, he refers to the soft green features that will dominate which has given the mall its ‘Country’ name.

 “This will not feel like a traditional mall. We have undertaken intensive market research to ensure that visitors will experience a strong country feel in a social space, without needing to travel far.”

The traffic-controlled entrance to free parking adds an extra level of security for those entering from Heidelberg Road or Wild Olive Street, both easily accessible from the N17 and N12 highways.

Dalmar Construction’s CEO, Conrad Swart says that the mall will be evidently unique to passers-by.

 “It’s green aesthetics inclusive of abundant planting with similarly foliage façade frameworks take the eye away from bricks and mortar, and really this is what makes it stand out from other malls”.

Tagg concludes that ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ are paramount when considering the local mall of today.

“People and families want to feel a sense of pride about their shopping areas. Country Mall will not disappoint.”