Monthly Archives: September 2014

Why is the transfer of my property taking so long?

A1After signing a deed of sale, the purchasers often want to move into the property with great excitement and as soon as possible.

When they are informed of the process involved prior to the property being transferred this may place a damper on their excitement. Coupled with this there may even be delays in the transaction.

In order to avoid unnecessary frustration it is vital that parties to the transaction understand the processes involved and that delays are sometimes inevitable.  Besides possible delays there are a number of processes that need to be followed before a house can be registered in a purchaser’s name.

At the outset, it must be determined if the deed of sale is valid and binding between the parties.  If not, a valid and binding contract will first have to be concluded between the parties.

The deed of sale will normally be the starting point in a transaction for a conveyancer who has been instructed to attend to the transfer.  This conveyancer is also known as the transferring attorney and is normally the main link between the other attorneys involved the transfer transaction.  Other attorneys involved are normally a bond attorney and/or bond cancellation attorney.

A major role of the transferring attorney is informing any mortgagees, for example banks, about the transfer so that any notice periods for the cancellation of bonds can start running.  The notice period is normally up to 90 days.  If the bond is cancelled before then, there could be penalties payable.  The transfer may therefore be delayed as a result of the notice period.

If the purchaser will be registering a new mortgage bond to finance the transaction, a bond attorney will be appointed.  Since the transferring attorney will not normally be aware of whom the instructed bond attorney is, the bank will usually inform the bond attorney of who is attending to the transfer.  The bond attorney will then first make contact with the transferring attorney.

Obtaining the various certificates, receipts and consents applicable to the transaction in question also takes time.  Examples of these are rates clearance certificate, transfer duty receipt, homeowners association’s consent to the transfer, levy clearance certificate, electrical compliance certificate and plumbing certificate.

The transfer duty receipt is obtained from the Receiver of Revenue and should be lodged with all property transactions, even if no transfer duty is payable to the Receiver of Revenue.  During 2013 it took approximately seven working days from the submission of the request, until the transfer duty receipt was issued.

The rates clearance certificate is obtained from the local municipality in the area where the property in question is located.  The transferring attorney will first request the municipality to inform him of the amount they require in order to issue the certificate.  After receipt thereof the amount can be paid and the transferring attorney will then await the issued certificate.  The time this takes differs from municipality to municipality.  In the City of Cape Town, during 2013, figures were mostly issued on the same day they were requested and the receipt was issued within approximately five working days after payment.  This time frame is largely affected by whether or not the municipality works on an electronic system.

If the property is located in an area where a homeowners’ association is established, there will normally be a title deed condition in terms of which the consent of the homeowners’ association must be obtained prior to the transfer.  The time it takes for obtaining this certificate differs from one homeowners’ association to the other.

After an inspection by a plumber or electrician it may be found that certain work needs to be carried out before the certificates will be issued.  If the work that must be carried out is extensive this can cause major delays with the transaction.

If the property is being sold by an executor of a deceased estate, the consent of the Master of the High Court must first be obtained before the property can be transferred.  Major delays can be experienced if the Master of the High Court refuses to give such consent until certain requirements have been met.

Once the transferring attorney is satisfied that all relevant documents are in place he will arrange simultaneous lodgement at the Deeds Office by all attorneys involved in the transaction.  It is therefore vital that the bond attorney has by this time obtained the required approval to lodge from the mortgagee and that the bond cancellation attorney has the required consents in place to cancel the existing bond/s on the property.

Once all the documents are lodged at the Deeds Office, an internal process is followed, which has different time frames in the various Deeds Offices.  This time frame can also vary in a particular Deeds Office. It is best to enquire from your conveyancer what the Deeds Office time frame is at any given stage.

The list of possible delays in a transaction varies from one transaction to the other and the possibilities are endless.  It is advisable to contact your conveyancer for an explanation should you feel that the process is taking too long.

References: Aktebesorging, UNISA 2004, Department Private Law, Ramwell, Brink & West 

Compiled by Riëtte Nel

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Huurder en verhuurder: Wat is jou regte en verpligtinge?

A2Sandra wil graag in haar eie plekkie intrek maar is, soos baie ander mense, onseker oor wat ‘n huurkontrak behels en watter verantwoordelikhede dit op haar sal plaas. ‘n Huurkontrak word omskryf as die ooreenkoms wat tussen die huurder en die verhuurder aangegaan word vir die verhuring van ‘n eiendom. Die huurkontrak reël beide die regte en verpligtinge van die huurder en verhuurder en beskerm die partye wedersyds.

Die Wet op Huurbehuising Nr 50/1999, soos gewysig deur die Wysigingswet op Beheer van Huurbehuising Nr 43/2007, reguleer die verhouding tussen ‘n huurder en verhuurder, selfs nog voor die huurkontrak tussen die partye gesluit is.

Die Wet bepaal dat die verhuurder nie teen die voornemende huurder, sy gesin, familie of vriende mag diskrimineer nie, insluitend op grond van ras, geslag, swangerskap of huwelikstaat. Die bepaling geld so vroeg as by die plaas van ‘n advertensie om ‘n eiendom te verhuur en die onderhandelinge tussen die voornemende huurder en die verhuurder.

Die huurkontrak self hoef nie op skrif gestel te word om bindend tussen die partye te wees nie, maar indien ‘n huurder verkies dat sodanige huurkontrak op skrif gestel word, mag die verhuurder nie weier om gehoor te gee aan die versoek nie.

‘n Skriftelike huurkontrak moet die volgende inligting bevat:

  1. Die partye se name, asook hul Suid-Afrikaanse adresse;
  2. ‘n Beskrywing van die woning wat verhuur word;
  3. Die maandelikse huurbedrag, asook redelike verhogings;
  4. Die deposito wat betaalbaar is, indien van toepassing;
  5. Die tydperk waarvoor die eiendom verhuur sal word. Sou ‘n tydperk nie aangedui word nie, moet die kontrak aantoon watter kennistydperk benodig word as een van die partye die huurkontrak wil beëindig;
  6. Enige ander vergoeding, buiten die gewone maandelikse huurgeld, wat betaalbaar mag wees;
  7. ‘n Volledige lys van gebreke wat teenwoordig is ten tye van sluiting van die huurkontrak.

Indien die eiendom geleë is in ‘n kompleks wat hul eie reëls het, moet ‘n afskrif van dié reëls aan die huurkontrak geheg word. Die verhuurder moet seker maak dat uitvoering gegee word aan die bepalings.

Soos reeds genoem word wedersydse regte en verpligtinge vir die huurder en verhuurder geskep met die totstandkoming van ‘n huurkontrak. Die regte en verpligtinge sluit onder andere die volgende in:

Huurder se regte:

  1. Om die eiendom gesamentlik te inspekteer voordat die huurder intrek en enige defekte of skade aan die eiendom aan te teken. Hierdie bepaling beskerm die huurder sodat die huurder nie by verstryking van die huurkontrak verantwoordelik gehou word vir skade aan die eiendom wat reeds bestaan het by die sluit van die huurkontrak nie.
  2. Tydens die huurtydperk het die huurder die reg op privaatheid en mag die huurder se eiendom, woning of persoon nie deursoek word nie.
  3. Indien die verhuurder nalaat om die eiendom te inspekteer by verstryking van die huurkontrak, kan die huurder aanvaar dat die verhuurder erken dat geen skade aan die eiendom aangerig is nie en moet die volle deposito, tesame met rente daarop, terugbetaal word aan die huurder.

Verhuurder se regte:

  1. Om ‘n deposito vir die bedrag soos ooreengekom tussen die partye, van die huurder te vereis voordat die huurder die woning betrek.
  2. Om op ‘n gereelde basis en betyds betaling van huurgeld te ontvang en ook, sou ‘n hofbevel of bevel van ‘n tribunaal verkry word, om agterstallige betalings te vorder.
  3. Om die eiendom ná verstryking van die huurkontrak in ‘n goeie toestand terug te ontvang.
  4. Om binne drie dae voordat die huurkontrak verstryk, die eiendom gesamentlik te inspekteer en vas te stel of enige skade aan die eiendom verrig is waarvoor die huurder verantwoordelik gehou moet word.
  5. Om die koste vir herstelwerk, sou die eiendom beskadig wees, van die huurder te verhaal.
  6. Indien die huurder nie toegang tot die eiendom wil verleen vir gesamentlike inspeksie voor verstryking van die huurkontrak nie, moet die verhuurder die eiendom binne sewe dae na verstryking van die huurkontrak inspekteer en, indien nodig, die deposito aanwend om nodige herstelwerk te verrig. Die balans van die deposito, indien enige, moet binne een-en-twintig dae aan die huurder terugbetaal word.

Verhuurder se verpligtinge:

  1. Om die deposito wat deur die huurder betaal is, in ‘n rentedraende rekening by ‘n finansiële instelling te belê teen ‘n rentekoers wat gelykstaande of hoër is as die rentekoers wat op daardie tydstip verdien word op ‘n spaarrekening by sodanige finansiële instelling. Die huurder kan bewys versoek dat die deposito belê is en die verhuurder mag nie sodanige bewys weerhou nie.
  2. Om ‘n kwitansie aan die huurder te voorsien vir elke betaling wat die huurder maak, welke kwitansie die eiendom duidelik moet omskryf, gedateer moet word en volledig moet aandui waarvoor die betaling gemaak word (bv. Huurgeld vir die maand van Februarie 2013, of deposito).
  3. Om die deposito aan te wend om enige skade aan die eiendom te herstel of agterstallige huur te verhaal nadat die huurkontrak verstryk het en die balans, tesame met rente verdien, binne veertien dae nadat die huurkontrak verstryk het aan die huurder terug te betaal.
  4. Om alle bewyse ten opsigte van herstelwerk wat aan die eiendom aangebring is en van die huurder se deposito verhaal is, te bewaar en beskikbaar te stel aan die huurder.
  5. Om die huurder se deposito binne sewe dae na verstryking van die huurkontrak, tesame met rente daarop, aan die huurder terug te betaal, sou geen herstelwerk aan die eiendom nodig wees en geen betalings agterstallig is nie.

Indien ‘n dispuut tussen die huurder en verhuurder ontstaan, kan daar met die Huurbehuisingtribunaal in die area waar die dispuut ontstaan het, geskakel word.

Dit is baie belangrik dat die huurder sowel as die verhuurder seker maak dat hulle bedoelings duidelik in die huurkontrak omskryf word en dat hulle die bepalings in die huurkontrak verstaan voordat die kontrak onderteken word. Hulle moet ook verseker dat alle bepalings, verantwoordelikhede en verpligtinge duidelik uiteengesit is. Dit is raadsaam, indien enige onduidelikhede ontstaan, om regsadvies in te win voordat die huurkontrak onderteken word.

Verwysings:

Wet op Huurbehuising Nr 50/1999, soos gewysig deur Wysigingswet op Beheer van Huurbehuising  Nr 43/2007

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Estate agents commission

A3Selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person can make and an estate agent, to whom commission will be payable, is usually involved in this process.

A problem that frequently occurs in practice and which is not easy to solve is whether an agent was in fact instrumental in bringing about the sale of the property.

It could happen that an agent introduces a prospective buyer, that negotiations for the sale do not succeed and that another agent succeeds in concluding the agreement. It is common practice for more than one agent to be instructed to find a purchaser. It could even happen that a seller is held responsible for paying commission to two agents.

An estate agent is not an agent in the strict sense of the word.  His “mandate” is normally to find a suitable purchaser for the seller’s property and not to sell on behalf of the seller. This is, however, not a contract in the usual sense where parties undertake reciprocal obligations. In fact, the agent is not obliged to perform his mandate. An estate agent will only be entitled to commission if he has a mandate from the seller; without the mandate he is not entitled to commission, even though he might have been the effective cause of the transaction.

An estate agent will be considered to be the effective cause of the transaction when:

  • he has introduced a willing and financially able buyer to the seller;
  • a binding contract has been concluded between the parties; and
  • the transaction takes place at the stipulated price or at a price acceptable to the seller.

When several estate agents are involved in introducing the buyer to the seller it might be difficult for the court to determine which agent was the effective cause. For instance, when estate agent A introduces the buyer to the seller but the buyer later purchases the property through estate agent B after B has persuaded the seller to drop the price. Or estate agent A may have a sole mandate, but estate agent B introduced a willing and able buyer. The seller could then be liable for both estate agents’ commission. A sole mandate usually stipulates that the agent is entitled to commission if the property is sold during the currency of the agreement, even if another agent introduced the buyer.

In another matter a prospective buyer was introduced and the house was inspected. The price was considered too high. A few months later the purchaser noticed that the house was still in the market. He then bought the property without intervention from the agent at a slightly lower price than the earlier rejected price. The estate agent was held to be entitled to his commission.

How much commission is an estate agent entitled to? The average commission ranges up to 7.5%, but there are no regulations as to how much commission an estate agent should be paid per sale. The commission should be discussed by the parties when negotiating the mandate.

Sole mandates that are given to estate agents are regulated by the Consumer Protection Act. The duration of the agreement may not exceed 24 months. The seller has the right to cancel the agreement by giving 20 business days’ notice in writing. If the mandate is not terminated by the seller on the expiry date it will automatically continue on a month-to-month basis.

Seller, be wary of these pitfalls when selling your property – they could be very costly.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.