SARS penalties

SARS penalties for delayed Transfer Duty payments

Buying a property is a massive investment into your future and can, for some, be a form of financial security. Purchasers should be aware of all the fees and costs that go into buying a property, though, as it is not just the purchase price that needs to be paid. Transfer Duty is an additional cost that has to be paid by a certain time. If it is not paid on or before the appropriate date, you could be facing some hefty penalties.

What are transfer duties

Whenever you buy a property, it has to be transferred to your name. The Transfer Duty is a tax levied on the value of the property when it is acquired (bought) by someone. The current rate at which the tax is levied is valid until 28 February 2023 and is detailed in the table below:

Value of the property (R)Rate
1 – 1 000 0000%
1 000 001 – 1 375 0003% of the value above R1 000 000
1 375 001 – 1 925 000R11 250 + 6% of the value above R1 375 000
1 925 001 – 2 475 000R44 250 + 8% of the value above R1 925 000
2 475 001 – 11 000 000R88 250 + 11% of the value above R2 475 000
11 000 001 and aboveR1 026 000 + 13% of the value exceeding R11 000 000

This amount is payable within 6 months from the date of acquisition. The conveyancer responsible for transferring the property to the new owner is usually responsible for ensuring that this tax is paid in time and all conveyancers are required to be registered with SARS.

Transfer Duty should not be confused with the Transfer of Property costs which is the fee owed to the conveyancing attorney responsible for the transfer of ownership.

When is Transfer Duty applicable to be paid?

As per SARS and for the purpose of Transfer Duty the “property” on which Transfer Duty is levied includes”

  • Land and fixtures;
  • Real rights in land, excluding right under mortgage bonds or leases;
  • Rights to minerals or rights to mine including leases or sub-leases to mine for minerals;
  • A share or interest in a “residential property company”;
  •  A contingent right to residential property or a share or member’s interest in a “residential property company” held by a discretionary trust (not a special trust), where the acquisition of the right is consequence of an agreement for consideration in relation to property held by that trust; or accompanied by a change in the debt or security structure of the trust; or accompanied by a change in the trust’s trustee; and
  • A share in a share block company.

When a property sale has conditions that need to be met, it is important to remember that the 6 months in which the amount should be paid is calculated from the date the agreement was signed and not the date that the conditions are fulfilled.

It is also important to note that a property sale is not subject to both VAT and Transfer Duty. If the seller is a registered VAT vendor and the property forms part of the seller’s enterprise, VAT will take preference and will need to be paid rather than a Transfer Duty. If the property is not part of the seller’s enterprise, Transfer Duty will have to be paid.

So, what if the Transfer Duty is paid later than 6 months?

SARS is clear that any late payment of a Transfer Duty will be subject to interest that is calculated at 10% per annum for each completed month. A complete month is calculated as the first day from the expiry of the interest-free 6 months to the date of payment.   

Can I be exempt from having to pay Transfer Duty?

Yes, you can.  Transfer Duty is not levied against properties that are being transferred (or not transferred as the case may be) for the following reasons:

  • Marriage in community of property;
  • Divorce;
  • Inheritance;
  • Cancelled transactions.

When you need conveyancing attorneys that will see to the timely and efficient transfer of your property, let us know.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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Documents executed inside or outside of South Africa

Documents that are signed in South Africa but need to be used internationally, and vice versa, need to be signed and executed correctly, and you have to make sure they are legalised.  These documents could include certified copies, academic certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearance certificates, power of attorney, etc.

Signing/executing documents in South Africa for use outside of South Africa

In situations where countries are a part of The Hague Convention[i]

  1. These documents first need to be notarized, i.e., signed and/or executed in the presence of a Notary Public. The Notary Public will attach a Certificate of Authentication with his signature, stamp and seal.
  2. The Notary Public will then send these documents to the High Court in the area where he/she practices. There, the Registrar will add an Apostille Certificate which authenticates the Notary Public’s signature

Your documents are now legal in all the countries that are part of The Hague Convention

In situations where countries are not a part of The Hague Convention

When a country is not part of The Hague Convention, two more steps are required.

  • The documents are submitted to DIRCO’s Legalisation Section to be legalised. The Department of International Relations and Co-operation is based in Pretoria.
  • The documents are sent to the Embassy/Consulate where they are to be used and authenticated.

Your documents can now be used in countries that are not part of The Hague Convention

Signing/executing documents outside of South Africa for use in South Africa

In South Africa, Rule 63 of the Uniform Rules of the High Court stipulates how documents signed outside of South Africa can be authenticated. These documents need a Certificate of Authentication from:

  1. The head of the South African diplomatic/consular mission.
  2. Consul-general, Consul, Vice-consul, or consular agent for the United Kingdom in that country.
  3. Any government authority of a foreign place permitted to authenticate documents under the law of that country.
  4. Any Notary Public in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, or Swaziland.
  5. In the case of a document being executed by a person on active service, a commissioned officer of the South African Defence Force.

If the prescribed certificate is attached, you can use the document in South Africa.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.


[i] The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). It replaced the cumbersome legislation that was required for cross-border mobility with a single formality – the issuance of an Apostille. Currently 120 are a part. 

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Why rates and levy clearances are issued 4 months in advance.

It’s not for naught that we need knowledgeable attorneys when we embark on the journey selling or buying a home. There is a plethora of laws that we need to keep track of and hoops we need to jump through to ensure that the transactions and conveyancing goes smoothly. Being able to entrust the conveyancing to an expert just makes things easier, but that does not mean that we don’t want to know what is happening and why – it is, after all, our home ad future that is on the line.

One document without which a property transference cannot be completed is a rates clearance certificate. If you are purchasing or selling a sectional title, you also need a levy clearance certificate. If you don’t have them, the transfer is dead in the water, but what are they and why are they issued four months in advance?

What are these documents?

The rates and levy clearance certificates are, essentially, documents proving that the current owner of the property does not owe any outstanding money on the property, either to the municipality or the Body Corporate.

  • The Rates Clerance Certificate

This certificate is specifically awarded by the municipality in which the property is located. Both a freehold and a sectional title property requires a rates clearance certificate. The conveyancer responsible for the transfer will request the Rates Clearance figures from the relevant local authority. These figures include outstanding debts from the previous two years on municipal taxes, electricity, water, sewerage, refuse, etc. Once these are issues, the conveyancer will request the outstanding amount be paid by the current owner and upon a proof of payment being made available, the Rates Clearance certificate should be issued. The figures should normally be available in 10-14 days and the certificate within 2-3 days once payment has been made. By law, this certificate is valid for the 60 days from the date of issue.

  • The Levy Clerance Certificate

A Levy Clearance is only required if the property being transferred is a sectional title. In this case, the conveyancing attorney requests the Levy Clerance figures from the Body Corporate. It indicates the amount that the current owner still needs to pay to the Body Corporate to settle the last debts. When this amount has been paid or payment arrangements made and the Body Corporate is satisfied, they can provide the Levy Clerance certificate that the conveyancer requires to submit the next documents to the Deeds Office.

Why are they issued 4 months in advance?

When the Rates Clerance figures are being calculated, the municipality usually works it out as the full amount from the last two years that are owed and then the monthly average extrapolated over the next 4 to 6 months.

This is done because property transfers can take some time to complete, and the municipalities need to ensure that they are paid what is due to them by the seller in the months that the transfer is being completed. The Levy Clerance certificate also falls into this time frame as both documents are required for the successful transfer of a Sectional Title. These figures are also calculated to the estimated date of the registration of the transfer – 4 to 6 months.

If you need an expert conveyancer to help you jump through all the legal hoops of transferring a property, don’t hesitate to get in touch with AED Attorneys. Our friendly staff makes it their mission to ensure your property transfer is handles with care and as quickly as possible.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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Is Eskom clearances necessary for transfer of property?

The process of selling and transferring a property requires various legal documents to be signed, accounts to be settled and changed, certificates to be requested and more. Your conveyancing attorney will oversee this entire process for you, but in a world where knowledge is power, it is still important for you to know exactly what is happening, what documents you actually require and why.

When you look at the certificates you require, there are various categories – your Clearance Certificates, Compliance Certificates, and a Homeowners Certificate.

What do these certificates entail?

Your Clearance Certificates are certificates of proof from (a) your municipality and (b) the Body Corporate if you are selling a Sectional Title that any outstanding debt you had has been paid in full or that an arrangement (with the Body Corporate) has been made to pay the outstanding debt. Without these certificates it is impossible for the transfer of a property to continue.

The Compliance Certificates are required for electrical, electric fence (where applicable), gas, and beetle (in coastal regions) certificates. These need to be obtained prior to registration. The offer to purchase will usually specify the certificates that are required, and the bond attorney could also need these certificates to obtain consent to lodge the matter in the Deeds Office.

 The Homeowners Certificate is only necessary if the property is part of an estate with a Homeowners Association. Similar to the Clearance Certificates, the Homeowners Association must confirm that there are no outstanding debts on the property and that all conditions have been met, for example the purchaser agreeing to become art of the Homeowners Association.

By now you would have noticed that Eskom is not mentioned in any of these certificates that you require. So, what do they have to do with anything?

Where does clearance from Eskom fit in?

You do not need a certificate from Eskom for the transfer of a property to be completed. The Rates Clearance Certificate that you do require from the municipality in which the outstanding debt from the past two years as well as a monthly average for the next 4 to 6 months is calculated on your municipal bills will include your electricity.

It is, however, always wise to ensure that your Eskom bill is fully paid and that all these accounts for the property are transferred to the new owner, lest you are held liable for the purchaser’s consumption.

If you require attorneys, you can trust and that has your best interests at heart, don’t hesitate to contact AED Attorneys. Our extensive experience in conveyancing means that we know how to transfer your property quickly and carefully.  

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

FOR SALE

What can you do when a co-owner of a property dies or wants out of the property.

Buying a property in a co-ownership agreement with a loved one, spouse, or business partner is a means for many to get into the property market. That property can be used as a primary residence, a business location or as a rental property and both owners can enjoy the benefits of it. Things change, however, and there are many reasons that one owner can no longer own the property. They could have passed away, they might want to emigrate, the relationship could have turned sour, or they might simply want to downsize their portfolio. Regardless of the reason, property ownership is a legal commitment and various laws dictate what happens to a co-owned property. These laws can differ greatly depending on the reason as to why one owner exits the agreement. Let’s have a look at some of the most prevalent situations.

The relationship between co-owners

The relationship between co-owners can often influence how the co-ownership came about and what needs to happen to the property when one owner passes away or wants out. In any co-ownership situation, the best practice is to always have a detailed contract set up when the property is purchased and to have this contract include what is to happen when:

  • An owner passes away (and he/she is not a spouse)
  • A spouse married in community of property passes away
  • An owner wishes to sell
  • The owners wish to part ways (whether it be a business relationship that breaks down, a divorce, etc)

When an owner passes away

When an owner, who was not a spouse, passes away, one would wish that the contract and the co-owner’s will stipulated what is to happen with the property. Half of the property will be placed in the deceased estate and the condition of the deceased estate, for example, the individual’s debt, can influence what happens. When a business partner passes away and you had a business succession plan and legal agreements, chances are that they would stipulate whether or not the surviving partner receives the share upon payment to the estate. The agreement and the deceased partner’s will could stipulate whether a family member inherits half of the property. Regardless of who receives the deceased individual’s shares, you will need to transfer the property.

A spouse married in community of property

In this instance, you also own the property half-half. The entire property would go into the deceased estate and the estate needs the be processed, debts paid, and all other matters relating to it dealt with. If the deceased estate’s debt, for which the surviving spouse can also be held accountable, is of such a nature that assets need to be sold to settle it, the property could be in danger of being sold. If this is not the case, the deceased individual could have his/her surviving spouse inherit half of the property in which case the entire property will need to be transferred to the surviving spouse as sole owner, and you might need to re-qualify for the bond on the property. If the beneficiary is another family member, half the property will go to him/her.  

The one owner wishes to sell

If the one owner wishes to sell and the other does not, it could be stipulated what is to happen in the contract. Usually, the other owner would have the first option the buy the 50% of the shares that do not currently belong to him/her. If both are satisfied with the selling price, it could be a simple transfer of the property ownership. It could happen that an agreement cannot be reached in which case the property could be sold as a whole and both owners receive their share. The now previous owner could decide to buy the property again as a sole owner or find a new partner.

If the owners wish to part ways

This can be very similar to the situation above and it often happens the property as a whole is sold with each owner receiving his/her share, or the one owner buys out the other.

Co-owning a property is a bit more complicated than sole ownership. Our best advice would be to have a clear and nuanced contract that cover all reasonable eventualities concerning the death or departure of one owner. It avoids any unnecessary complications and confusion. If you need any assistance with the conveyancing of a co-owned property or the legal matters concerning the deceased estate of a co-owner, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the AED Attorneys. We understand that the loss of a loved one, the administration of a deceased estate, and the transfer of property can often all be part of the same traumatic event. Our single team of dedicated experts will take away the worry and stress when they handle it all.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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10 Conveyancing terms you need to know as the property buyer/seller

The transferring/conveying of property from a seller to a buyer can be a lengthy process that involves multiple people and lawyers. It is essential that the paperwork is done to the highest standard and that the property is properly from the seller’s ownership to the buyers. There is a lot of terminologies and specialised terms that real estate agents and lawyers will be very familiar with when transferring occurs. These terms might be completely foreign to the buyer/seller, and in this article, we would like to fix some of that. Read on to gain some insight into the terminology that can be used when your home is being transferred.

  1. Bond attorney

The bond attorney is one of the three main attorneys that will work to ensure the property is transferred properly. This attorney is responsible for getting the buyer’s bond registered after the home loan has been approved. The bond attorney is usually appointed by the bank providing the home loan. 

  • Bond originator

The bond originator is the person responsible for the new bond application. In other words, it is the buyer that now needs a bond.

  • Cancellation attorney

The cancellation attorney works with the bond attorney, but this individual is responsible for getting the seller’s existing bond cancelled at the bank. He/she is usually appointed by the bank that provided the seller with his/her bond.

  • Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the branch of the law that has to do with the preparation of all the documents to have a property transferred. Conveyancing attorneys have to be registered as such to be able to practice in this specialised area of the law.

  • Bond cancellation costs

The discharge cost is the charge involved in getting the sellers bond cancelled. Whenever a bond is transferred to a new bond provider, additional fees may be charged to be released from the bond early and the seller’s bond has to be settled before the property transfer can continue. 

  • Lodging attorney / Correspondent attorney

Towards the end of the transferring process, once all bonds are ready to be cancelled and/or approved, the transferring attorney will ready all the documentation that needs to be submitted to the Deeds Office. There is crucial documentation that needs to be submitted at the same time or the transfer cannot progress. If the transferring attorney is not in the vicinity of the Deeds Office, he/she can instruct a lodging office to complete this step. The lodging attorney will contact the bond and cancellation attorney to ensure the required documents are submitted at the same time.

  • Rates Clearance Certificate

This certificate is obtained from the municipality in which the property is located. It states that the current owner no longer owes any money on the municipal charges associated with the property. The transfer of the house cannot continue until this certificate has been obtained.

  • Transferring attorney

This attorney is primarily responsible for the transfer of the property. He/she must be a qualified conveyancer and they are usually appointed by the seller. The real estate agency/agent involved in the sale could also advise the seller of a reputable transfer attorney if the seller doesn’t know of one. The attorney oversees all the aspects of the process like administrative tasks, drafting transfer documents, communicating with all the parties involved, etc.

  • Transfer duty

The transfer duty is a cost above and beyond the agreed-to price of the property that needs to be paid to SARS when the property is transferred. The value of the house will determine the value of the transfer duty. This duty needs to be paid to SARS within 6 months of the sale date.

  1. Transfer fees

The transfer fees are also calculated above and beyond the price of the property, but it is payable to the transferring attorney for their services. The final amount is partially determined by the attorneys and partially by the Legal Practice Council’s guidelines as to fees payable to transferring and bond attorneys. 

The home buyer and/or seller doesn’t always need to know the intricacies of what it is the different attorneys are doing, but when they are familiar with these 10 terms, the transferring process can be much easier to understand.

A reputable conveyancing attorney, like those at AED attorneys, will be able to keep the buyer and/or seller fully informed and up to date on what is happening with the transfer of the property so they are never left in the dark or have unexpected expenses pop up.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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How does POPI affect the transfer of property?

The POPI Act has sent everyone in a bit of a tizzy. Do I have to comply? Does my company comply? Do I have to email our client/newsletter list? Do I have to delete all my data? These questions shouldn’t be new, though, as the Act has been around for quite some time. Now, companies can just receive a rather hefty fine of up to R10 million and be blacklisted. It is this reality that seems to have suddenly hit home.

The thing is, everyone has to comply, and you have to double-check that your company does. You can do this by sending emails to your client/newsletter lists, but it doesn’t mean you will have to delete all your data.  There are some industries and some transactions that deal with a lot more personal data than others. In these industries, professionals have to cross their t’s and dot their I’s. The Real Estate industry is definitely one such example.

The POPI Act

By now, we all know that the POPI Act has been put in place to protect consumer’s personal data. A company has to responsibly collect, process, store, and share personal information or face the risk of paying civil damages or being sued. There are exclusions and exemptions to the Act. If data has been de-identified to the point that it cannot be re-identified, and if the data is connected to terrorists and related activities, it is excluded from the Act. If the public interest outweighs the privacy of the individual or if the processing of data involves a clear benefit to the Data Subject or Third Party, it is exempt from the ACT.

What about Property Transfers?

Whenever you buy or sell a property, there is a lot of personal information that needs to be provided by the buyer and seller and shared between interested parties, from the real estate agent to the bank to the attorney(s) involved. The real estate industry and the law firms that form part of it were already heavily regulated long before the POPI Act came into force. This means that the data disclosed to interested parties is also already regulated. What the POPI Act had done, however, is create another layer of protection for the consumer and a clear avenue of recourse should their information not be processed responsibly. It also brought South Africa more on par with the same type of privacy laws already in effect in other countries worldwide. 

The disclosure of information when a property transfer takes place will still happen; it has to. Private information about the buyer and seller still needs to be shared amongst stakeholders in the transaction. The focus now is on how stakeholders will do so responsibly. This includes receiving explicit consent from the buyer and seller that the necessary information may be shared. That information has to be stored securely and only shared among stakeholders.

Luckily, this type of data security has already been in place at reputable mortgage originators, estate agents, insurers, and attorneys. Their responsibility now is to ensure that all individuals that have to work with the data are fully aware of the seriousness of keeping it secure and that individuals can be personally liable if they compromise it.

Consumers also need to act responsibly when they are asked to share their own personal information. Make sure you are working with reputable companies. You can even go as far as to ask how they are ensuring that your data is safe and how they are staying POPIA compliant.

AED Attorneys understand how precious your personal information is. We do not disclose any of your information unless it is done with your consent and for the specific purpose of transferring a property that you are either the buyer or seller of. AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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What is the difference between transfer fees and transfer duty and when is each payable or not?

Buying a house should be a marvellously wonderful experience. If it’s your first house, then it is likely the first big investment you are making towards your future and your excitement is running high. Beware, however, of the hidden and not so hidden costs that are involved with home purchases – things like spending money on moving, structural issues, levies, insurance, and bond fees. The two that are often confused are transfer fees/costs that always have to be paid and transfer duties that have to be paid sometimes.

Transfer duties

This is an additional cost above and beyond the price of the house that is payable to SARS when a property is transferred from one owner to another. The amount is calculated on either the purchase price of the property or the value of the property depending on which one is higher. The higher value will put you into a percentage band that will determine the final amount payable. From the 1st of March 2020, any property purchased at a value of R1 000 000 or less is exempt from paying transfer duties, hence the rate at which you pay this tax is 0%. For a property with a value of R1 380 000 for example, the transfer duty is R11 250 plus 6% of the value above R1 357 000. Below is a handy table of the transfer duty calculations:

Value of the property (R)Rate
1 – 1 000 0000%
1 000 001 – 1 375 0003% of the value above R1 000 000
1 375 001 – 1 925 000R11 250 + 6% of the value above R1 375 000
1 925 001 – 2 475 000R44 250 + 8% of the value above R1 925 000
2 475 001 – 11 000 000R88 250 + 11% of the value above R2 475 000
11 000 001 and aboveR1 026 000 + 13% of the value exceeding R11 000 000

If the property you purchase is subject to transfer duties, you are required to pay the calculated amount to SARS within 6 months of the sale date. If this is not done within the allotted time, you will be subject to penalties. The conveyancing attorneys will handle the payment, but this payment has nothing to do with their transfer fees.

Transfer fees

Unlike transfer duties, this is an additional cost above and beyond the price of the house, that always has to be paid to the attorneys handling the administrative tasks of the purchase. The total amount payable is also dependent on the value of the property and thus varies from purchase to purchase. The Legal Practice Council (formerly known as the Law Society) does provide a guideline as to the fees payable to the transferring and bond attorneys, but the disbursements (for example postage and petties, document generation fees, rate clearance costs) are at the discretion of the attorneys and may vary.

Bond fees are for the registration of a bond in your name (buyer). If the seller still had an active bond, then there will be a fee to cancel the bond.

It is important when selling or buying a home to involve attorneys that will transfer ownership efficiently and with transparency. AED Attorneys does just that as they ensure that a property is handled with care as quickly as possible. With their in-house conveyancing team and transparent dealings, your property is in the best hands possible.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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You’ve Lost Your Title Deeds – Now What?

A Title Deed is a document that proves you are the legal owner of a property and is of utmost importance when you need to transfer the property. Once the purchaser’s bond has been approved when you sell your house, the Conveyancer will request the original Title Deed.

If this document has been lost, misplaced or damaged, you, as the Property Owner, have a means available to you through Regulation 68(1) of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937, which allows you to apply for a certified copy to be issued by the Registrar of Deeds.

How to Obtain a Copy of Your Title Deed

For this process, you will need to sign an affidavit in front of a Notary Public, a specialist Attorney with knowledge of specific acts and processes, and legally empowered to witness signatures officially. Most attorney firms, such as AED Attorneys, employ the services of a Notary Public.

This affidavit must state the following:

  • Details of the lost Deed;
  • How it came to be lost, damaged or misplaced;
  • That a thorough search for it has been done;
  • Assurance that no one has detained it as a security for a debt;
  • That, should the original be found at a later stage, it will be provided to the Registrar of Deeds;

Missing Title Deed of Bonded Property

Should there still be a bond on the property, the bank that holds the bond will need to provide a letter stating that they were not in possession of the Title Deed and have no objection to you applying for a certified copy of another one.

Application Open for Public Comment

As an additional measure to minimise fraud, a further requirement was implemented in a Regulation amendment in 2019, stating that the application must first be advertised in the Government Gazette and a local newspaper where the property is located. For two weeks after that, the application will have to lie open for inspection by the public at the Deeds Office.

During this period, any person with a vested interest may object, in writing to the Registrar of Deeds, to this certified copy being issued.

Who May Apply For a Copy of the Missing Title Deed?

Only the owner/s of the property may apply for the certified copy. If there is more than one owner, then all signatures must be on the application document. Should the owner be deceased, as happens in many cases, only the Executor of the Estate who the Master of the High Court has appointed may make the application.

Once the process has been followed and completed, with no objections having been filed in the two weeks, the application for the issue of a certified copy can be lodged at the Deeds Office.

The copy will be printed with an endorsement stating, “Certified a true copy of the registry duplicate in terms of Regulation 68 of Act 47 of 1937 and is issued to take the place of the original“. The Deeds office will also record that a copy was issued.

In the event that you misplaced your Title Deed, contact AED Attorneys for assistance. We will provide you with further information on how to start this application process. We have a dedicated and efficient conveyancing team who can provide informed and professional advice on this matter, as well as many other property-related legal issues. In addition, our efficient in-house Master Consultant will attend to any other Master’s Office work required by the client.

AED Attorneys offers a personal touch and treat all our clients with patience and respect, no matter the size of the estate. Our staff are passionate, reliable and devoted to their work, placing emphasis on continuity and quality.

AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

new home owners

What Happens To The Municipal Account After A Property Sale?

It is incredibly exciting to receive the news from your Estate Agent that your house has been sold to an approved buyer. However, there are still a few steps that need to take place before the money lands in your account, and only once the transfer has been registered should you start concerning yourself about how the municipal accounts should be handled.

Each Municipality in South Africa works slightly differently, and there may be a few minor changes from time to time. Your Conveyancer or Transferring Attorney will keep you abreast of any important changes. Only once you receive confirmation that your property has been registered in the new owner’s name, can you make a trip to the municipal offices to sort out the account. It should be noted that the Purchaser must first open their own Municipal account before you can close yours.

What documentation does the Municipality require to close an account?

You, as the Seller will need to present the following documentation to the Municipality:

  • A letter from your Conveyancer or Transferring Attorney confirming that the transfer has indeed taken place.
  • A utility bill reflecting your municipal account number.
  • Your ID document.

You will then be required to pay all, if any, outstanding monies due to the Municipality before you can close your account. In a perfect world, It should take the Municipality about two to three weeks to close your account, after which you should no longer receive further charges from them. However, there are no guarantees as to this timing.

If there is any money owed to you by the Municipality, it may take quite a long time to process. Adjustments are only made once the account has been closed. These adjustments are performed by different departments within the Municipality, which is why they can take some time.

To obtain your refund, you will generally need to address a letter to the relevant Municipality requesting that the applicable refund be paid out to your Transferring Attorney. It may also be necessary to include both your and the Purchaser’s details, a description of the property and when it was transferred. You will need to provide the receipt of clearance fees paid and a copy of your ID. The Municipality will pay the refund to the Transferring Attorney to avoid the occurrence of fraudulent transactions. The Transferring Attorney will then pay the money over to you once they have received the refund.

As the Purchaser, the Transferring Attorney will notify you once the property has been registered in your name. They will also send a letter to the relevant Municipality informing them that the property has changed hands and confirming that registration has taken place.

The Deeds Office is then required to send the information to the Municipality within ten weeks of the property registration so that they can update the records on their system. Failure on the part of the Municipality to perform the record update is typically where a problem arises, and why the Seller must close their account and you, the Purchaser open a new account.

What documentation is required to open a Municipal account?

For the Seller to close their account, you will first need to open a new account as the Purchaser of the property. To do this requires you to visit the municipal offices, together with the following documentation in hand;

  • A letter from your Conveyancer or Transferring Attorney confirming that the property has been transferred into your name.
  • Your ID document.

Your new account number will be issued to you, and it is at this stage that you should notify the Seller that you have successfully opened a municipal account. Your action will enable the Seller to close their account.

What are my liabilities in terms of historical municipal debt?

Section 118(3) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act stipulates the following;

“An amount due for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and other municipal taxes, levies and duties is a charge upon the property in connection with which the amount is owing and enjoys preference over any mortgage bond registered against the property.”

Municipalities interpreted this Act that new homeowners assumed the historical municipal debt of the previous homeowners, and a Clearance Certificate could only be issued to the new owner once the debts for the previous two years had been cleared.

Bearing in mind that the foundation upon which an economy is established is the concept of private ownership of property, this interpretation by the Municipalities impacted on new home owners, in that they were left without water, electricity and refuse services. It also violated Section 25(1) of the Bill of Rights which provides that;

“25(1) No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.”

In August 2017, the Constitutional Court handed down judgement that new homeowners may not be held responsible or liable for historical municipal debts incurred by the previous home owner under Section 118(3) of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act.

This means that as the Seller, you are still responsible for all your municipal debts, and if you are the Purchaser you no longer need to worry about being held liable for somebody else’s bills. Should you have any questions or require assistance regarding property transfers, AED Attorneys have expert conveyancers who have established notable relationships with all the various municipalities. These relationships stand them in good stead when it comes to advice and assistance with property transfers.

AED Attorneys offer their clients a very useful tool in the form of a helpful online link which allows you to view the progress of your property transaction.

They are situated in the suburb of Helderkruin in Roodepoort. For friendly and efficient conveyancing services, contact AED Attorneys. *AED Attorneys understands that every situation is unique, and although they strive to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate at the time of publishing, it cannot be guaranteed to be without errors or omissions. As a result, AED Attorneys, its employees, independent contractors, associates or third parties will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable, for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions in this article, which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

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