Property Buyers: Beware Unlawful Occupiers!

Property Buyers: Beware Unlawful Occupiers!

If you plan to buy a house before the property market starts to recover from its present doldrums, be aware of the risks you face if anyone is currently in the property. A recent High Court decision of Pure Capital Property Trading CC v Hanslo and Others (15217/2018) [2018] ZAWCHC 137 illustrates the danger of your being unable to evict unwelcome occupiers who point-blank refuse to leave. We’ll analyse that decision, and the lessons to be learned from it, after summarising the two things that PIE (the Prevention of Illegal Eviction From and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act) requires you…
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Are you liable for a previous owner’s unpaid rates and taxes on a property?

Are you liable for a previous owner’s unpaid rates and taxes on a property?

You might not have initially been aware of this, but it might have arisen during conversation over dinner if somebody you know has recently purchased a house. The crux of the conversation was “beware when buying a new property, because you may become liable for rates going all the way back to the 1980s. This is notwithstanding that you were in a cot at the time.” Surely this could never be the case, especially since it is not your debt - it is the previous owner's debt?! However, fear not, the Gauteng Division of the High Court has clarified the…
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Property Agreements – an alteration which would sink your sale!

Property Agreements – an alteration which would sink your sale!

Although in our law most verbal contracts are binding, property sale agreements are an exception.   They must be in writing and signed by the parties to be valid, the reason being that it greatly reduces the risk of confusion or dispute as to what the buyer and seller have actually agreed. In practice of course, the buyer’s initial offer is usually in the form of a written document which only becomes an agreement if and when signed in acceptance by the seller.  And often that initial offer sparks negotiation, usually over price or other important terms, with the result that…
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Everything that shines isn’t always gold: property owners must be weary in light of new SCA judgment

Everything that shines isn’t always gold: property owners must be weary in light of new SCA judgment

Imagine finding your dream home: a charming townhouse with sufficient space for you and your family in a quiet neighborhood with a resplendent view of the cityscape. It ticks all of the boxes and you cannot wait to move in and begin this new chapter of your life. Now imagine just before you take transfer, being informed that you have to pay debts incurred by the previous owners – suddenly, the home of your dreams becomes a house of nightmares. In February 2016 the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) held that property owners can be held liable by the Municipality…
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