Property Sellers – Prepare for SPLUMA

Property Sellers – Prepare for SPLUMA

Many factors can delay your property transfer, and all of them are likely to cost you. A last-minute rush to comply with statutory requirements is one such pitfall to avoid. Beware therefore of the possibility that you will soon need (in some parts of the country you may already need), to lodge before transfer a formal “SPLUMA” (Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) certificate of compliance. SPLUMA, without getting too technical, provides a framework for all provinces and municipalities to pass laws governing land use and development. There is (at date of writing) some confusion over what is actually…
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Your Neighbour Builds Without Plans – Can You Get a Demolition Order?

Your Neighbour Builds Without Plans – Can You Get a Demolition Order?

“Neighbour problems” are as old as civilization itself, and an all-too-common cause of conflict is construction work. When your neighbour’s new house/extension/outbuilding impinges on your sea view, or steals your light, or invades your privacy, or encroaches on your property, you are going to be upset. And you will want to know what you can do about stopping the offending work as soon as possible. So, what can you do if your neighbour has started (or finished) building without the necessary municipal approvals? In a nutshell, our courts will very probably assist you with a demolition order, as a recent…
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“Seller’s Remorse” and “Subject to Sale of the Buyer’s Property” – Can They Sink the Sale?

“Seller’s Remorse” and “Subject to Sale of the Buyer’s Property” – Can They Sink the Sale?

The upcoming festive season, with its mass migrations of happy holiday-makers to their dream destinations, has always been a busy time for both sellers and buyers. In these hard times however, an increasing number of sellers are feeling pressured to accept offers well under their expectations, so cases of “seller’s remorse” are much more likely now than they have been for many years. The question is, just how easy or difficult is it for a seller to escape a sale agreement signed in haste? Equally common no doubt are sales “subject to the sale of the buyer’s property” - for…
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Warning: Property Email Scams Surging

Warning: Property Email Scams Surging

Why yet another warning about cyber-scams in the property industry? It’s because the hard fact is that the criminals are winning this war. In fact we are now reportedly the “second most targeted country in the world with regard to cyber-attacks” (Law Society of South Africa). Hence, no doubt, the Legal Practitioners Indemnity Insurance Fund report of “over 110 cybercrime related claims with a total value of R70 million” in the period July 2016 to August 2018. The scammers are using more and more sophisticated techniques to lull their victims into complacency, and your best protection is your own vigilance…
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You Signed a Property Sale Agreement, Can You Still Accept a Better Offer?

You Signed a Property Sale Agreement, Can You Still Accept a Better Offer?

Imagine a situation where you put your property on the market and an acceptable, but not-perfect, offer is received. You think of the old saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and you decide that you are going to accept the offer - even though it’s not ideal. Perhaps it’s not perfect because it’s subject to a suspensive condition - common ones give the buyer time to sell his/her current house or to obtain a bond. In each scenario your sale will fall through if the buyer is unsuccessful within the stated time, and if…
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Instalment sale agreements: when can a seller cancel?

Instalment sale agreements: when can a seller cancel?

A recent decision handed down by the Constitutional Court in the matter of Amardien and Others v Registrar of Deeds and Others [2018] ZACC 47 confirms the steps to be taken by a seller before he may unilaterally cancel an instalment sale agreement. Recordal of the instalment sale agreement In terms of Section 20(1)(a) of the Alienation of Land Act 68 of 1981 (“the ALA”), a seller is required to ensure that an instalment sale agreement ("ISA") entered into with a purchaser is recorded against the title deed of the property with the Registrar of Deeds. Section 26(1) of the…
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How to Avoid Disputes over Jointly Owned Property

How to Avoid Disputes over Jointly Owned Property

Buying property can be an excellent investment, but it can also be expensive. So sometimes it makes a lot of sense to share the financial burden with someone else. Perhaps for example you are spouses or life partners buying your first home. Perhaps you are a group of families planning to share a holiday house, or two firms looking to co-own business premises. Just be very careful here… What can go wrong? Co-ownership (or “joint ownership” – it’s the same thing) always starts off all fine and friendly. You’re life partners, or business partners, or best friends (you may even be…
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Property: What Are Your Rights to Views and Privacy?

Property: What Are Your Rights to Views and Privacy?

There are a number of high court cases dealing with a property owners "right to a view" and it seems that with the number of new developments in sought after areas these issues will continue to come up. We've previously looked at a property owners' attempt to enforce a height servitude over a neighbour's property and another case where property owners attempted to stop neighbours from going double-storey. The recent judgment in Judgment in Da Cruz and Another v City of Cape Town and Another (6561/2015) [2017] ZAWCHC 1 is yet another warning to do your homework before you buy or develop…
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Property and trusts – be careful!

Property and trusts – be careful!

For most of us, business dealings with trusts are most likely to happen when selling a property to, or buying a property from, a trust.  But no matter why or how it happens, have your lawyer check that whoever signs for the trust is fully authorised to do so. For want of authority, the case is lost If you don't ascertain up front that the person signing the agreement on behalf of the trust is properly authorised, you could be in for a major shock if you come to blows and need to ask a court for assistance. The recent case…
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Buying And Selling Property:  The Bond Clause Blues, And How To Beat Them

Buying And Selling Property: The Bond Clause Blues, And How To Beat Them

“Men keep agreements when it is to the advantage of neither to break them” (Solon, Athenian lawgiver c. 638 BC - 559 BC) Here’s the story of yet another High Court battle over a disputed property sale agreement.  A fight over how to interpret the “bond clause” again highlighted how vital it is to clearly express the intentions of both the seller and the buyer in every word of the agreement. A seller gets cold feet (the facts) The seller sold a property to the buyer for R1,62m, payable on registration of transfer. The bond clause made the sale conditional…
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