Reasons for Delay in Property Transfers in South Africa – Part II | Legal Articles


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Reasons for Delay in Property Transfers in South Africa – Part II

In our previous article, we shared some important reasons to be aware of, that could cause a delay in the transfer of the property you are either buying or selling.

Delays are caused by several different reasons and it’s important to understand that the transfer of property is a legally intricate process which requires patience as well as full cooperation from all the parties involved.

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What Causes a Delay in Property Transfer in South Africa?

External Parties

There are a number of different role players when it comes to transferring property from one person to another. These include local municipalities, SARS, and body corporates to name a few. When attorneys to do not receive full cooperation from external role players, significant delays can be expected.

One of the biggest hurdles faced by conveyancing attorneys in South Africa is the process of obtaining rates clearance certificates from the relevant local municipality. Understaffed institutions with lack of necessary resources can cause major delays in the transfer of your property.

The transaction can come to a complete standstill if there are outstanding clearance figures to be paid by the seller. In many cases, the seller doesn’t have the funds needed to make payment and a rates clearance certificate will not be issued until all rates and taxes have been paid up to date and, sometimes, for a few months in advance. Additionally, clearance certificates are only valid for 60 days, so if there are other delaying factors, the clearance certificate may lapse and a new, up-to-date certificate will need to be obtained.

When the seller is part of a homeowners association or body corporate, a levy clearance certificate for the property will be required to prove that the seller’s levies have been paid up to date. This can be a time-consuming activity, especially when the seller does not have the funds available to settle any levies in arrears.

Sellers are responsible for providing the buyer with all the relevant certificates of compliance. If the seller does not already possess these certificates, they will need to get the relevant contractors to come out and assess the electrics, gas, and/or plumbing. If these installations and systems are not compliant with the relevant standards, repairs will need to be carried out, causing additional delays in the transfer.

Banks and Deeds Offices

Banks appoint bond attorneys to attend to the bond registration. It is then the bond attorney’s responsibility to coordinate the relevant bond cancellation and transferring attorneys to make sure that all the necessary documentation is submitted to the Deeds Office at the same time. Only once all the documents have been handed to the Deeds Office can they be lodged. Then, an internal process is followed to inspect the documents and to make sure that everything is in order. When one or more of the involved parties fail to submit the documents, or take their time to do so, you can expect delays in the transfer of your property.

It's not uncommon for banks to impose extra requirements which must be complied with before approving the bond application. Some of the additional requirements can include:

  • Providing proof of sufficient insurance in the case of sectional title schemes
  • Producing approved building plans
  • Purchaser must obtain life or bond insurance

When banks make additional requests, fulfilling them can be time-consuming which can cause a delay in the transfer process.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Conveyancing Attorneys South Africa

In our next article, we talk about what you can do to avoid delays in the transfer of property in South Africa.

With offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg, our conveyancing attorneys are accessible. We provide friendly, professional, and efficient conveyancing services. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

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