In 2010 there was a case regarding the complications of co-ownership of a property in South Africa. The case involved a property which was owned by three people.
The portions of the property were utilised in different ways by each owner and when it came time to selling the property, two of the three parties were opposed to the sale.
After the case was heard, adjustments were made to the law on joint ownership of property.
South African law stipulates that every co-owner of property may insist that the property be divided or partitioned at any time.
Agreements which stipulate that co-owned property will be jointly owned forever are no longer valid. Any one of the co-owners of a property cannot be denied their right to sell the property whenever they so choose.
However, agreements which prohibit the sale of the property by of the co-owners for a certain period of time may be accepted.
No co-owner will be forced or obliged to remain the co-owner of immovable property against his or her will.
When co-owners are unable to agree on the method of selling the property or how it should be divided, the court will consider the circumstances before making an order according to what is fair and reasonable.
Furthermore, when it comes to dividing the profits of the sale, the court will consider each co-owner’s contributions towards rates and taxes as well as maintenance and repair of the property.
If any co-owner has enjoyed uninterrupted occupation of the property free of charge or at a low rental, the court will take this into consideration.
It’s important that parties who choose to co-own property must enter into a regulated agreement which clearly states how their partnership may be terminated as well as how the property will be dealt with.
Therefore, agreeing on the exit strategies before signing a contract is crucial to avoid potential law suites.
Contact us for professional legal assistance regarding the co-ownership of a property in South Africa.
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