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Property Law

Property Law

Property Law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in property, for example: fixed property such as a house or building.

The most common way of acquiring a real right of ownership infixed property is through the registration of transfer in the Deeds Office which occurs pursuant to the conclusion of a deed of sale entered into between a seller and a purchaser.

Conveyancers are appointed by the seller to attend to the transfer of the fixed property, and the registration of the deed of transfer at the Deeds Office. The Conveyancer will also deal with transfer duties, VAT payable, payment of the bond registration costs, estate agent's commission, the payment of the purchase price, etc.

Most recent Property Law Articles posted

Accused Ponzi scheme pastor's houses auctioned

Two posh mansions owned by a Cape Flats pastor accused of running a multi-million rand Ponzi scheme has gone under the hammer. According to a report on the IoL site, the five-bedroom Plattekloof house of Colin Davids, the director of Platinum Forex Group, was sold within 10 minutes at an auction held at the property in Melkhout Street. Bidding started at R2m and the highest bid received was a whopping R4.6m.

Businessman ordered to demolish store or face jail

The KZN High Court (Durban) has ordered an Amanzimtoti businessman to demolish the store he erected illegally, or risk prison time, says a report in The Mercury. Deepak Bhardwaj has been found in contempt of a 2015 court order – interdicting him from trading from the Wanda Cele Road property at which Toti Saverite is located. He was given two months to tear the structure down, failing which he could be sent to prison.

Johannesburg battles to re-home illegal tenants

The City of Johannesburg will not be able to meet the Constitutional Court’s requirement to provide alternative accommodation to people evicted from illegally occupied buildings, because it simply does not have enough space. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said: ‘At the moment, we don’t have the capacity to accommodate people who would still be evicted.’

ConCourt ruling on evictions welcomed by LRC

The Legal Resources Centre has welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment which has implications for the conduct of courts in future evictions of occupiers, says a TimesLIVE report. The centre represented the Poor Flat Dwellers Association‚ a non-profit organisation formed in 2009 to resist the exploitation of flat dwellers‚ as a friend of the court in the case in which the Constitutional Court held that courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has apparently consented to his removal.

Judgment sets out courts' evictions obligations

Courts have an obligation to consider all relevant considerations before ordering an eviction‚ in cases where an unlawful occupier has purportedly consented to his removal. The Constitutional Court made this finding yesterday as it rescinded a 2013 order made by the High Court evicting 184 occupiers from a block of flats in Johannesburg. The decision has been described as momentous by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri)‚ which represented the occupiers, notes a TimesLIVE report.

Bank's reliance on 'accelerator' clause dismissed

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has refused to enforce an ‘accelerator’ clause in a home loan agreement based on a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment making it much more difficult for banks to take back the homes of defaulters, a Beeld report notes.

Time for litigation, say District Six claimants

Government has missed the deadline to respond to the District Six Working Committee’s demands about the number of land claims it had received and those it had approved for financial compensation, says a Cape Times report. The committee’s attorney, Nicki van’t Riet, said yesterday that they would go ahead with litigation following the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s failure to provide answers to their letter of demands sent more than a month ago.

Landmark SCA ruling a 'win-win' for home sellers

A landmark SCA ruling has freed property sellers from the obligation of paying a full year’s rates in advance to obtain a rates clearance certificate. According to a Fin24 report, Greg Parker, one of the directors of Greyvensteins Attorneys, which successfully appealed on behalf of a client contesting the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s (NMBM's) right to claim a full financial year’s worth of rates before issuing a rates clearance certificate, said the precedent-setting case centred on the sale of a property in Port Elizabeth.

What is an Occupancy Certificate? Why Do You Need It?

Hopefully you won’t have to wait 20 years for your new dream home to be built – that’s how long Cheops (ancient Egyptian pharaoh) had to hang around twiddling his thumbs whilst his Great Pyramid of Giza was going up – but you will no doubt be keen to move in as soon as you can.

Municipal debt issue argued in top court

The Constitutional Court was asked yesterday to confirm the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) order last year that a new owner cannot be held liable for the water‚ rates and lights debts of the old owner or owners, notes a TimesLIVE report. The Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities argue that the municipal debts belong to the property and municipalities can sell a house to recover the debt dating back up to 30 years.

Eviction order set aside over homelessness issue

The Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) has set aside an eviction order granted against 84 men‚ women and children living at 8 O’Reilly Street‚ Hillbrow‚ in Johannesburg’s inner city‚ the Socio-economic Rights Institute (Seri) said. According to a TimesLIVE report, it said the court held that the eviction order should not have been made without the City of Johannesburg being part of the proceedings.

When users' rights may trump owners' rights

While the Constitutional Court judgment in Daniels v Scribante and Another will not have any immediate dramatic effect on the nature of land distribution, it contains important jurisprudence which social justice lawyers will be able to use in other cases to change the way we think of land and land ownership in SA. ‘The judgment calls on us to think of land in terms of relationships, rather than purely in terms of rights that owners can enforce to exclude others from using the land for any purpose,’ says constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos, in an analysis on his Constitutionally Speaking blog.

Consumer Commission launches timeshare inquiry

A Consumer Commission inquiry into the ‘vacation ownership/timeshare industry’ launched yesterday will include a review of all legislation, policies and codes applicable to the promotion, rental, sale, re-sale, swap’ and reservation of timeshares.

Property owners win in SCA rates ruling

In what The Star calls a major victory for property owners, the SCA has ruled that municipalities cannot demand that property sellers pay in advance for many months of rates, fees and charges before issuing a rates clearance certificate. In a case involving the Nelson Mandela municipality demanding at least R1m in advanced rates for one year from Amber Mountain Investments 3, the company paid under duress for the sale to go through.

Crucial case tackles housing for poor

A rights group in northern KZN is taking the fight for housing to court, notes a report in The Mercury. The Endumeni Civic Association claims in papers filed in the KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) that the constitutional rights of some of the most vulnerable and poor having been systematically violated. The association – represented by the Durban Legal Resources Centre – is asking the court to compel the Endumeni municipality to process applications for RDP housing in a ‘fair and transparent’ manner.

District Six claimants demand homes

District Six claimants who have been waiting for homes for more than 20 years have warned Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to stop rewarding claimants with ‘shoddy houses and back-hand deals’. A Cape Times report says about 700 claimants gathered at a meeting organised by the District Six working committee on Saturday, where it was made clear that claimants will no longer tolerate delays in the restitution process.

Land reform Bill unconstitutional – FMF

The new land reform provisions contained in the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill render the Bill unconstitutional and make it an exercise in redistribution rather than restitution as required by the Constitution, says the Free Market Foundation (FMF). In a statement yesterday, recorded on the Fin24 site, the Foundation said the Bill demonstrates government’s refusal to consider far more appropriate and effective measures to achieve land reform.

Collecting Arrear Levies: A New Risk for Your Body Corporate

Levy collections are the life blood of sectional title schemes, and collecting them is likely to get harder with the economic fallout from our downgrade to junk status. So if you own property in a scheme, and particularly if you are a trustee of your body corporate, you need to know about the new SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) decision in Body Corporate of Empire Gardens v Sithole and Another (240/2016) [2017] ZASCA 28 which puts at risk the body corporate’s right to apply for sequestration of levy defaulters.

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.

Can expropriation without compensation be justified?

‘Can expropriation without compensation or expropriation against low or nominal compensation be justified simply because the expropriation is aimed at a constitutionally legitimate purpose such as land reform?’ In an analysis on the Centre for Constitutional Rights’ website, the centre’s Phephelaphi Dube says this question must be asked following statements by both President Jacob Zuma, as well as the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, that expropriation without compensation for land reform within the current framework of the property clause is possible.

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