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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

Banks sued for R60bn over home repossessions

More than 225 applicants, mostly from Gauteng townships, have launched a suit in the Constitutional Court, claiming damages from the big banks for home repossession abuse. A GroundUp report says the applicants are claiming R60bn from the banks for unlawful repossession of homes since the Constitution came into effect in 1994.

Verbal Agreements – The Property Perspective

A recent High Court judgment of Abigak 1 General Trading & Investment CC v Gani and Another; Gani and Another v Balkin and Others (1184/16; 6620/16) [2017] ZAGPJHC 126 is yet another reminder of how essential it is to comply with all necessary formalities when entering into any sort of agreement, particularly when dealing with the sale of property.

City seeks back-dated interdict in precedent-setting case

The City of Johannesburg is set to clamp down on developers and builders who build without approved plans and approvals. In what The Star reports is to believed to be a serious precedent, the city is in the processing a back-dated interdict against a development company, Balwin Properties (Pty) Ltd, for the illegal construction of some 1 000 units in Crawthorne.

Game lodge loses EC farm battle

Luxury game lodge Kichaka has lost a vital court battle to continue its access to land owned by the family that founded the American Heinz dynasty. A Daily Dispatch report notes from Tuesday next week, guests staying at the Kichaka Lodge face the inconvenience of having to circumnavigate a massive portion of land bought by the Heinz-Youness family if it wants to view game on the rest of the conservancy.

ConCourt's missed opportunity to enhance Esta

The Constitutional Court’s decision in Baron and others v Claytile (Pty) Limited and Another is a missed opportunity to enhance the usefulness of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (Esta) as a tool that can enable farm dwellers to take control of their lives. The Act recognises that the farm dweller’s rights to live on commercial farmlands are precarious.

Evictions ruling seen as 'disaster' for rural occupiers

Former employees of a brick plant in Cape Town have lost their five-year battle to hold on to their farm homes, notes a TimesLIVE report. Yesterday the Constitutional Court said they should move 30km from Muldersvlei‚ near Klapmuts‚ to Wolwerivier‚ near Atlantis‚ which they argued is too far from their children’s schools and their workplace. A spokesperson for Lawyers for Human Rights‚ which represented the ex-employees‚ said the judgment was disappointing.

Evicting Your Troublesome Tenant: More Problems with PIE

Buy-to-let property can be an excellent investment. Just be sure that you take into account the possible difficulty, cost and delay of evicting a defaulting tenant – or indeed any unlawful occupier – who refuses to budge. The problem of course is that you have to keep on paying all your property expenses whilst the legal processes grind their way slowly, painfully and expensively through the courts.

Your Property Sale Agreement: Be Careful How It’s Worded!

Here’s yet another reminder from our courts on how important it is – if you want to avoid the trials of litigation – for you to have your property sale agreement drawn up professionally.  One thing it must do, as the case in question clearly shows, is record the terms of your agreement precisely and without any room for argument. This High Court case in Phepeng and Another v Estate Late Ame Combrinck and Others revolved around a “bond clause” in a sale agreement. 

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.

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