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   Frequently Asked Questions

Once the deal is signed and sealed, there are bound to be a few questions from either the buyer or the seller. A good real estate agent should be able to answer these questions for you. However, should you have any other questions, please send them to us and we will respond as soon as possible.

What is a latent defect?
In brief, a latent defect is a defect pertaining to the property being sold which is known to the Seller and that the Seller purposely fails to disclose to the Purchaser.

What does “voetstoots” mean?
It is an agreement between the parties to the Deed of Sale in terms of whereof it is agreed that the Seller shall not be liable for the defects of the property. However, if the Seller is aware of the defect and deliberately, and in bad faith, fails to disclose it to the Purchaser, the “voetstoots” clause will not afford the Seller protection.

What are postages and petties?
These are charges levied by the Attorneys, such as stamps on letters, correspondence not included in the tariff, extra telephone calls, messenger services, cell phone charges and other similar items.

The Geyser in the house I bought is leaking. What should I do?
The house is normally bought “voetstoots”. That means that the house is bought “as it is”. The Purchaser is deemed to have inspected the house and bought it with whatever defects there are. If transfer has not yet been registered, the Seller could possibly recover the repair costs from the Seller’s Home Owners Insurance. If the transfer has been registered, it would be up to the Purchaser to prove that the faulty geyser was a latent defect.

The swimming pool is green. What can I do?
If the pool was blue and sparkling at the time it was purchased and was handed over in a green and dirty condition, it would be incumbent upon the Seller to restore it to the condition it was at the time of the sale.

The Seller removed the DSTV Aerial. Can I claim it back?
One must look carefully at the terms of the contract dealing with this item. If no mention is made of the aerial, it will be regarded as a fixture that the Seller is not entitled to remove.

The light fittings are not the same. Can I claim to have the originals re-fitted?
In the event of the Seller changing the light fittings after conclusion of the Agreement of Sale, the Seller shall be liable for the cost of replacing the fittings unless the contract provides otherwise. Light fittings are also regarded as fixtures unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.

The stove is not working. Can I get the Seller to repair it?
It is the duty of the agent to inspect the working condition of such item. If the Purchaser bought “voetstoots” there would be very little you can do unless it can be proved that the faulty stove was a latent defect.

How long will transfer take?
The transfer of a property is complex. The registration time is influenced by many factors such as the registration being linked to the registration of another property, or the property having to be transferred from the deceased estate. Attorneys on bank panels are encouraged, however, to register a transfer within 45 days.

How does occupational rent work upon registration of transfer?
Occupational rent is usually paid monthly in advance. If the transfer is registered, for example on the 10th day of a month comprising 30 days, the Purchaser will be entitled to a pro rata refund of 20 days, or two-thirds of the occupational rent paid.

Who is liable for the payment of a special levy?
In the majority of transfers of Sectional Title properties, the risk passes on registration of transfer of the property. Should a special levy be imposed prior to transfer, the Seller is liable for payment thereof, whilst the Purchaser becomes liable after registration of transfer.

How do rates and taxes work?
The Registrar of Deeds will not allow the registration of a transfer unless he is satisfied that all rates and taxes have been paid. The transferring Attorney therefore obtains figures three months in advance from the Local Council and makes payment of the account. The Local Council gives a Clearance Certificate with the other transfer documents. Should the transfer be registered prior to the expiry of the three month period, the Seller is reimbursed pro rata to the unexpired period.

Who must obtain the Electrical Certificate?
The Seller must, at his cost, obtain a Certificate of Compliance by an accredited person in terms of the Regulations promulgated in terms of Act 85 of 1993.

What does the Electrical Certificate cover?
The accredited person must conduct a visual inspection and furnish a report on various aspects such as whether all the components of the installation conform to the applicable standard, et cetera. He/she has also to conduct tests and use an instrument to enable him/her to give a reading on, for instance, the continuity and resistance of the earth conductor including all bonding conductors.

My friend bought a brand new house. Why did they not pay transfer costs?
It may be that the builder sold the house inclusive of transfer duty and that he assumed the liability for payment thereof. It should be noted that whereas in the past on transfer duty was payable when share in a company or members interest in a Close Corporation were purchased, the law has changed and transfer duty is now payable on such transactions.

I have bought a house direct from the developer. What warranties do I have?
Major structural defects carry a 5 year warranty from the date on which the Purchaser accepted the home from the builder. Deviations from the original agreed on plan and / or workmanship carry a 3 month warranty. A leaking roof carries a warranty of 12 months, should the leak be attributable to workmanship, design or materials used.

I have bought a house but now no longer want it. Can I cancel the contract?
The law allows a “cooling off period” of 5 days only on property valued at R300 000.00 or less. Any property bought above this value does not enjoy any cooling off right, and the contact is deemed to be enforceable on signature of both the Purchaser and Seller.


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