Quick Tips for ensuring a smooth and timeous Property Transfer

Introduction

Today, more and more people are purchasing immovable property in South Africa.

The transfer process, from acceptance of the offer to registration, should roughly take three to four months depending on the terms and conditions on the Sale Agreement or alternatively the type of sale. No transfer can be lodged in the Deeds Office until all the Deeds Registry Requirements have been complied with.

However, this rarely happens if the Seller or Purchaser delay the transfer process which could be caused due to various factors. Both the Seller and the Purchaser can therefore become at risk of being prejudiced as a result of lack of compliance from either Party.

This article will therefore provide some tips to ensure a successful transfer within the appropriate time frames.

Financial Intelligence Centre Act (38 of 2001) – FICA

In South Africa, The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) combats money laundering activities by, among other things, establishing a Financial Intelligence Centre and imposing certain duties on institutions and other persons that might be used for money laundering purposes.

FICA is therefore required for all transfers in respect of immovable property. Both the Seller and the Purchaser will be required to sign a Power of Attorney to Transfer as well as a number of affidavits to verify marital status, financial status and identity.

Always submit your I.D. and FICA documents as soon as possible. Outstanding FICA can delay transfer as FICA documentation is required to make application for Rates Clearance, but also Application to SARS in respect of Transfer Duty.

Deeds Search Revealing Interdicts Found on Property

If there are known interdicts on the property, it is important to inform the Conveyancer to prevent delay as Rates Clearance Certificate will not be issued unless this is resolved. If not disclosed, the Conveyancer will also pick same up when conducting a Deeds Search.

Furthermore, in order for the Deeds Office to lift the Interdict on the property, the Seller might also be required to obtain consent from the Party who placed the interdict on the property or alternatively apply for rescission of judgment if there is an existing court order. This can delay the transfer process for months on end if not resolved.

Rates Clearance

The Conveyancer is required to obtain a Rates and/or /Levy Clearance Certificate from the Local Municipality.

  • Obtain a rates assessment from the Rates’ Department.
  • Obtain a copy of the Seller’s Levy Statement or details of the Managing Agents
  • Obtain a levy assessment from the Managing Agents or Body Corporate for Sectional Title Properties
  • Obtain the Seller’s rates number (normally found on the electricity account)
  • Inform the Purchaser of the approximate amount to be paid in advance for rates (usually three months) or levies (varies from 1- 3 months depending on the Body Corporate/Managing Agents.
  • Make payment of rates/levies in accordance with the assessment.
  • Obtain an Electrical and Entomologist Clearance Certificate (also known as a “Beetle Certificate”) if the Agreement calls for it
  • Obtain payment from bank and make payment of all costs due from the proceeds of the sale such as the Electrician, Entomologist and the Estate Agent.

It is essential that the co-operation is received from all Parties herein.

Transfer Duty

The Conveyancer is required to obtain a transfer duty receipt from SARS and therefore the following is required from the Seller and the Purchaser:

  • transfer duty declaration by the Seller and Purchaser;
  • payment to SARS of the transfer duty/VAT;
  • tax registration numbers of both Parties.
  • The Estate Agent needs to make sure their admin department provides the Conveyancer, with a tax invoice for the commission or fees if applicable.

Conclusion

Communication is an essential key in the transfer process. Issues need to be communicated to the Conveyancer as soon as they arise in order for it to be resolved timeously to prevent delays.

If both the Seller and Purchaser co-operates, the transfer process should run smoothly.

As Conveyancing Attorneys, here at SchoemanLaw Inc, we can assist you with all property transfers and all property related matters.

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