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The Laws of South Africa

A handy online database to the Laws of South Africa.
The website contains:

  • Updated or consolidated legislation. All amendments are included.
  • “Current legislation” gives you access to the latest or “in force” version.
  • Regulations to Acts. (Where the full text is not available, this may be requested)
  • Using Historical versions of Acts and Regulations, or “Point-in-time” legislation makes it possible to look at a piece of legislation as it was at a particular time. For example - if a matter arose or occurred in June 2005 one would need to use the version of the applicable Act for that time. If it was a liquidation or sequestration matter one would consult the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936, using the appropriate chronological period, or the appropriate historical version.
  • The Acts and Regulations are in PDF format.
  • All these documents should also be available on the SAFLII website
  • Click here to go to the website.

The Deed of Sale

After all the preliminary steps have been concluded, a written agreement must be drafted and signed. A verbal sale agreement in respect of immovable property is unenforceable and void in South Africa. The following are some important clauses to be borne in mind:

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The Rental Housing Act

The Rental Housing Act (50 of 1999) aims to regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords by setting out general requirements relating to leases, laying down general principles and governing conflict resolution. The Rental Housing Tribunal's function is to ensure that unfair practices between landlords and tenants are eliminated and hence it interprets both the Act and the Procedural and Unfair Practice Regulations, where applicable, in its deliberations The service is free to both tenants and landlords A lease will be deemed to include a number of terms, which cannot be waived by either party, such as:

  • That the landlord must furnish the tenant with written receipts for all payments received by the landlord from the tenant.
  • If on the expiration of the lease, the tenant remains in the dwelling with the express or tacit consent of the landlord, the landlord and tenant are deemed, in the absence of a further written lease, to have entered into a periodic lease, on the same terms and conditions as the expired lease, except that at least one month's written notice must be given of the intention by either party to terminate the lease.
  • A deposit must be invested by the landlord in an interest bearing account, such interest not to be less than the rate applicable to a savings account During the period of the lease, the tenant is entitled to request proof from the landlord in respect of interest accrued.

Due to the limitations in the length of this guide, all of the provisions of the Act and Regulations, where applicable, cannot be included. Please contact our offices for assistance.

Cost of buying and selling property

TYPICAL COSTS OF BUYING: Purchase price

  • A deposit (usually 10% of the gross purchase price) to the estate agent or conveyancer payable usually on signature of the deed of sale by both parties or within 7 to 14 days from signature (if applicable).
  • The balance of the purchase price is lodged with the conveyancer prior to transfer, or is secured by way of a bank guarantee. Over and above the purchase price, the purchaser should have the cash available to cover the transfer costs (if this is not included in the bond) and the bond registration costs as follows:

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Your Will and your Property

Some points to consider

  • If you bequeath your fixed property to your surviving spouse, then no tax is payable, as all bequests to spouses are exempt from estate duty and/or CGT No transfer duty is payabe on a bequest of fixed property to an heir/legatee.
  • If the value of your estate is more than R3,5 million, estate duty will become payable on the balance in excess of R3,5 million Sufficient cash should be made available to pay this duty in order to avoid selling any fixed property.
  • If your property is subject to a mortgage bond, and you leave your property as a specific bequest, you may wish to make the bequest subject to the provision that your legatee takes over the bond liability. Alternatively, you may wish to secure the bond by life assurance, the proceeds of which would clear the debt on your death.
  • If your children are still minors, (under 18 and unmarried), it is advisable to set up a testamentary trust in your will, which would come into effect should both parents pass away before they reach majority.
  • If you bequeath your fixed property to a number of heirs in equal shares, this may give rise to impracticalities due to the indivisibility of the bequest, and may give rise to a redistribution agreement being drawn up between your heirs.
  • There may be specific provisions in your antenuptial contract in regard to your fixed property, which may override your wishes in terms of your will.
  • See section on estate duties regarding the portable R3 5 million estate duty deduction between spouses.

Sale of Property Timeline

While the transfer process follows a series of successive stages, the time period involved varies considerably Here are some guidelines: Cash transactions may take up to 6 weeks, subject to delays at the local authority and/or SARS and/or the Deeds office. In normal circumstances (including bond approval and registration), approx 2 months. If conditional on sale of purchaser's property (within 30 days), approx 3 months.

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