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Property law SA: Homebuyers’ rights in 2023

Find out about property laws that affect you as a buyer or seller, including the Property Practitioners Act which provides more protection for buyers.

Property Law

Article summary

  • Stay informed on changes in property law and how they affect you as a buyer or seller.
  • Examples of important property laws include the Property Practioners Act (PPA), which provides increased protection for the homebuyer.
  • Other bills to keep an eye on in 2023 include the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, and the Land Court Bill.

If you’re looking to invest in property, you’ll want to be informed on the laws governing the property market in South Africa. Here we examine some of the bills expected to take effect in 2023.

Property laws to keep an eye on

  1. Sectional Titles Amendment Bill.
  2. Expropriation Bill.
  3. Land Court Bill.
  4. Housing Consumer Protection Bill.
  5. Property Practitioners Act.

1. Sectional Titles Amendment Bill

Passed in December 2022, the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill has little effect on residents of sectional title estates but will introduce increased regulation of sectional title management. For example:

  • The developer is obligated to answer questions put forward by tenants.
  • The developer is required to disclose plans to subdivide or consolidate a section.
  • The developer is required to provide replacement documentation if the original documents were lost or destroyed.
  • Increased regulation of the membership of the sectional titles regulations board.

2. Expropriation Bill

Passed in September 2022, it provides for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest.

It deals with required compensation, and situations where compensation is not required, such as in the case of state land or abandoned land.

3. Land Court Bill

This was passed in September 2022 and established a Land Court to govern citizen’s right to access land on an equitable basis.

4. Housing Consumer Protection Bill

Provides increased protection of homebuyers pertaining to the regulation of registered homebuilders.

5. Property Practitioners Act

This was passed in February 2022 to make the following key changes to property law in South Africa:

  • The category of property practitioner, which previously only applied to estate agents, is extended to other professionals related to property, such as home inspectors, brokers and bond originators.
  • Disclosure of defects is now compulsory. Home sellers and landlords are required to produce a comprehensive property defects disclosure document for sales and rentals. This document will need to be signed by all parties.
  • Certificates are required for anyone who earns a commission or brokerage from a property sale or rental. This is known as the Fidelity Find Certificate and will need to be produced on request from a seller or landlord
  • The establishment of the Board of Authority, which governs the property profession and all it applies to.

The PPA is very much a consumer-focused bill, for the following reasons:

  • Increases regulation of property practitioners, requiring them to be more meticulous.
  • Compulsory disclosure of defects obviously provides greater protection for the consumer.
  • The Fidelity Fund Certificate protects property sellers by regulating those who collect commissions from the sale.

Why hire a property attorney?

Whether buying or selling a home, you’re dealing with a valuable asset and will want to seek the best guidance in navigating the complications of property law, A property attorney provides expert advice in this area.

The services of a property attorney can be significantly beneficial in navigating the myriad of laws pertaining to property transactions, ownership, and transfer.

Some areas in which the property attorney can be of assistance:

  • Advising on the Offer to Purchase, the document dictating the terms and conditions of the property transaction as agreed on by buyer and seller. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the attorney can suggest clauses to include that will protect you.
  • Advising on legal procedures such as the transfer of property and bond registration process
  • Reviewing documents pertaining to the property, such as title deeds and wills.
  • Advise on the laws pertaining to property transactions in your particular province.
  • Elaborate on the differences in legal procedure between commercial and residential properties.
  • Helping businesses negotiate contracts for commercial properties.
  • Advising on what’s involved when the bond is joint-owned.

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