www.anneporter.co.za on 2010-08-20"color:#ffffff" href="http://www.anneporter.co.za/" target="_blank"> www.anneporter.co.za on 2010-08-20" />
All amendments to property transactions must be signed

A recent court case in which an owner who changed his mind about wanting to sell his property was able to get the whole deal declared invalid on the grounds that a single amendment, added later to the deed of sale, had not been signed by both parties, has shown once again the importance of having all property transactions in writing.

Drawing attention to this matter, Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, the Cape Peninsula estate agency, reminds those contemplating a property deal that, although the courts will accept proven verbal agreements on almost any other matter, in property every document and amendment has to be in writing and signed.

“Often in a property transaction,” said Steward, “certain alterations to the original document, e.g. regarding beneficial occupation, will be changed verbally after the agreement has been signed – and provided we have both a wiling buyer and a willing seller there is no problem. However, estate agents who know the pitfalls that lie in wait here will always make sure that the changes are in writing.

“Far too often this is not done because everybody is happy with the deal and in a friendly relationship – but circumstances can then change – and so can people, causing one of the parties to want to “get out” of the contract. However, if the contract, any addenda and amendments are all in writing, as the law requires, there can be no argument.”

“We must, therefore, accept that the law is wise in this matter and estate agents have to become paralegals who are able to understand and prepare sales documents which will be upheld in a court of law.”