Deeds Office strike will cause delays

The importance of having a definite occupation date and an occupational rental in every deed of sale – in case the transaction does not go through on the anticipated date – has been highlighted by the Deeds Office strike, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, the Cape Peninsula estate agency.

“The strike will,” she said, “affect buyers, sellers, estate agents, transfer attorneys, furniture movers and others, and will cause a fair measure of chaos throughout the property sector.

“The big problem, apart from delays on the transfer of much needed cash, is that people who had planned to move into a new property on a certain date will in all probability not be able to do so legally if transfer has been delayed: 99% of buyers do, in fact, usually coordinate the expected date of transfer with the date they take occupation and any last minute changes here can be disastrous.”

Estate agents, said Steward, must insist that an occupation date is stipulated, along with an agreed occupational rental, and this rental will have to reflect a satisfactory interest rate on the sum to be paid to the seller.

“Rentals in those situations should be market related and should reflect a reasonable return on the seller’s capital locked up in the property,” said Steward.

Under normal conditions, said Steward, transfers take six to eight weeks at the Cape. The strike by the Deeds Office, she said, could extend this indefinitely as the signs are that it could be long-lasting.

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