High conveyancing fees hold up property transactions for the poor

By Uzair Adams

 

High-conveyancing-feesThe transfer and registration of immovable property from a seller’s name into a purchaser’s name is not as straightforward as one may think. A property transaction is not only a lengthy and complicated process, but is costly too; and oftentimes unaffordable for the underprivileged. This proved to be the case with Glenda Samuels who approached ProBono.Org Cape Town for assistance with the transfer of immovable property she purchased in 2014 for R110 000.00.

Ms. Samuels is an unemployed single mother who receives a state grant for her two minor children and would not have been able to afford the conveyancing fees applicable to her sale, which would have amounted to approximately R8 000.00.

Ms. Samuels’ initial consultation was held during July 2017, but various challenges resulted in the process being delayed even though a conveyancer, Vickie Collins from Da Costa Incorporated, accepted the pro bono instruction.

One of the many challenges arose from a condition attached to the title deed, in terms of Section 10 (a) and 10 (b) of the Housing Act 107 of 1997, which stipulates that the owner of an RDP house has to get permission from the Director General of Human Settlements prior to a transfer being permitted.. As a result, the conveyancer required written confirmation from the Department confirming that it had no objection to the transfer, which was received on 16 August 2017.

In addition, the seller was often unavailable to sign the necessary documents as she resides outside Cape Town. The parties finally managed to meet at our offices on 28 November 2017, and Ms Collins guided them through the signing process and ensured that everything required for lodgment at the Deeds Office was in order.

All interested parties view this as a major victory, and a step in the right direction in our effort to making access to social justice more easily accessible and realisable for the poorest sector of our society.

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