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Property, Your Rights
Important Words & Phrases You Need
- Bond: A bond is a loan from a bank to
purchase a house or a plot of land (see also Mortgage Loan below).
Conveyor or Conveyancer:
A lawyer who deals with property (house or plot of land). A conveyor assists people
with the legal details of buying or selling property.
Draughtsman: A person who drafts technical drawings of houses or
extensions to existing houses so a builder knows what is required.
Estate agent: A person or business that arranges
the selling, buying, renting or management of property.
Freehold title: Freehold or full title is the
transfer of full ownership rights to a property owner. This includes the building
and the land it is built on (see also Title Deed below).
Heir: The person or persons to whom you leave your house and
belongings when you die (see Will below).
Insurance: Insurance on your property is a safety mechanism you buy
for a small sum of money each month. If your house burns down, for example, your
insurance company will cover much of the cost of replacing what you have lost.
You can also purchase insurance for a car or household belongings.
Mortgage loan: See Bond above.
Permission to Occupy (PTO): A PTO is granted by the government to
certain rural and unsurveyed land. A PTO is not
a title deed and does not confer
ownership. A PTO allows the person given the right to live on a particular plot
Title deed: A title deed is a legal document that says you are the
owner of a particular plot of land and the buildings on it
A will, sometimes called a “last will and testament”,
is a document that explains your final wishes to your heirs. It is read
out after your death, and the court makes sure that your final wishes are
Your Title Deed
title deed is a legal document that says you are the owner of a particular plot
of land and the buildings that have been built on it.
title deed is issued by the Deeds Registry Office of South Africa.
deed is a very, very important document – keep it in a safe place.
a good idea to make copies of your title deed in case you damage or lose it.
The title deed includes:
description of the property, with its size, boundaries and exact position.
name and identity number of the person or persons who legally own the
property. (It is possible for more than
one owner to be listed on a title deed.)
date when the property was last transferred.
bought from another person, the purchase price.
factors which could restrict the sale of the property, for example, a mortgage
loan (bond) with a bank.
restriction that applies on the sale by you of your property. Study your title
deed to make sure that it is a full freehold title and not one that limits your
ability to sell the property.
official Deeds Registry Office seal to indicate that the deed has been recorded
in the name of the owner and the date.
A title deed is not a letter
from a councillor, municipality or developer.
A title deed is not a letter
from a previous owner.
A title deed is not a document that gives
Permission To Occupy (PTO) a site or a property.
Why would you not have the title deed to your house?
have a mortgage or property loan from a bank. (In this case the bank will keep
the title deed until you have paid the loan in full.)
Municipality has not yet issued the title deed to you. (You should enquire at
the Municipal offices to see why.)
bought the property informally. (In this case you, together with the seller,
should go to a conveyancer and ask him/her to change the name of the previous
owner into your name in the Deeds Registry and issue you with a title deed. The
conveyancer will charge a fee.)
Your Responsibilities as a Property
the municipality for rates and service charges
Rates are used by the municipality to
manage the municipal area and provide for facilities such as roads, parks and
pavements. Service charges cover the cost of supplying water, electricity,
sewage and refuse removal. It is very important to pay these charges so that
the municipality has enough money to provide the services.
a good neighbour
You should be considerate of your
neighbours. For example, do not make a
noise, especially at night, and do not block the entrance to their property.
after your property
Look after your property by painting it
regularly, repairing it when something breaks and doing regular
is a legal document in which you explain how your belongings must be divided
among your family or others after your death.
is very important: if you die without one, the government will decide who gets
your belongings. It is important that family or friends know where your will is
kept. You should also keep copies in case the original is lost. These must be
clearly marked as copies.
have a title deed to a property, you can leave your property to anyone you
choose, including family members or others.
can write your will yourself, ask your bank to do it, or ask a lawyer to write
it for you. A lawyer will usually charge
should mention all items that you own that have a high value so that your heirs
do not have disagreements after your death.
insurance is very useful. For a monthly
amount, it will pay for fixing all or part of the damages to your property from
fire, storms or robbery.
are many companies from which you can buy insurance.
How to Buy a Property
on the amount you can afford to spend and then consult your local estate agent,
family and friends.
you have decided which property you wish to purchase, make sure that the seller
has freehold title to the property
registered at the deeds office. If the seller does not have the title deed,
your conveyancer will check that the seller is the registered owner and check
who has the title deed.
important: Do not pay money directly to
the seller. The conveyancer handling your purchase will only pay the seller
when the property is registered in your name at the deeds office.
Your Home, Your Community
part of a neighbourhood means that everyone is responsible for general safety
out for children and the elderly and assist them if they are in trouble.
notice any suspicious behaviour or feel worried about any strangers in the
area, contact the police.
flammable material such as paraffin, petrol, fuel or solvent in a safe place
that is away from small children, plugs and matches.
Solving Maintenance Problems
to the drain in the kitchen or bathroom.
These are caused when oil, hot fat, food and hair are poured down the
drain. Blocked toilets, which are usually caused when newspaper or items other
than toilet paper are flushed down the toilet.
problems and even fires, which are caused by faulty appliance, or too many
appliances (such as heaters), which draw current from a wall plug and cause the
wires to over-heat and burn.
on the walls and peeling of paint caused by poor ventilation or water around
the foundations. Open the windows when you are cooking, bathing or showering.
leaking roofs and pipes. Make sure water drains away from the property quickly.
How to Improve Your Property
important to have plans drawn up of any changes you want to make to your house.
You can go to a draughtsman to assist you with this. Their rates vary, but some
charge around R250.00 per hour. This plan must be approved by the municipality
before building starts.
sure to hire a good builder who will use the correct materials. It is best to
have a written contract so that the builder knows what is expected of him. Be
sure to supervise the builder at regular intervals.
How Your Home Can Make Money for You
(Make sure that you check with you
local municipality on the exact rules and regulations in your area, as these
vary around the country)
You can operate a business from your
You can use your property either to
sell goods or services, to make or to store goods. The advantages of using your property to
operate a business are that you will save money as you do not have to pay rent
somewhere else. The disadvantages are
that you have to share the space with your family or others.
You can rent out your property as
There are 5 ways you can buy or improve
or start a business on your property
This is any money that you and your
household have been able to save. If
your savings will not cover the whole cost, you can use it as a deposit for a
mortgage loan, or you can buy only the building materials you have money for
and build over a period.
These are provided by banks. These
loans are repaid over a short period (2-5 years). In order to qualify for this
type of loan, you need to prove to the bank that you are receiving a regular
income by showing them your bank statements and your salary slips. If you are
self-employed you will need to provide a bank or savings account statement that
shows enough monthly income to pay the instalments.
These are provided by banks. They are usually for large amounts (over R25
000). These loans are repaid over a long period (normally 20 years). You will
need to provide your property as security for the loan. What this means is that a mortgage bond is
registered over your property by the bank. In order to qualify for this type of
loan you need to show the bank that you are receiving a regular income by
showing them your bank statements and salary slips. If you are self-employed
you will need to provide a bank or savings account statement that shows enough
monthly income to pay the instalments.
A loan from your employer
If you are employed you may be able to
access a loan. Many employers offer a range of different loan facilities. Ask your manager or the human resource
department for information.
A loan from a building material
Some of the large material suppliers
offer loan facilities. These are similar to small loans but cover the cost of
the building materials only.
How to Sell Your Property
can sell your property through an estate
agent who will charge you commission, or you can do it yourself. If you use
an estate agent you should read the agreement very carefully so you understand
the terms and conditions.
go to a conveyancer (property lawyer) so that they can
change your name to the name of the buyer at the Deeds Registry and issue a new
title deed to the new owner.
can sell your property to any buyer who has the money to pay for it.
Frequently Asked Questions
not have the title deed:
a) If there is a mortgage loan (bond) over
the property, the bank will hold the title deed until you have finished paying
for the property.
b) The title deed was not issued to you
when you occupied or bought the property.
this is the case, you should contact a Deeds Registry office and check that
your name is on the deeds register. You should then approach your Local Municipality
to enquire where the title deed is.
c) The property is located in an area
where a Township Register has not been opened.
You should talk to the Councillor or
Ward Committee for your area and request that the matter be investigated and
that your Local Municipality completes the process.
d) You acquired the property informally.
You should, together with the seller, approach a conveyancer
to have the title deed changed into your name.
The conveyancer will charge a fee.
had the title deed and then lost it.
You need to submit a written request
for a certified copy to a Deeds Registry office.
You will need to describe the location
of your property and provide a copy of your identity and other documents. A certified copy has the same value as the
original title deed.
3. You die without leaving a will.
Your possessions (called your estate)
will be divided up by the government in terms of the rules that apply to
someone who dies without leaving a will.
The state will appoint a lawyer who will divide the estate between your
spouse, children, relatives or any others who make a legal claim on it.
What the Constitution Says About Your
Your title deed is protected by the Constitution of South
Africa. Specifically Clause 25 of our Constitution.
Clause 25 of the Constitution
(1) No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of
general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation
(2) Property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general
(a) for a public purpose or in the public interest; and
(b) subject to compensation, the amount of which and the
time and manner of payment of which have either been
agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a
(3) The amount of the compensation and the time and manner of
payment must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable
balance between the public interest and the interests of those
affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances, including
(a) the current use of the property;
(b) the history of the acquisition and use of the property;
(c) the market value of the property
the extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the
acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the
(e) the purpose of the expropriation.
(4) For the purposes of this section—
(a) the public interest includes the nation's commitment to
land reform, and to reforms to bring about equitable
access to all South Africa's natural resources; and
(b) property is not limited to land.
(5) The state must take reasonable legislative and other
measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions which
enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.
(6) A person or community whose tenure of land is legally
insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or
practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of
Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure or to compa-
(7) A person or community dispossessed of property after 19 June
1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is
entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to
restitution of that property or to equitable redress.
(8) No provision of this section may impede the state from taking
legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related
reform, in order to redress the results of past racial discrimination,
provided that any departure from the provisions of this section is
in accordance with the provisions of section 36 (1).
Free Market Foundation
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