Declare Deeds Office an essential service asks property sector

Declare Deeds Office an essential service asks property sector

MAIN IMAGE: Tholo Makhaola, president of South African Institute Black Property Practitioners; Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive Pam Golding Property Group; Carl Coetzee, BetterBond CEO; Jan le Roux, CE Rebosa.

The jobs of over 50 000 people could be saved and the government would receive much needed revenue if the Deeds Office and municipalities could operate on skeleton staff during the COVID-19 lockdown so that the sales of property can continue.

This is the appeal the broader local property industry made to Minister Ebrahim Patel of the Department of Trade and Industry last week Wednesday 1 April. The appeal was co-signed by the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), the National Property Forum (NPF), Real Estate Business Owners of SA (REBOSA), the National Association of Managing Agents (NAMA), the SA Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP), the Institute of Certified Business Brokers (ICBB), SA Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA), the Institute of Estate Agents of SA (IEASA) and the SA Business Broking Association (SABBA).

While in agreement with the necessity for the lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus, leaders from the property sector believe it is possible to find measures, sensitive to the current situation and ensuring people’s safety, that would make it possible for property sales to continue – as has already happened elsewhere in the world.

Tholo Makhaola, president of the South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP), says the national lockdown has placed at risk the livelihoods of around 50 000 commission-based property practitioners who operate in the real estate sector. He fears the impact will be worst felt by struggling black agents and QSE (qualifying small enterprises) agencies.

“While we support the urgent interventions instituted by the government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by instituting the national lockdown, we also recognise that this may have the unfortunate result of crippling the industry and jeopardising the livelihoods of the thousands of real estate practitioners and commission earners in the sector.

“We therefore support calls made by industry to declare the Deeds Office an essential service and also invoke the Deeds Registration Act to fast-track the existing backlog of property registrations. Municipalities should also make use of digital platforms to fast-track the processing of clearance certificates which will go a long way to solving some of the already frustrating administrative hurdles faced by practitioners and consumers alike in the sector,” says Makhaola.

In the United States many states have declared real estate services to be an essential service as long as strict safety guidelines are followed. For instance, in California this means continuing with virtual show houses as hosting an open house is still off bounds, but an agent may accompany a serious buyer with one other person to a property they are interested in on condition that the agent wears gloves and disinfects any surfaces that are touched, etc.

Property sales could save thousands of jobs and release millions in revenue to government

Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group says it is well-documented that the property sector, together with finance and business services, are the second biggest contributor to overall GDP growth in 2019. “The freezing of the industry means that government is precluded from receiving much-needed revenue into its coffers from transfer duty – a significant contributor to SARS – payable from transactions already being processed,” he says.

Also read: Economy may shrink by up to 4% due to coronavirus, warns SA Reserve Bank

Secondly, the lockdown on property sales severely impacts the income of thousands of all property professionals. Carl Coetzee, BetterBond CEO, points out that in a typical month in South Africa between 10 000 and 12 000 property transactions are concluded. “It’s a process that affects various parties and sectors, including banks, bond originators, estate agents, attorneys and more,” he says.

“With the Deeds Office closed, thousands of transactions are placed on hold, which effectively means a loss of income for thousands more who are directly and indirectly involved in related sectors and services,” explains Coetzee.

As mentioned in the real estate sector alone, it is estimated that lack of property sales may put the jobs of thousands of estate agents at risk as they are entirely commission-based and are now without an income. Bruce Swain, CEO Leapfrog, explains that even though many agents are working remotely and trying to continue with business-as-usual as far as possible, they can’t conclude property sales with the Deeds Office closed.

“The pipeline blockage at the Deeds Office means that agents cannot be paid, because the property transactions that they have been working on for months cannot be registered at the Deeds Office,” says Swain.

Due to the backlog at the Deeds Office, it could take months for registrations to be finalised. These agents will not be eligible for UIF payouts and this means that many agents won’t be able to earn an income for months after the end of the lockdown, adds Makhaola.

It is rumoured in the press that government may consider extending the lockdown up to July or even August. Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group, says should that happen the risk of many estate agencies closing down permanently is very real and he also fears that many persons from previously disadvantaged backgrounds will then have no choice but to leave the real estate industry.

Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group, confirms that the industry is experiencing a significant cash squeeze due to the closure of the Deeds Office and local municipalities during the lockdown which means many agents cannot receive commissions for finalised sales. This has created a major problem for the industry as a whole.

The closure of the Deeds Office has also left buyers and sellers high and dry that were in the process of concluding a sale of property – a situation that could add to the financial distress of sellers who are in desperate need of the proceeds from the sale points out MC du Toit, CEO of digital property market place, BidX1 South Africa.

“For most people, the purchase or sale of a property will be one of the most significant transactions of their lives, and in the current market, many sellers have sold their most valuable asset out of necessity. With the Deeds Office being closed, I am concerned that many sellers will find themselves in extremely difficult circumstances,” says Du Toit.

Run Deeds Office and municipalities on skeleton staff

One of the ways that the government could mitigate the devastating economic impact of the situation is by listing the Deeds Office as an essential service, as was done for banks and other financial institutions. Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa, says the office could be run with a skeleton staff as long as this will allow for properties already in the pipeline to be registered which will alleviate the severe backlogs experienced by many deeds offices in the country.

Secondly, adds Le Roux, the property industry would also like to see that a skeleton staff be employed at local municipalities so that rates clearance certificates for the sale of properties may be processed.

“Yes, it would help the real estate industry if the Deeds Office was open so that those transfers which were ready to be lodged prior to lockdown could be effected. It would also help home sellers, the banks and the transferring attorneys, and release a considerable amount of money into the economy,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of Chas Everitt International property group.

The property sector would also like to see that real estate services be listed as an essential service. Clarke points out that the government allowed banks to continue to ensure the flow of money and consideration should also be given to estate agents. “Many sellers will reach the point of financial distress and will have to offload their properties – they will be left stranded if real estate cannot operate,” he says.

Clarke points out that it is already possible for estate agents to do most of their business online through virtual viewings, virtual valuations and virtual showhouses. As was done in the US, local government could list estate agency services as an essential service subject to adherence to safety and hygienic guidelines such as that estate agents must wear masks and gloves, all touched surfaces should be wiped down, limiting the number of persons to visit a property for sale etc.

Looking ahead, Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, says what also needs to happen is the modernising of our country’s deeds registrations systems and processes and this crisis may just be the catalyst needed to see change happen. He would like to see government look at ways to future-proof the operations of the Deeds Office such as for example speeding up the use of cloud-based technologies like blockchain.

Also read: How electronic deeds registration will work

The lockdown can also be the catalyst for change in the real estate industry. It can certainly be said that the coronavirus crisis has brought into sharp focus the vulnerability of agencies that rely on conducting real estate services in the traditional manner. “Technology has never been more important for our industry. The challenges that we are facing are unprecedented, but they also raise questions about the viability of traditional processes in an increasingly digital world. Digitisation of the transfer process would allow us to adapt to more agile and secure ways of working, and protect sellers and other stakeholders from limbo where many now find themselves,” ends Du Toit.

Editor’s note: At the time of publishing this article the Minister’s office had acknowledged the appeal but had yet to comment on the proposals made by the property industry.

Showing 92 comments
  • Corlia
    Reply

    Owners of properties should be able to get a rates clearance certificate on line.

    • Jackie
      Reply

      Agreed. We are at the last bit of buying our house and it has been stopped at the deeds office for registration

      • Sue
        Reply

        Same here …. everything is done just the deeds office left

        • Mrs Tee
          Reply

          Ours was about to be lodged at the Deeds when the lockdown took place. I think there needs to be a request made for vacating or moving in the property as well maybe a permit so that people will be able to move into their property after registration. Just a thought because vacating the property would be the next move after registration.

        • Jeany
          Reply

          Morning all.
          I think its a good idea to ask the President to open the Deeds Office, we really need this please.

        • Meggie mokgoko
          Reply

          We sold a property and took the money to buy another property. The money has been transferred and is with the attorneys but the problem is the house we sold has registered and the new owners need to move in on the 1st of April. We on the other hand still need to wait for the deeds office and municipality for registration, so we can have a house to live in. With the lockdown it’s going to be hard to find a place to stay. It’s stressful, I really hope they could work.

    • Moeketsi Abram Mokoena
      Reply

      I agree let the deeds office be opened

    • Mfundo khoza
      Reply

      This will stop a lot of job losses and contribute towards people having not to starve waiting for deals in the pipeline that will take forever to register if they don’t operate. Imagine all the cash buyers who used their last money to secure a home only to find they can’t move on to stay due to lockdown? Now they are left stranded with no money, no job. no shelter. And us who are breadwinners, we don’t know what to do or say now.

      • mdu
        Reply

        Estate agents and the principals with the unions needs to work together including the banks. Let us all work together and fight this to move forward. Thanks to you all guys Mdu Hlongwane

    • A.M
      Reply

      We have sold our house and bought stand so we can build our house was left with registrations and now we are faced with the lockdown everything is just stressful at this point

    • Glen
      Reply

      The inspectors are withholding rates clearances in KZN because they can’t inspect homes with the plans. So why even open deeds office (Mngeni municipality)? Can we cancel our sales and move on cause we can’t wait forever …

  • SALLY VAN DEN BERG
    Reply

    WAY OVERDUE, THANKS ALL, STAY SAFE, REGARDS, SALLY, LYN TAYFIELD PROPERTIES KZN.

    • Tish
      Reply

      Interesting to see from the comments that seemingly they are all from estate agents…. perhaps all other sectors should argue the same point of how they are an essential service…

  • John Fuller
    Reply

    We have waited two months for a rates clearance from the Johannesburg Municipality and they are closed, so consideration should also be given to get the Municipalities to start performing. This delay is affecting agents and their companies from earning income and is costing sellers dearly in respect of additional municipal charges and a loss of interest on their income because the property registration is delayed.

  • Belinda Kotze
    Reply

    Agreed, why can’t the Deeds Office accept the latest property municipal accounts, which are supposed to be up to date – for rates & services clearance figures – which is available electronically immediately.
    (1) The conveyancing attorneys requests the rates clearance of that/the latest amount x 4 in any event.
    (2) Then the banks can also accept the property owner’s latest bank bond statement – electronically, with no intervention of any human, juggling figures. In any event, the whole property-transfer-process is going to be digitalised soon.
    (3) Proof of payment to SARS from the conveyancers should be sufficient to conclude a property transaction.
    (4) Accepting the fact that there will be some glitches in terms of metre-readings, etc. which in any event are minor issues and those transactions can be dealt with differently.

  • Glendyr Dade
    Reply

    The Deeds office is an integral part of the successful functioning of the country! I fully support declaring the Deeds Office an essential service along with the municipalities. It’s been widely publicised and circulated that municipalities are not granting any payment holiday for payment of rates and taxes thus I am quite confident they can receive and process rates clearance certificates as the payments are made on-line.
    One more comment, I know electricians and plumbers are considered an essential service. Does that mean they can do the work to issue COC’S in addition? It is required that a beetle free certificate is issued prior to registration of transfer. This would require the entomologist to be declared an essential service and be allowed to carry out any necessary eradication procedures in order to issue the beetle free certificates.
    My guess is that should these essential service industries not be granted permission to carry on their business many unscrupulous individuals will issue certificates without doing the inspections and/or the necessary work required for the issuance thereof.

    • Dan Pienaar
      Reply

      Great point made

    • Thokozani Chili
      Reply

      Initiative is well supported. Can’t say more.

      • Nthabiseng Lebea
        Reply

        True. I am stuck spending more than R20k monthly’s. I cant move due to clearance certificate to finalise my existing house sale to move to the new property.

  • erwin
    Reply

    I cannot agree more with the article. I already asked that question in a letter to Maroela Media. The gist of my letter was that a lot of attention is given to the entertainment section who is without income but the estate agents are in a worse situation because of the delay before getting paid where-as the entertainment guys has gigs lined up after lockdown and gets paid immediately. These two groups are at the moment in the same boat. I also touched on the loss of revenue.

    • Stephanus Nell
      Reply

      I agree let the Deeds Office open – waiting 3 months now for my money.

  • Abram Kgwadi
    Reply

    My biggest worry is that most properties that were registered a few days before lockdown can’t be accessed by the new owners as they can’t move from their previous rented houses and more. Other tenants couldn’t afford rent anymore they made notices but due to this they are stuck.

    • Antoinette Clark
      Reply

      Deeds offices and municipal skeleton staff to continue with essential work especially relating to property transfers, should be set up even to work remotely.

  • Vernon
    Reply

    Urgent decisive amendments to be made to help alleviate the imminent economic crisis to follow.

  • Estelle
    Reply

    The clients are suffering loss as a result of the delays in registration. You wait for weeks if not months to get a clearance certificate. Interest run on loans. Guarantees expire…etc…etc
    The Deeds Office and municipalities should be declared an essential service.

  • Askari Real Estates cc.
    Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Santie
    Reply

    Yes please

  • JennyGriffithd
    Reply

    I agree one should keep the systems moving, a huge number of new agents will be lost to the estate agency business as they have tried hard to get their qualifications without compensation and now this setback. They need to make money to keep them going and closing the systems as we have now, is not assisting in any way.

  • Fatima
    Reply

    The systems must get going. Banks work on skeleton staff and are open to the public.
    The Deeds Office and Rates Department work behind closed doors. Too many people’s livelihood is at stake with these two entities being non-functional.

  • Narriman Mohammad
    Reply

    This is an important office for the property industry.

  • Allan Hunkin
    Reply

    As a franchise owner at Chas Everitt, I support all of the above appeals to government.

    • Nonyaniso
      Reply

      Even EAAB should also be an essential service. Some agents have not received their FFC’s since they paid in October 2019 and have been making follow-ups. The EAAB closed 2 weeks prior to lockdown leaving poor estate agents without FFC’s.

  • Louise JvanRensburg
    Reply

    I definitely support the idea that the Deeds Office function during lockdown. I am an estate agent and will run into financial problems if my transactions are not registering.

    • Julie
      Reply

      Still no news we urgently need the deeds office to open. Is there seriously no response from government.

      • Helene Meissenheimer
        Reply

        Hi Julie, government has acknowledged the appeal and indicated the request is being considered. Now we wait in anticipation!

  • Jacques Groenewald
    Reply

    Yes Deeds Office must open and realtors allowed to operate as property transactions involve many other sectors of businesses.

    • Amelia
      Reply

      Fully agree…why can’t the Deeds office be seen as essential service and work on skeleton staff. Some people sitting with two bonds to pay. Don’t they think a bit further of the complications.

  • Erna van Vuuren
    Reply

    As a principal of Aguila Real Estate we ask that real estate services be declared an essential service with strict safety guidelines. As well as the Deeds Office and municipal clearance services. Our industry need to make money to survive. We support all the above appeals to government.

  • Steven Jefferies
    Reply

    The lockdown is affecting everybody and not just real estate agents and conveyancing attorneys. Many of us have small businesses that employ several people. I do not see why exceptions should be made for this sector while the rest of us also suffer financially while our businesses are closed. We are all eager to finalize projects that we started before lockdown.

  • Andre Nell
    Reply

    So what makes the estate agents more superior than other retailers and SME’s…. If they are allowed to work, then so should the rest of us, then we never get the curve down! And we all suffer for longer!!!

  • Ralph Pandoy
    Reply

    We support the plea that the real estate industry be declared an essential service.

  • Khensani
    Reply

    I’m a property owner and received all the clearance certificates a day before lockdown. Now we may need to redo these after waiting two months for them. That may be another 2-3 month wait. Hopefully this works out.

  • Cat
    Reply

    Why are you only thinking about yourselves. What about the person who need to visit the municipalities to obtain the figures to obtain the certificates and then the attorneys who need to attend at the Deeds Offices. Their lives are put at risk for you to be safe in your house.

  • Liz Balaam
    Reply

    Fully agree this is completely vital. I work for attorneys and my sellers are suffering huge financial damages due to their property not being registered. Although i can “work from home” the institutions i need to deal with are closed, so no matters can proceed. There is therefore no fee generation which means no pay. Many attorneys are in the same boat as the estate agents

  • Petro Verster
    Reply

    The problem temains, how do get documents signed by clients? I need to notarise and Apostille a document for a transfer in Australia!!?

    • Liesl
      Reply

      Please open deeds office 🙂

  • Marc Lurie
    Reply

    I totally agree that the Deeds office should be an essential service. It provides income to property professionals and generates hundreds of billions of Rands of revenue for government. Please Mr. President, send the Deeds office staff back to work..

  • Riana
    Reply

    Yes Deeds Office must open as an essential business.

  • James La Grange
    Reply

    We provide electrical, gas, electric fence and entomologists’ certificates and only get paid on transfer. We have disbursed large amounts on materials in order to produce the certificates. We add our voice to others in the property industry who are calling for our services to be allowed to resume urgently.

  • Yusuf
    Reply

    Since municipalities are already behind with most rates applications. This was a perfect time for them to catch up on their backlogs. They could clear the applications and rates clearances received before the lockdown. Also the deeds offices should be allowed to be open to lodge and register all transactions. By doing this once the lockdown is over they can easily issue new clearance certificates within the 21 day period as promised.

  • Dianne
    Reply

    I’m told the Deeds Office is already an essential service, and is open.

  • Thulani
    Reply

    Yes deeds office is essential.

  • Leon Spies
    Reply

    Considering how few municipalities get clean audits every year it is hard to imagine that they are going to become super efficient in the immediate future.

  • Noeleen Naidoo
    Reply

    The real estate industry is one of the key contributors to the economy and the finance sector particularly. I echo the sentiments of all my colleagues and support the strict guidelines instituted.
    Far too many livelihoods are at stake.

  • Nicola
    Reply

    Please declare as essential

  • Corne du Plessis
    Reply

    Yes please open

  • Lucille
    Reply

    Fully agree.

  • Reply

    Real Estate Practitioners have a valid plea requesting the Deeds Office as functional institution during lock down.

    – Acquiring property as a home, generally is defined as the single biggest asset in most buyers lives
    – Financial Institutions lowered bond lending rates – accommodating the public, and especially first time buyers, with the anticipation of capital injection and thus stimulating the economy
    – Stunting the registration process of deeds will impact with a ripple effect
    – Implications are financial – banks/attorneys/buyers/sellers/ landlords/tenants/real estate practitioners
    – Implications are practical – unnecessary administrative duplication and communication.

  • Sifiso sithole
    Reply

    I think the industry can change a lot of things in times like this, so I do agree with the idea of treating our profession as essential services and I agree that we contribute immensely in the GDP of the country.

  • Sebenzile
    Reply

    I have paid bond registration and transfer costs in February 1st week, currently renting a room with my child and the living conditions are extremely poor. I fully understand the lockdown regulations but the Deeds Office should function, as a buyer this has put us in a lot of stress.

  • Grant Howard
    Reply

    Please please please make this happen. The economy cannot cope if it cuts off a lifeline to such a massive revenue generator for the country. Banks, estate agents, bond originators, property owners and legal firms will be devastated if this doesn’t happen soon. The economy is desperate for this.

  • Rash Milla
    Reply

    Fully and totally agree that the Deeds Office should open. It’s a domino effect when you give notice and are required to move out but cannot and there are tenants waiting to move in. Extra rental and now bond fees for a prop you not occupying. Please open or go online. There are no queues at the Deeds Office. They already stopped accepting documents on Tuesday in Maritzburg prior to Thursday midnight cut off. This is becoming hard on commission earners.

  • Jabulani Gumede
    Reply

    I fully support the idea that real estate agency industry should be declared as an essential service. For 22 years being in real estate industry, I have depended on a commission-based salary. Now with the lockdown, I have already gone down due to these registration delays. I cannot imagine property practitioners, that joined recently, how will they survive for the next coming months. Some of their first sales are not being attended to and all prospective leads are going to disappear just like that. It takes a turn around of about 6 months to achieve the first successful transaction deal to get your first commission.

  • Anna
    Reply

    I agree, the Deeds Office must be considered as essential together with rates department. I sold my property last year in September and even today it’s not registered. When it was suppose to be lodged in January this year, the Deeds Office advised that we should advertise for a lost deed for two weeks. Our clearance certificate was expiring end of January and had to be extended. We waited for a month or two to receive clearance figures and certificate. The matter was lodged on 13 March 2020, and even before lockkdown my matter was still in the V/A section from 16 to 26th March 2020. The clearance is valid till end of this April 2020. I want to know what’s gonna happen as this transaction took long already? I’m frustrated as a seller.

  • Thokozani Chili
    Reply

    Initiative is well supported. Can’t say more.

  • Renee
    Reply

    Yes please. This will assist the economy and allow much needed cash flow for us property practitioners, sellers and also the economy as a whole.

  • Emjay Mathabathe
    Reply

    It’s imperative that the Deeds office is declared essential for the survival of realtors. Municipal staff must also play the game as one site cannot function without the other.

  • Moletsane
    Reply

    I fully support the call, if they could do it with other industries, who are even not regulated, then it should be done for the property industry. Agents are not even receiving any relief from government or their agencies. This is their only livelihood.

  • Mavis
    Reply

    Deed office must open please, I support all of the above

  • Emilene Smith
    Reply

    Please, a lot of families have no income if the Deeds Office is not operating.

    Please keep it open.

    • Stephen Tshoma
      Reply

      The leadership of government was caught by surprise by this Covid-19 and unfortunately when decisions are made no consultation with stakeholders was done. This could have been avoided which is essential and not essential service. It was not an appropriate decision to extend this unless the plan is to feed all South Africans with food during this period as it is affecting all of us.

  • Mary-Ann
    Reply

    Deeds Office must be opened- the closure hereof has negatively affected the property practitioners.

    • Bongani Mtshali
      Reply

      I fully agree with the opening of the deeds office for example our municipality (uMsunduzi) can take a year to finish the process in a normal situation. I think it’s better to start now so that when the year ends everything is finished. We help. Thanks

  • Anthony Benadie
    Reply

    The property sector is a crucial role player in the economy of South Africa. The current lockdown has already hurt many home owners. Declaring the deeds office as an essential service will not only save jobs, keep the economy going but also help individuals in distress.

  • JEAN
    Reply

    AGREE WITH ALL OF THE ABOVE. WE NEED TO KEEP THE FUNCTIONS GOING. –
    – wear masks and gloves.

  • Wanda
    Reply

    Thank you for these regulated proposals to prevent our industry from total collapse! Push hard for this and let us know what property professionals can do in support of getting government to agree to this

  • Serame
    Reply

    Ohh Its a resounding YES to declare the deeds office and municipal department that are processing clearance certificates as essential service. All stakeholders are severely and negatively affected including the economy at large. We fully support the need for lockdown but these departments can work on rotation and skeleton staff. Rgds Serame Seleki

  • Lisa Kretschmer
    Reply

    Thank you to all involved parties for taking the first step. I fully support strict social distancing however I also think it can be safe/responsible enough for exception made for urgent property transactions and those ready for lodgement. I do understand that this would require exceptions for removal companies too and involve exceptions for some people to move.

    I fully agree that agents can harness power of technology for the majority of viewings and only conduct final viewings in person with the necessary precautions on a strictly one-on-one basis.

    Policing people is the challenge but perhaps posing fines if caught out can combat this hurdle. We’re all in this together and can make it work.

  • Maureen Palmer
    Reply

    Dear Mr President,
    We understand that Covid 19 regulations has to be adhered to and we are fully prepared to adhere to requirements.
    However this chain of the economy is one of the largest contributorse to the GDP of our country, however it is blocked off. The ripple effect of this is going to be huge!
    It is also so unfair that we are not considered when it comes to the financial aid, currently provided, however we are the highest regulated in the country.
    The Deed’s Office was not supposed to be closed; evictions, which were in process, should not have been halted, since it is all to the detriment of struggling owners, who will stand to lose their investment properties.
    We realize it is a matter of life and death and have sympathy and empathy with persons effected (with loss of life) and infected, and grateful for the work that you guys are doing, however we need to look at all possible ways to keep the economy going.
    Allow our industry and the industries which works hand in hand with this industry to operate as ESSENTIAL SERVICES.
    Reputable removal companies will then also have to be considered!
    Thank you in advance for your consideration!

  • Rita Strachan
    Reply

    I fully agree with all the above. The Deeds Office should be classified as an essential service. Personnel can work wearing masks and gloves but they need to work.
    I have sold a property, the transaction has been lodged at the Deeds Office 4 days before lockdown started and now we have to wait for this transaction to be processed by them before we can get our money – which at this stage is in the trust account of the Conveyancing Attorneys!
    Many other sellers / buyers are in the same situation and it has a very negative impact on the economy of the whole country if transactions cannot be processed.

    • Rose Carter
      Reply

      I so agree with the above comment and can only request that the Government urgently advise on this as like many others we sold our property to relocate to KZN.
      The documentation is ready to be lodged at the Deeds Office and we have a buyer who needs to move in urgently and a property in KZN which we are now paying rental for together with the Bond installment.
      I believe that the Deeds office is an essential service as it has a ripple effect on many people and cannot just come to a halt.
      The government should be able to put in place safety measures so this dreadful virus does not get spread while essential documentation continues to be processed.

  • Reply

    Real Estate Practitioners have a valid plea requesting the Deeds Office as functional institution during lock down.

    – Acquiring property as a home, generally is defined as the single biggest asset in most buyers lives
    – Financial Institutions lowered Bond Lending Rates – accommodating the public and especially; first time buyers, with the anticipation of capital injection and thus stimulating the economy
    – Stunting the registration process of Deeds will impact with a ripple effect
    – Implications are financial – banks/attorneys/buyers/sellers/ landlords/tenants/Real Estate Practitioners
    – Implications are practical – unnecessary administrative duplication
    and communication.

  • Dipankar
    Reply

    What is the overall situation of moving houses if and when the Deeds Office opens up to complete the transfer? How would one buyer move to the newly purchased house if home moving services are still not allowed?

    • Zola
      Reply

      It will cause confusion if buyer insists on moving to their property, as agreement says occupation will take place on registration, then what happens to the seller who can’t sort themselves out due to lockdown? On the other hand risk and damages of property remains with seller until registration. If seller continues to stay after registration due to lockdown, who takes the risk?

      It will work to the advantage of agents as they will get commission but it might be a problem dealing with underlying issues that may arise between buyers and sellers.

  • Emily
    Reply

    We wish if president may open deeds office because we bought houses and paid we struggle again to rent

  • Vicky Williams
    Reply

    Pls open the deeds, master of the courts as well. People are suffering in a knock-on effect, due to stalling services.

  • Isabell James
    Reply

    We as estate agents need it open so we can get the properties sold registered. We are losing money because we don’t have an income

  • Corne Momberg
    Reply

    It time the property attorneys and big estate agents get hard hitters to make an urgent court interdict and get this resolved. My folks property last leg is with deeds office and is on hold based on lockdown. It was made clear that industry sectors will now have the chance to argue at what level of restriction they should be allowed to operate again, I hope the estate agents in SA has a body that will fight this cause. Selling a home, registering a home at the deeds office will not cause transmission if correct measures are followed.

  • haley mally mally
    Reply

    We were to lodge and lockdown happened. It cost us now to pay occupational rent for April and now again for May. We don’t have for May. We think deeds office can work. Why can’t they lodge work as stores with X amount allowed in offices as stores. Many can’t afford this occupational rental and its worrying, especially for me a mom of 6 kids. What do I do? Where do I go??? Why they selling cigarettes and baby clothes what about us don’t we matter??? This is very worrying in all honesty

  • John
    Reply

    I am appealing to the President to please declare the Deeds Office an essential service together with the municipalities and all the related people in order for transfer to go though.
    We are elderly pensioners. We sold our property and it was due to be lodged in the Deeds office the day before lockdown (although the attorneys had advised us that it would go through at the end of March) and the Attorneys withdrew it. We are now absolutely desperate. We do not have money to pay our accounts at the end of this month and we have no idea when the Deeds Office will open.
    We would have had no financial problem if the transfer had gone through as it ought to have done.
    We really do not know which way to turn.
    Please Mr President declare the Deeds Office an essential service with immediate effect.

    • Helene Meissenheimer
      Reply

      Dear John, the Deeds Office is currently listed to re-open on 4 May for selected services. The NPPC has requested that these services should include property transfers. A final decision from government is expected on this by tomorrow 30 April 2020.

  • Katlego
    Reply

    Greetings.
    The property valuations industry is also impacted by all this. We are unable to finalize valuations prior to an inspection, we can only perform desktops and thereafter finalize it with an inspection. Most valuers are also freelancer and we earn on commission. There will be many many jobs lost in the property industry as a whole.

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