Author: STBB
20 March 2020

URGENT:  Precautions taken by the Cape Town Deeds Office During the Cofid-19 Outbreak

In an aim to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease, the Registrar of Deeds, Cape Town has signed off on Registrar’s Notice 4/2020 indicating the measures that shall be taken as of 23 March 2020 to restrict access to the Deeds Office building. Please click here to view the notice. Conveyancers now under more pressure than ever to get deeds lodged and registered, and this is how it will impact you.

Registrar’s Notice 4/2020 circulated by the Cape Town deeds office has now prohibited the linking of batches in the Deeds Office, its entrance or foyer. Conveyancers are now required to link batches at their respective offices for lodgment. This has now made it impossible for last minute lodgments to be checked and lodged, if linked with external conveyancing firms, due to firms either being situated outside of the Cape Town business district or due to deeds office clerks that firm having left by an allotted time.

Please send us your deeds at least 2 days in advance of the lodgment date. This will provide us with enough time to double check, notify you of any errors, attend to notes and notify a linked firm for lodgment on the next day should the linked attorney need to deliver their deed at our offices in the Cape Town business district. Lodgment time is from 8.30am to 10.15am.If your deed is a single deed, or should you be linked with STBB, you can continue to send your deeds as usual.

Access to the Registrars panel is now discontinued. We will write to the panel on your behalf should we not agree with a rejection note, or should you require a ruling from the panel on a particular matter. We will, within reason, ensure that submissions to the panel are made before 9am in order for us to obtain a same day response.Black bookings are still permitted during a specified time. Kindly note that you are required to have a very good reason in order to black book and that your deeds needed to have been in the system for longer than 7 days. Please notify us at least 1 day before of your possible intention to black book to enable us to secure a conveyancer to appear before the registrar. 

Please instruct us to hand in your on prep deed no later than 9.45am to enable us to timeously instruct the deeds office. The lodgments and on preps are now starting at the same time in the deeds office, which means that compared to usual, we are losing approximately 1 hour. One of our deeds office clerks will be coming back to the office from the Deeds Office to collect any notes fixed and return to the deeds office to have the examiner either reply or remove the note.

We are no longer permitted to consult with examiners on notes. Within reason, we will respond to notes where we are able to. Should we be unable to reply independently, we will request your advices on how to deal with the notes.

Public access to the title deeds for pivot searches are now restricted by appointment. Alternatively, you will have to request copies of the title deeds from the deeds office. The time scale for the latter is 5-7 works days for issue of the copy. This means that your conveyancing certificates relating to your developments may be delayed. The ordering of copies for pivot searches will severely impact ordinary requests for copies.In light of the above, we share your concern the newly imposed time constraints severely places our practices under pressure. We thank you and appreciate your co-operation herein

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