Consumer Information

Author:   Tarryn Jason
Jason Attorneys Inc.
July 2020

Conveyancing is the procedure of legally creating, extinguishing and transferring rights of ownership in land.  

This service is provided by a Conveyancer who must first be an admitted Attorney of the High Court in the jurisdiction in which they practise. An Attorney finally qualifies as a Conveyancer after they have written and passed the Conveyancer’s Practical Examination of the Law Society of South Africa and are admitted as such in the High Court of the jurisdiction in which they practise. As such, the Conveyancer bears a huge responsibility in ensuring the absolute legal correctness of the transaction at hand and must ensure that all parties are well-informed and understand the legal implications of all the steps of the transaction. Furthermore, the Conveyancer, not only, must ensure the meticulous preparation of the deeds and the efficient lodgement of same, but also must manage the finances of the transaction.

A Conveyancer may practise in any province in the Republic of South Africa, irrespective of their area of domicile and practise, provided they are registered with the Deed’s Office in which they intend performing registrations of land. Alternatively, a Conveyancer may appoint a correspondent Conveyancer (who is registered with the Deed’s Office in question) to perform the registration should this be in a jurisdiction different to the one in which he/she resides and practises. For example, I am a Conveyancer residing and practising in Cape Town and a dedicated client who resides in Gauteng wishes to sell their property. I can act for my client as their transferring Attorney, however, I will need to appoint a correspondent Conveyancer in the relevant area of Gauteng to lodge such transfer at the relevant Deed’s Office. The transfer fees will remain the same, with the correspondent Conveyancer charging the original transferring Attorney a fee for performing the physical registration.

The South African System regarding the ownership of land is a sophisticated one and encompasses the following (but not limited to):-

  • A geographically correct and precise physical diagram of each plot of land is prepared to ensure the accuracy of its identity;
  • An indisputable title (i.e. security);
  • Continuity and completeness of records;
  • Deeds are accurately and meticulously prepared;
  • Deeds are thoroughly examined and passed before registration is allowed;
  • Only the registered owner (or nominee) may convey rights in land – when conveyed, the new ownership must be registered in the relevant Deed’s Office;
  • Each registered owner (holder of a right) remains so until such right is transferred via the conveyancing process, by order of court or such owner is dispossessed by operation of the law.

The following amount to some of the more common general transactions dealt with in Conveyancing:

  • The sale of land – transfer of ownership in said piece of land from the seller to the purchaser in exchange for a purchase price as determined by the seller;
  • Inheritance of a piece of land through the operation of a will or the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 – transfer of ownership from the deceased estate to the heir without the exchange of monetary value;
  • Donations of land – transfer of ownership in a piece of land from a donor as a gift to the donee without the exchange of monetary value;
  • Transfer of ownership in land due to divorce proceedings;
  • Transfer of ownership in land due to a marital regime upon marriage;
  • Land is subdivided into more than one “plot” of land;
  • Two or more “plots” of land are consolidated to form one piece of land;

Summary:

Transfers (conventional and sectional title), Estate Transfers (conventional and sectional title), Sale of immovable property, Subdivision of land, Consolidation of land, Sectional Title Scheme registration, various applications to the Deed’s Office regarding rights of ownership in land, various Certificates of Registered Title regarding ownership of land.

The original Jason Inc. article can be viewed here: