Consumer Information

Author: Dept. of Rural Development & Land Reform
May 2020

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT:  DEEDS,
the DEEDS Office and Processes:
Frequently Asked Questions

What is deeds registration?

It is the registration (in deeds registry) of transactions relating to land, in terms of land of the provisions of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1037 of 1986 and the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.

What is a title deed?

A Title deed is a registered legal document which evidences ownership in respect of a defined a piece of land or an apartment in a block of flats.

What is a deed of sale?

A deed of sale is a legal document that contains the terms of a contract of sale of a piece of land or an apartment in a block of flats and which must be signed by the seller and the buyer or their authorized agents.

How does one verify registration of the property

Verification of registration of property is achieved by requesting from any Deeds Office a computer printout for the registration facts in respect of the property concerned or, in the case of registered users of the DeedsWEB, obtaining the said computer printout from the DeedsWEB.   

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document in terms of which the holder of registered rights in respect of property authorizes a third party to act on her/his behalf in performing acts of registration in a Deeds Office.

What is rates clearance certificate?

A rates clearance certificate is a certificate issued by a Local Authority and which certifies that all amounts that became due in connection with that property for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and other municipal taxes, levies and duties during the two years preceding the date of application for the certificate have been fully paid.

What is Transfer Duty?

Transfer duty is the tax payable to the South African Revenue Services [SARS]on the value of any property acquired by any person by way of a sale or a donation or an exchange.

What is an antenuptial contract?

An ante-nuptial contract is a legal contract entered into by parties before their marriage and which is intended to regulate proprietary consequences of the intended marriage; and in which property may be donated between the prospective spouses. For registration purposes, it is necessary that an ante-nuptial contract is drafted by a Notary Public and signed in the presents of such Notary Public.

Why must I pay for deeds information?

In terms of the law, anyone who seeks to obtain deeds registration information must first pay the prescribed fee and which changes from time to time.

Why do I need a conveyancer to register and transfer my property?

By operation of the law, documents that are intended for the registration of transfer or mortgaging (making subject to a bond) property must be prepared by a conveyancer. A conveyancer is an admitted and practicing attorney and who has also been admitted to practice as a conveyancer.

Within which time period must the Deeds Office deliver a title deed to the conveyancer
after registration, and why?

The Deeds Office takes 10 days to deliver a title deed to the conveyancer after registration. It takes 10 days because of the need to complete the necessary administrative actions such as numbering, effecting an authentication seal of office, the performance of quality assurance procedures, information capturing, and scanning for archiving purposes.

How does the Deeds Office fee structure operate in relation to fees payable?

The schedule of fees that is prescribed by law is structured in relation to the value of the property concerned such that transactions in respect of properties with higher value subsidize those transactions lower value.

The property was registered in my name but I did not receive my title deed.
Where is my title deed?

It is best to contact the conveyancer that dealt with the registration of the transfer of the property into your name, in order to establish the whereabouts of your title deed. However, please note the following:
1. After registration has taken place in the deeds registry, and after the relevant deed and documents have been microfilmed, same is delivered to the conveyancer;
2. Should transfer of the property occurred simultaneous with the registration of a mortgage bond over such property, then the Deed of Transfer is delivered (together with the Mortgage Bond) to the bond holder (financial institution – Bank).
3. Deeds registries do not keep original documentation/title deeds/mortgage bonds.

My parents passed away, what must I do to have their property registered in my name?

Legal steps to be followed in the winding up of a deceased estate, that is, transfer of property from the name of a deceased to her/his descendants:
1. Reporting the death to the Master of the High Court that serves the area in which the property concerned is situated.
2. Master appoints a Representative, if value of estate is below R250 000 or appoints an Executor is if the value of the estate exceeds R250 000.
3. The Representative deals with the estate in accordance with the directions of the Master of the High Court.
4. The duties of the Executor, include amongst others, the following:
a) the advertising for creditors to lodge claims,
b) the preparation of a list of the assets in the estate called an inventory,
c) the preparation and advertising of a liquidation and distribution account (L and D account) for the purposes of inviting objections to the L and D account, if any, and finally
d) the distribution of the assets.
e) The distribution of immovable property is done by means of registration in the Deeds Office and the Representative or Executor, as the case may be, instructs a conveyancer to effect transfer in the Deeds Office.

How can I get a copy of my title deed?

A copy of a title deed, for information purposes, is obtainable from any Deeds Office upon written application to the Registrar of Deeds and payment of the prescribed fee which changes from time to time. The officials at the information section of a Deeds Office assist members of the public with the completion of the request forms and with the payment of the prescribed fee. Members of the public who have access to the internet may also obtain copies of title deeds by subscribing online to the internet based DeedsWEB

A replacement copy of a lost or destroyed titled deed is obtainable by enlisting the services of a practicing conveyancer, for the purposes of preparing and lodging the prescribed application for a replacement title deed.