Category Archives: Property law

Can somebody take the law into his/her own hands?

A1The mandament van spolie is a summary remedy, usually issued upon urgent application, aimed at restoring control of property to the applicant from whom it was taken through unlawful self-help, without investigating the merits of the parties’ rights to control.

From the definition above it is evident that this remedy is unique, because it is not used to protect rights at all. The mandament van spolie is a unique remedy aimed at undoing the results of the taking of property by means of self-help. The idea is that people should enforce and protect their property rights by legal means and procedure, and not by self-help and force, because self-help eventually results in chaos and anarchy. For this reason it is usually said that this remedy is based upon the principle that nobody is allowed to take the law into his/her own hands. Due to its aim of restoring peace and order and discouraging self-help, the spoliation remedy does not investigate the merits of any of the parties’ interest in the property and neither of the parties is allowed to raise the question of rights. The court is simply concerned with the factual investigation, namely whether there is proof of existing control and proof of unlawful spoliation of that control. If there was in fact existing control and unlawful spoliation the court will order the spoliator to restore the spoliated control to the applicant immediately, regardless of whether that control was in fact unlawful or even legal.

The spoliation remedy is aimed at preserving peace and order in the community. People cannot be permitted to circumvent the remedy by contract. Parties to a contract cannot agree that one of them will be permitted to take property from the other without proper legal procedure. The requirements for this remedy were set out in two classic decisions that are still the most important authorities in this regard, namely Nino Bonino v De Lange 1906(T) and Yeko v Qana 1973(A).

a)      Proof that the applicant was in peaceful and undisturbed control of the property. The first requirement means that the applicant had control over the property in question. For purposes of the spoliation remedy this control must have existed “peacefully and undisturbed” for a period long enough, and in a manner stable enough, to qualify any unlawful disturbance of the peace. The requirement that the control must have been peaceful and undisturbed does not refer to its legal merits, but simply to the fact that it must have been relatively stable and enduring. If not, there can hardly be a question of disturbance of the situation.

b)      Proof that the respondent took or destroyed that control by means of unlawful self-help or spoliation. The second requirement for the spoliation remedy is that the existing peaceful and undisturbed control must have been unlawfully spoliated by the respondent.

One can, therefore, safely say that possession is 90% of the law. The reason for this is that spoliation is not permitted in our law. The person must use the legal processes at his disposal and cannot take the law into his own hands.

References:

A J van der Walt & G J Pienaar: Introduction to property law, 5th edition, pg 218-223.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Transfer of a property: Is vat or transfer duty payable?

A3A purchaser is responsible for payment of transfer cost when acquiring an immovable property, but it should further be established if the transaction is subject to the payment of VAT or transfer duty to SARS.

When an immovable property is transferred, either VAT or transfer duty is payable.

To determine whether VAT or transfer duty is payable one should look at the status of the seller and the type of transaction.

VAT

If the seller is registered for VAT (Vendor) and he sells the property in the course of his business, VAT will be payable to SARS. A vendor is a person who runs a business and whose total taxable earnings per year exceed R1 000 000. He will then have to be registered for VAT. A further stipulation is that the property that is being sold must be related to his business from which he derives an income.

The Offer to Purchase should stipulate whether the purchase price includes or excludes VAT. If the Offer to Purchase makes no mention of the payment of VAT and the seller is a VAT vendor, it is then deemed that VAT is included and the seller will have to pay 14% of the purchase price to SARS. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay the VAT to SARS, except if the contract stipulates otherwise.

When a seller is not registered for VAT, but the purchaser is a registered VAT vendor, the purchaser will still pay transfer duty but can claim the transfer duty back from SARS after registration of the property.

Transfer duty

When the seller is not a registered VAT vendor it is almost certain that transfer duty will be payable on the transaction. A purchaser is responsible for payment of the transfer duty. Transfer duty is currently payable on the following scale:

1. The first R600 000 of the value is exempted from transfer duty.

2. Thereafter transfer duty is levied at 3% of the value up to R1 000 000.

3. From R1 000 001 to R1 500 000, transfer duty will be R12 000 plus 5% on the value above R1 000 000.

4. On R1 500 001 and above transfer duty is R37 000 plus 8% on the value above R1 500 000.

Transfer duty payable by an individual or a legal entity (trust, company or close corporation) is currently charged at the same rate.

Transfer duty is levied on the reasonable value of the property, which will normally be the purchase price, but should the market value be higher than the purchase price, transfer duty will be payable on the highest amount. Transfer duty is payable within six months from the date that the Offer to Purchase was signed.

In instances where a party obtains a property as an inheritance or as the beneficiary of a divorce settlement, the transaction will be exempted from payment of transfer duty.

Where shares in a company or a member’s interest in a close corporation or rights in a trust are transferred, the transaction will be subject to payment of transfer duty if the legal entity is the owner of a residential property.

Zero-rated transactions

This means that VAT will be payable on the transaction but at a zero rate. If both the seller and the purchaser are registered for VAT and the property is sold as a going concern, VAT will be charged at a zero rate, for instance when a farmer sells his farm as well as the cattle and the implements.

Exemption

Transfer duty, and not VAT, will be payable when a seller who is registered for VAT sells a property that was leased for residential purposes.

It is thus important for a purchaser to establish the status of the seller when buying a property. The seller who is registered for VAT should carefully peruse the purchase price clause in a contract before signing, to establish if VAT is included or excluded.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Mede-eienaarskap van grond

A2Die woord “mede-eienaarskap” met betrekking tot grond beteken dat twee of meer persone ‘n stuk grond gelyktydig in onverdeelde aandele besit. ‘n Aandeel in die grond beteken nie dat  ‘n bepaalde gedeelte van die grond besit word nie. ‘n Mede-eienaar wat ‘n aandeel in grond hou, kan nie aanspraak maak op ‘n bepaalde stuk grond nie, selfs al het sy mede-eienaars by wyse van ‘n ooreenkoms ingestem om okkupasie of gebruik van ‘n bepaalde stuk grond aan hom te gee. Die reg wat hy het, is op ‘n onverdeelde aandeel in die geheel van die grond wat in gesamentlike eienaarskap gehou word. Die gedeelte wat hy okkupeer, word gesamentlik besit deur hom en sy mede-eienaars in die grond. Indien hy ‘n huis bou op die gedeelte wat hy okkupeer, sal die huis gesamentlik besit word deur al die eienaars.

Wanneer X, Y en Z  mede-eienaars van ‘n plaas is, is hulle nie geregtig op ‘n fisiese deel van die plaas nie, maar elkeen van hulle het ‘n onverdeelde aandeel in die geheel van die plaas. Die aandeelhouding sal nie noodwendig altyd gelyk wees nie. Een persoon kan ‘n halwe aandeelhouding besit, terwyl die ander twee eienaars elk ‘n vyf en twintig persent aandeel kan hou. Mede-eienaarskap kan ongelukkig soms tot geskille tussen die eienaars lei.

Samewerking tussen die mede-eienaars

Dit is raadsaam dat die mede-eienaars ‘n ooreenkoms aangaan wat die verhouding tussen hulle reguleer. Ongelukkig is hierdie ooreenkoms nie afdwingbaar teenoor derde partye nie. Die toestemming van al die mede-eienaars word vereis wanneer administratiewe besluite geneem moet word. Geen eienaar is geregtig om veranderings of verbeterings op die eiendom aan te bring sonder die toestemming van die ander eienaars nie. Al die eienaars moet saamstem oor die gebruik van die eiendom, byvoorbeeld indien hulle bome wil afkap, ’n stoorfasiliteit of -gebou wil oprig of beeste in die veld wil laat wei. As mede-eienaars nie in besluite geraadpleeg word nie kan hulle die hof nader om ‘n interdik toe te staan. Die hof kan selfs gelas dat geboue wat opgerig is, verwyder word. In gevalle waar die doel is om die eiendom te bewaar, is dit egter nie altyd nodig om die toestemming van die mede-eienaars te verkry nie.

Die winste en verliese

Al die mede-eienaars moet proporsioneel bydra tot noodsaaklike en ook nuttige uitgawes vir die bewaring van die eiendom. Dié uitgawes sluit in belasting en uitgawes om die eiendom in ‘n goeie toestand te hou, maar sluit nie luukse uitgawes in nie. Verliese en koste moet deur die mede-eienaars gedeel word, behalwe waar dit toegeskryf kan word aan nalatigheid van een van die eienaars. Soos met uitgawes, moet vrugte en winste verdeel word onder die mede-eienaars volgens elke eienaar se aandeelhouding. 

Vervreemding van ‘n aandeel

‘n Mede-eienaar kan sy aandeel vervreem of selfs aan sy erfgename bemaak, sonder die toestemming van die ander eienaars, selfs teen hulle wil. Die balju kan ook beslag lê op ‘n mede-eienaar se aandeel. 

Gebruik van die eiendom

Elke mede-eienaar kan die eiendom  gebruik in ooreenstemming met sy onverdeelde aandeel. Hy moet dit egter gebruik met inagneming van die regte van die ander mede-eienaars. Elke mede-eienaar, sy werknemers en gaste, is geregtig op vrye toegang tot enige deel van die eiendom, behalwe as die mede-eienaars ooreengekom het dat ‘n gedeelte van die eiendom vir die uitsluitlike gebruik van ‘n mede-eienaar gereserveer word. 

Fisiese verdeling

Mede-eienaars kan besluit om die eiendom te verdeel, wat gewoonlik gebeur as hulle nie oor die benutting van die eiendom kan saamstem nie. Die eiendom sal dan fisies verdeel word in ooreenstemming met die waarde van die eiendom en elke mede-eienaar se aandeel daarin. Wanneer dit egter nie ekonomies is nie, wat gewoonlik die geval is met ‘n plaas, kan die eiendom toegeken word aan ‘n mede-eienaar, maar hy moet dan die ander mede-eienaars vergoed. Die hof kan ook beveel dat die eiendom op ‘n openbare veiling verkoop word en die opbrengs onder die mede-eienaars verdeel word. Daar is streng statutêre beheer oor die onderverdeling van grond en die gebruik daarvan, wat die onderverdeling nie altyd moontlik maak nie.

Mede-eienaarskap is een van die maniere hoe mens eienaar kan word van ‘n eiendom wat andersins nie bekostig kan word nie. Wees egter bewus van die slaggate, kies jou mede-eienaars oordeelkundig en stel ‘n ooreenkoms op om die onderlinge verhouding tussen die partye te reël ten opsigte van onder andere die betaling van die verband en erfbelasting, die dag-tot-dag uitgawes, asook die huisreëls.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Oordrag van eiendom: is BTW of hereregte betaalbaar?

A2Die Koper is verantwoordelik vir die betaling van die oordragkoste wanneer ‘n onroerende eiendom aangekoop word, maar dan moet verder bepaal word of BTW of hereregte op die transaksie aan SAID betaalbaar is.

By die oordrag van onroerende eiendom is daar altyd  BTW of hereregte betaalbaar aan SAID.

Daar word na die status van die verkoper en die aard van die transaksie gekyk ten einde te bepaal of BTW of hereregte betaalbaar sal wees.

BTW

Indien die Verkoper vir BTW geregistreer is en die eiendom verkoop in die loop van of ter bevordering van sy onderneming, is BTW op die transaksie betaalbaar. ‘n Ondernemer is ‘n persoon wat ‘n onderneming bedryf en wie se totale jaarlikse belasbare inkomste R1 000 000 oorskry. Hy/sy is dus verplig om vir BTW te registreer. ‘n Verdere vereiste is dat die eiendom wat verkoop word, verband moet hou met die onderneming waaruit die ondernemer sy inkomste verdien.

Die koopkontrak moet dan stipuleer of die koopprys BTW insluit of uitsluit. Indien die koopkontrak nie melding maak van BTW nie en die verkoper is vir BTW geregistreer, word BTW geag ingesluit te wees by die koopprys en sal die verkoper 14% van die koopprys aan SAID moet betaal. Die verkoper is verantwoordelik vir die oorbetaling van die BTW aan SAID tensy die kontrak bepaal dat dit die koper se verantwoordelikheid is.

Indien die koper vir BTW geregistreer is, maar die verkoper nie, sal hereregte betaalbaar wees, maar die koper kan ná registrasie die hereregte wat betaal is van SAID terugeis.

Hereregte

As die verkoper nie vir BTW geregistreer is nie is dit redelik seker dat hereregte betaalbaar sal wees, en wel deur die koper. Die koers waarteen hereregte tans bereken word is soos volg :

  1. Die eerste R600 000 van die waarde is vrygestel van hereregte,
  2. Daarna is die hereregte 3% van die waarde tot en met R1 000 000.
  3. Vanaf R1 000 001 tot R1 500 000 is die hereregte R12 000 plus 5% van die waarde bo R1 000 000.
  4. Op ‘n waarde van R1 500 001 en hoër is die hereregte R37 000 plus 8% van die waarde bo R1 500 000.

Die koers waarteen hereregte betaal word, is tans dieselfde vir natuurlike en regspersone (maatskappy, beslote korporasie of trust).

Daar is enkele gevalle waar hereregte nie betaalbaar is nie, o.a. waar ‘n party ‘n eiendom bekom kragtens ‘n egskeidingsbevel of ‘n erfgenaam is uit ‘n boedel.

Hereregte word bereken op die billike waarde van die eiendom wat gewoonlik die koopsom is. Indien die markwaarde van die eiendom egter hoër as die koopsom is,sal hereregte op die hoogste bedrag gehef word. Hereregte moet oorbetaal word aan SAID binne ses maande vanaf datum van kontraksluiting.

Wanneer  aandele in ‘n maatskappy, of die ledebelang in ‘n beslote korporasie, of die regte in ‘n trust oorgedra word, is die transaksie onderhewig aan die betaling van hereregte indien die regspersoon die eienaar van ‘n residensiële eiendom is.

Nulkoers-transaksies 

Dit beteken dat BTW wel betaalbaar is, maar teen ‘n koers van 0%. Waar beide die verkoper en koper vir BTW geregistreer is en die eiendom as ‘n lopende saak verkoop word, word BTW teen ‘n nulkoers gehef, bv. waar ‘n boer sy plaas tesame met die implemente en vee verkoop.

Vrystelling

Waar die verkoper vir BTW geregistreer is en sy besigheid die koop en verkoop van eiendom en die verhuring daarvan vir woondoeleindes behels, en hy die verhuurde eiendom verkoop, is daar nie BTW betaalbaar nie, maar wel hereregte.

Dit is dus belangrik vir die koper om met die sluiting van die kontrak navraag te doen oor die BTW-status van die verkoper. Die verkoper wat vir BTW geregistreer is, moet met kontraksluiting die koopprysklousule deeglik nagaan om seker te maak of die verkoopprys BTW insluit of uitsluit.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Opskortende voorwaardes in ‘n koopkontrak: Weet wat jou verpligtinge is

A4Stel jou voor dat jy ‘n koopkontrak onderteken om jou droomhuis te koop en later uitvind dat die kontrak verval het, omdat jou verband een dag te laat goedgekeur is. Die situasie kan verder vererger word indien die Verkoper ‘n beter aanbod vir sy eiendom ontvang en die beter aanbod aanvaar.

Indien ‘n koopkontrak onderhewig gemaak word aan die vervulling van ‘n opskortende voorwaarde sal sodanige kontrak verval indien daar nie betyds aan die voorwaarde voldoen word nie. Dit is bevestig in die saak van Marais v Kovacs Investments 724 (Pty) Ltd [2009] 1 All SA 174 (C) (hierna “die Marais-saak” genoem). Daar is dan geen kontrak tussen die partye vir die koop van die eiendom nie en die Verkoper is vry om die eiendom aan ‘n derde party te verkoop.

Voorbeelde van ‘n opskortende voorwaarde is die verkryging van verbandgoedkeuring of die verkoop van die Koper se bestaande eiendom voor ‘n sekere datum. Dit is baie belangrik vir sowel die Koper as die Verkoper om te let op die bewoording van hierdie klousules en seker te maak dat albei partye hulle verpligtinge verstaan.

Die volgende is ‘n voorbeeld van die bewoording van ‘n opskortende voorwaarde met betrekking tot die goedkeuring van ‘n verband, soms ook na verwys as die “verbandvoorwaarde”- klousule: 

Hierdie Koopkontrak is onderhewig daaraan dat die Koper verbandgoedkeuring van ‘n finansiële instansie bekom ten bedrae van  R1 500 000 voor 2 Desember 2013, by gebreke waarvan hierdie ooreenkoms sal verval.

Sou, in die bogenoemde voorbeeld, ‘n verband vir die bedrag van R1 400 000, met ander woorde R100 000 minder as die vereiste bedrag, goedgekeur word voor 2 Desember 2013, sal daar nie aan die voorwaarde voldoen word nie en sal die kontrak dus verval. Net so, indien ‘n verband ten bedrae van R1 500 000 eers op 5 Desember 2013 goedgekeur word, sal daar nie betyds aan die voorwaarde voldoen word nie, en sal die kontrak ook verval, soos bevestig in die saak van Meyer v Barnardo and another 1984 (2) SA 580 (N).

Die partye kan egter ooreenkom om die tyd waarbinne die opskortende voorwaarde vervul moet word, te verleng. Sodanige verlenging moet op skrif gestel en onderteken word deur beide die Verkoper en die  Koper, soos per die vereistes van die Wet op Vervreemding van Grond 68 van 1981. Dit moet ook gedoen word voordat die tydperk waarvoor voorsiening gemaak word in die opskortende voorwaarde, verstryk het. In die bogenoemde voorbeeld sou dit beteken dat die partye die verlengingsdokument voor 2 Desember 2013 sal moet onderteken om te voorkom dat die koopkontrak verval. In die Marais-saak het die hof bevind dat selfs indien die opskortende voorwaarde in die koopkontrak gevoeg was tot die uitsluitlike voordeel van die Koper, die Koper sy voorneme om van die vereistes van die klousule afstand te doen, aan die Verkoper moes meedeel voordat die tydperk waarvoor voorsiening gemaak is, verval het.

In die Marais-saak het die partye ‘n skriftelike koopkontrak aangegaan met ‘n opskortende voorwaarde dat ‘n verband ten bedrae van R10 149 072 teen 15 Augustus 2005 verkry moes word. Die Koper het egter slegs ‘n verband ten bedrae van R9 650 000 verkry, welke verband op 2 Augustus 2005 toegestaan is. Die respondent se prokureurs het aangevoer dat die opskortende voorwaarde wesenlik vervul is omdat die tekort na hul mening net ‘n “klein tekort” en dus ‘n onbeduidende bedrag in vergelyking met die koopprys was. Die hof het nie saamgestem met hierdie stelling nie en bevind dat daar nie gesê kan word dat dit die partye se bedoeling was dat daar aan die opskortende voorwaarde voldoen is op enige ander manier as dit wat uitdruklik in die koopkontrak gestipuleer is nie. Die hof het bevind dat die kontrak dus verval het.

As ‘n opskortende voorwaarde nie vervul gaan word in die periode wat daaraan toegeken word in die koopkontrak nie, is dit raadsaam om eerder die nodige voorsorgmaatreëls te tref en sodoende te vermy dat die koopkontrak verval. Ons stel voor dat u ‘n professionele persoon raadpleeg vir advies in hierdie verband.

Verwysings: 

  • Kontraktereg, UNISA 2004
  • Selfstudie Aktekursus vir Prokureurs, Gawie le Roux
  • Alienation of Land Act 68 of 1981
  • Marais v Kovacs Investments 724 (Pty) Ltd [2009] 1 All SA 174 (C)
  • Meyer v Barnardo and another 1984 (2) SA 580 (N) 

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Sale of immovable property and the National Credit Act

A3It often happens during a sale of immovable property that the parties agree to a deferred payment of the purchase price. The purchaser will then pay the purchase price in instalments and the seller will charge interest on the outstanding amount from time to time. Sometimes the parties even agree to the registration of a bond over the property to secure the payment of the purchase price.

What the parties don’t keep in mind, however, is that this agreement between the parties constitutes a credit transaction as defined in the National Credit Act (hereinafter called the Act) and that in certain circumstances the seller will have to register as a credit provider in terms of the Act. 

To establish if the Act will be applicable and if the seller should register as a credit provider one should carefully consider the following:

1.    The Act will apply to all written credit agreements between parties dealing at arm’s length. This is probably to curb underhand dealings between family members at the peril of other third parties.

2.    Arm’s length transactions are not defined in the Act but they exclude, for example, transactions between family members who are dependent or co-dependent on each other and any arrangement where each party is not independent of the other and does not strive to obtain the utmost possible advantage out of the transaction.

The Act does not apply where:

1.    The consumer is a juristic person whose annual turnover or asset value is more than R1m;

2.    The purchaser is the State or an organ of the State;

3.    A large agreement (i.e. more than R250 000, such as a mortgage) is entered into with a juristic person whose asset value or turnover is less than R1m.

A credit agreement includes a credit facility, credit transaction and credit guarantee or a combination of these. The relevance is the following:

1.    A credit facility requires fees or interest to be paid;

2.    A credit transaction does not necessarily require interest or fees to be paid. An instalment agreement would suffice to qualify as a credit transaction.

3.    An instalment agreement is defined and relates only to the sale of movable property.

4.    A credit transaction also includes any other agreement where payment of an amount owed is deferred and interest or fees are charged.

A mortgage agreement qualifies as a credit transaction [Section 8(4)(d)] and the importance is that mortgage is defined in the Act as a pledge of immovable property that serves as security for a mortgage agreement. Mortgage agreement is also defined as a credit agreement secured by a pledge of immovable property.

Section 40 of the Act requires one to register as a credit provider should you have at least 100 credit agreements as credit provider OR if the total principal debt under all credit agreements exceeds R500 000. Principal debt means the amount deferred and does not include interest or other fees.

It follows that if you sell your home to an individual in a private sale (i.e. where he does not get a bond from the bank) and you register a bond as security, you have to register as a credit provider UNLESS the principal debt is less than R500 000 or the buyer is a juristic person and the price is more than R250 000.

The implications for the seller could be far-reaching if he is not registered, as the agreement will be unlawful and void, and a court must order that:

1.    The credit agreement is void as from the date the agreement was entered into;

2.    The credit provider must refund to the purchaser any money paid by the purchaser under the credit agreement, together with interest;

3.    All the purported rights of the credit provider under the credit agreement to recover any money paid or goods delivered to, or on behalf of the purchaser in terms of the agreement, are either cancelled or forfeited to the State.

The application form to register as a credit provider and also the calculation of the registration fee that is payable to the National Credit Regulator (NCR) can be found on the NCR’s website. If the seller has not registered by the time he enters into the loan agreement he may still register within 30 days after entering into the loan agreement.

Sellers, be careful when you enter into these types of agreements, as non-compliance with the Act could be a costly exercise.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

 

Transfer of a property: Is VAT or transfer duty payable?

A2A Purchaser is responsible for payment of transfer cost when acquiring an immovable property, but it should further be established if the transaction is subject to the payment of VAT or transfer duty to SARS.

When an immovable property is transferred, either VAT or transfer duty is payable.

To determine whether VAT or transfer duty is payable one should look at the status of the seller and the type of transaction.

VAT

If the seller is registered for VAT (Vendor) and he sells the property in the cause of his business, VAT will be payable to SARS. A vendor is a person who runs a business and whose total taxable earnings per year exceed R1 000 000. He will then have to be registered for VAT. A further stipulation is that the property that is being sold must be related to his business from which he derives an income.

The Offer to Purchase should stipulate whether the purchase price includes or excludes VAT. If the Offer to Purchase makes no mention of the payment of VAT and the seller is a VAT vendor, it is then deemed that VAT is included and the seller will have to pay 14% of the Purchase price to SARS. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay the VAT to SARS, except if the contract stipulates otherwise.

When a seller is not registered for VAT, but the purchaser is a registered VAT vendor, the purchaser will still pay transfer duty but can claim the transfer duty back from SARS after registration of the property.

Transfer duty

When the seller is not a registered VAT vendor it is almost certain that transfer duty will be payable on the transaction. A purchaser is responsible for payment of the transfer duty. Transfer duty is currently payable on the following scale:

  1. The first R600 000 of the value is exempted from transfer duty.
  2. Thereafter transfer duty is levied at 3% of the value up to R1 000 000.
  3. From R1 000 001 to R1 500 000, transfer duty will be R12 000 plus 5% on the value above R1 000 000.
  4. On R1 500 001 and above transfer duty is R37 000 plus 8% of the value above R1 500 000.

Transfer duty payable by an individual or a legal entity (trust, company or close corporation) is currently charged at the same rate.

Transfer duty is levied on the reasonable value of the property, which will normally be the purchase price, but should the market value be higher than the purchase price, transfer duty will be payable on the highest amount. Transfer duty is payable within six months from the date that the Offer to Purchase was signed.

In instances where a party obtains a property as an inheritance or as the beneficiary of a divorce settlement, the transaction will be exempted from payment of transfer duty.

Where shares in a company or a member’s interest in a close corporation or rights in a trust are transferred, the transaction will be subject to payment of transfer duty if the legal entity is the owner of a residential property.

Zero-rated transactions

This means that VAT will be payable on the transaction but at a zero rate. If both the seller and the purchaser are registered for VAT and the property is sold as a going concern, VAT will be charged at a zero rate, for instance when a farmer sells his farm as well as the cattle and the implements.

Exemption

Transfer duty, and not VAT, will be payable when a seller who is registered for VAT sells a property that was leased for residential purposes.

It is thus important for a purchaser to establish the status of the seller when buying a property. The seller who is registered for VAT should carefully peruse the purchase price clause in a contract before signing, to establish if VAT is included or excluded.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. 

Hersiening van direkteure se besluite

A3‘n Vorige artikel het gehandel oor die “informele” besluite geneem deur direkteure, en is die optrede en besluite deur direkteure wat as “informele” besluite deur direkteure beskou kan word, behandel.

Die presedente geskep deur die howe is bespreek, welke presedente oorweeg word wanneer die afdwingbaarheid en geldigheid van sodanige “toestemmings” deur die howe beslis moet word. Direkteure van huiseienaarsverenigings is gewaarsku om waaksaam en versigtig te wees wanneer hulle in informele gesprekke met ander lede tree, veral wanneer hierdie lede lugkastele bou en beplande aanbouings met die direkteur bespreek. Direkteure is gemaan om hul opinies eerder te lug wanneer die direksie die formele aansoek deur die lid debatteer, veral wat betref lede se beplande aanbouings of ander boubedrywighede.

Die reëls van die huiseienaarsvereniging wat betref die estetiese en ander vereistes neem voorrang in hierdie formele besluitnemingsproses.Maar hoe gemaak as die lid wel aan die formele voorgeskrewe vereistes van die huiseienaarsvereniging voldoen het, en die direksie wys die aansoek van die hand?  Waar laat dit die lid en die direksie?

Die howe sal nie sommer inmeng met die besluite geneem deur ‘n huiseienaarsvereniging nie, behalwe in gevalle waar die erkende gronde van regterlike hersiening wel van toepassing is, soos toegepas op vrywillige verenigings wie se lede hulself verbind het aan die vereniging se reëls, en waar welke reëls die raad van verkose direkteure beklee met besluitnemingsbevoegheid (Turner vs Jockey Club of South Africa 1974 (3) SA; SA Medical & Dental Council vs McLoughlin 1948 (2) SA 355 (AD) and Marlin vs Durban Turf Club & Others 1942 AD 112). 

Die gronde van regterlike hersiening word egter beperk tot of die tribunaal bevoeg was om die besluit te neem en of die tribunaal beide prosedureel en substansieel regverdig en billik was.  Effektiewelik word die hersiening dus beperk tot die vraag of die besluit of proses enigsins wederregtelik of onreëlmatig was – onregverdigheid per se is nie voldoende gronde nie (Bel Porto School Governing Body & Others vs Premier, Western Cape & Another 2002 (3) SA). 

In die tradisionele gemenereg hersieningsgronde vir ‘n vrywillige vereniging word wederregtelikheid, prosedurele onregverdigheid en irrasionaliteit ingesluit. Voor die inwerkingtreding van die grondwet is die reikwydte van vrywillige verenigings in gesagdraende uitsprake gevestig. Die Promotion of Administrative Justice Wet, Wet 3 of 2000 (PAJA) is van toepassing op enige administratiewe optrede geneem deur ‘n staatsliggaam of ‘n regspersoon in die afdwinging van ‘n openbare bevoegdheid of die uitvoering van ‘n openbare funksie.  Gevolglik val direkteure van huiseienaarsverenigings nie binne die reikwydte van PAJA nie.  Aan die ander kant, Artikel 39(2) van die Grondwet verplig howe, in die ontwikkeling van die gemenereg, om die gees, bedoeling en oogmerke  van die Handves van Menseregte in ag te neem.

Die beslissing in die aangeleentheid van Theron en Andere vs Ring van Wellington van die NG Sending Kerk in Suid-Afrika en Andere 1976 (2) SA 1 (A) het reeds bevestig dat ‘n redelikheids-toets gebaseer op rasionaliteit ‘n geoorloofde grond in die gemeneregtelike bevoegdhede van die howe daarstel om besluite van vrywillige verenigings te hersien. Die hof sal derhalwe ‘n hersieningsaansoek oorweeg wat gronde van onredelikheid insluit, in dat die besluit deur die direksie nie redelik gestaaf word deur die getuienis nie. Daar blyk geen verskil te wees in beginsel, vir doeleindes van hierdie skrywe, tussen gemeneregtelike hersieningsgronde van toepassing op vrywillige verenigings en die hersieningsgronde soos voorsien deur PAJA nie.

Verskeie uitsprake bevestig dat ‘n hof net sal ingryp met ‘n besluit deur direkteure van ‘n vrywillige vereniging waar die vereniging nie die beginsels van natuurlike geregtigheid, te wete wettigheid, prosedurele regverdigheid en redelikheid toegepas het nie. Laasgenoemde in die sin van ‘n rasionele nexus tussen die feite soos voorgelê en die oorwegings wat toegepas is in die neem van die besluit.

Waar die Memorandum van Inkorporasie of die reëls van die huiseienaarsvereniging ‘n formele proses voorskryf vir die verkryging van toestemming of instemming vir byvoorbeeld ‘n bouprojek, sal enige lid wie nie sodanige voorgeskrewe aansoek indien en aan die voorgeskrewe proses voldoen nie, selfs al is dit net vir die oprigting van ‘n heining, en wie nie die voorgeskewe goedkeuring voor die oprigting van die heining ontvang het nie, se sodanige opgerigte heining as “onwettig” beskou word.

Die Raad van Direkteure van enige huiseienaarsvereniging het ‘n verpligting om die Memorandum van Assosiasie of Memorandum van Inkorporasie en die reëls van die vereniging af te dwing en moet sodanig optree in belang van die landgoed en al die lede daarvan.

Enige bouprojek waarmee daar reeds aanvang geneem is of selfs afgehandel is sonder dat die formele voorgeskrewe proses gevolg is deur die huiseienaar, of dit aan die estetiese vereistes van die huiseienaarsvereniging soos voorgeskryf in die huiseienaarsvereniging se reëls voldoen al dan nie, is “onwettig” in dat die lid gebou het sonder om formeel aan die vereistes van die huiseienaarsvereniging te voldoen. Direkteure moet omsigtig ieder en elke sodanige bouprojek binne die jurisdiksie van die landgoed identifiseer, en in belang van al die lede van die huiseienaarsvereniging, lede wat geraak word nooi vir ‘n informele, vriendelike gesprek oor die verwydering of verdere toevoegings van die gebou of bouprojek, selfs al is dit net ‘n heining, en die tydperke vir sodanige optrede.

Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat sulke lede steeds verplig is om die formele vereistes soos voorgeskryf deur die vereniging, na te kom. Sodanige aansoeke moet voorgelê word vir beslegting en terugwerkende goedkeuring deur die raad van direkteure, volgens die voorgeskrewe formele vereistes van die vereniging op voorwaarde dat alle voorgeskrewe vereistes ten volle nagekom is, selfs al is dit bloot esteties.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

So when am I authorised to act as trustee?

A4The Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988 defines a trustee as meaning “any person (including the founder of the trust) who acts as a trustee by virtue of an authorisation under Section 6.” 

In the matter of Lupacchini vs Minister of Safety and Security (16/2010) [2010], ZASCA 108   (17 September 2010), the position of a trustee acting without the authorisation of the Master was considered, where that “trustee” authorised legal proceedings.

A trust that is established by a trust deed is not a legal person – it is a legal relationship of a special kind that is described by the authors of Honoré’s South African Law of Trusts[1] as “a legal institution in which a person, the trustee, subject to public supervision, holds or administers property separately from his or her own, for the benefit of another person or persons or for the furtherance of a charitable or other purpose.” 

Although the trust property vests in each trustee individually they have to act jointly unless the deed of trust provides otherwise. Their individual interests do not waive the requirement that they have to act jointly.

The consequence of the validity of an act that has taken place in conflict with a statutory prohibition has been considered in numerous cases, and depends on a proper construction of the particular legislation and the intention of the legislature.

The whole scheme of the act is to provide a manner in which the Master can supervise trustees in the proper administration of trusts, and their knowledge of Article 6(1) is essential to such purpose, and by placing a bar on trustees from acting as such until authorised by the Master, the Act endeavours to ensure that trustees can only act as such if they comply with the Act.

In the Kropman NO vs Nysschen[2] it was held that a court has the discretion to retrospectively validate acts of a trustee that are performed without the requisite authority. This proposition was in later cases rejected persuasively.

“Locus standi in Judicio” on the other hand is something else and does not depend on the authority to act but depends on whether the litigant is regarded by the court as having a sufficiently close interest in the litigation.

Although section 6(1) suspends a trustee’s power to act in that capacity he or she could have a sufficiently well-defined and close interest in the administration of the trust to have locus standi.

The essence of the prohibitory phrase in section 6(1), “… shall act in that capacity only if authorised thereto …”, must be interpreted to mean that a trustee may not, prior to the Masters authorisation, acquire rights for, or contractually incur liabilities on behalf of, the trust and is not intended to regulate questions of locus standi in iudicio.’

Legal proceedings commenced by unauthorised trustees and commercial transactions binding the trust are invalid and void.


[1] 5th ed (2002) by Edwin Cameron with Marius de Waal, Basil Wunsh and Peter Solomon para 1.

[2] 1999 (2) SA 567 (T) at 576F.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Why is the transfer of my property taking so long?

A2After signing a deed of sale, the purchasers often want to move into the property with great excitement and as soon as possible. When they are informed of the process involved prior to the property being transferred this may place a damper on their excitement. Coupled with this there may even be delays in the transaction.

In order to avoid unnecessary frustration it is vital that parties to the transaction understand the processes involved and that delays are sometimes inevitable. Besides possible delays there are a number of processes that need to be followed before a house can be registered in a purchaser’s name.

At the outset, it must be determined if the deed of sale is valid and binding between the parties. If not, a valid and binding contract will first have to be concluded between the parties.

The deed of sale will normally be the starting point in a transaction for a conveyancer who has been instructed to attend to the transfer. This conveyancer is also known as the transferring attorney and is normally the main link between the other attorneys involved the transfer transaction. Other attorneys involved are normally a bond attorney and/or bond cancellation attorney.

A major role of the transferring attorney is informing any mortgagees, for example banks, about the transfer so that any notice periods for the cancellation of bonds can start running.  The notice period is normally up to 90 days. If the bond is cancelled before then, there could be penalties payable.  The transfer may therefore be delayed as a result of the notice period.

If the purchaser will be registering a new mortgage bond to finance the transaction, a bond attorney will be appointed. Since the transferring attorney will not normally be aware of whom the instructed bond attorney is, the bank will usually inform the bond attorney of who is attending to the transfer. The bond attorney will then first make contact with the transferring attorney.

Obtaining the various certificates, receipts and consents applicable to the transaction in question also takes time. Examples of these are rates clearance certificate, transfer duty receipt, homeowners association’s consent to the transfer, levy clearance certificate, electrical compliance certificate and plumbing certificate.

The transfer duty receipt is obtained from the Receiver of Revenue and should be lodged with all property transactions, even if no transfer duty is payable to the Receiver of Revenue. During 2013 it took approximately seven working days from the submission of the request, until the transfer duty receipt was issued.

The rates clearance certificate is obtained from the local municipality in the area where the property in question is located. The transferring attorney will first request the municipality to inform him of the amount they require in order to issue the certificate. After receipt thereof the amount can be paid and the transferring attorney will then await the issued certificate.  The time this takes differs from municipality to municipality. In the City of Cape Town, during 2013, figures were mostly issued on the same day they were requested and the receipt was issued within approximately five working days after payment. This time frame is largely affected by whether or not the municipality works on an electronic system.

If the property is located in an area where a homeowners’ association is established, there will normally be a title deed condition in terms of which the consent of the homeowners’ association must be obtained prior to the transfer. The time it takes for obtaining this certificate differs from one homeowners’ association to the other.

After an inspection by a plumber or electrician it may be found that certain work needs to be carried out before the certificates will be issued. If the work that must be carried out is extensive this can cause major delays with the transaction.

If the property is being sold by an executor of a deceased estate, the consent of the Master of the High Court must first be obtained before the property can be transferred. Major delays can be experienced if the Master of the High Court refuses to give such consent until certain requirements have been met.

Once the transferring attorney is satisfied that all relevant documents are in place he will arrange simultaneous lodgement at the Deeds Office by all attorneys involved in the transaction.  It is therefore vital that the bond attorney has by this time obtained the required approval to lodge from the mortgagee and that the bond cancellation attorney has the required consents in place to cancel the existing bond/s on the property.

Once all the documents are lodged at the Deeds Office, an internal process is followed, which has different time frames in the various Deeds Offices. This time frame can also vary in a particular Deeds Office. It is best to enquire from your conveyancer what the Deeds Office time frame is at any given stage.

The list of possible delays in a transaction varies from one transaction to the other and the possibilities are endless. It is advisable to contact your conveyancer for an explanation should you feel that the process is taking too long.

References: Aktebesorging, UNISA 2004, Department Private Law, Ramwell, Brink & West

Compiled by Riëtte Nel

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.