Monthly Archives: June 2014

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.

Beredderingsproses van ‘n boedel

A2Die bereddering van ‘n bestorwe boedel word voorgeskryf deur die Boedelwet Nr 66 van 1965 (soos gewysig) en verdeel ooreenkomstig ‘n geldige testament of die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging Nr 81 van 1987 (soos gewysig) of ‘n kombinasie van albei wette.

Verskeie ander wette en regulasies wat betrekking het op onder meer inkomstebelasting (met inagneming van BTW en KWB), Boedel- en Skenkingsbelasting, en onderhoud van langslewende gade kan egter ook van toepassing wees.

Wanneer ‘n persoon te sterwe kom, moet sy/haar boedel so spoedig moontlik by die kantoor van die Meester van die Hoë Hof aangemeld word. Sekere rapporteringsdokumente moet dan saam met die oorspronklike testament, indien van toepassing, aan die Meester gelewer word.

In die geval van boedels met ‘n bruto waarde van minder as R125 000 kan die Meester afsien van die amptelike aanstelling van ‘n Eksekuteur om die voorgeskrewe beredderingsproses uit te voer. In alle ander gevalle word ‘n Eksekuteur  deur die Meester aangestel en word ‘n Eksekuteursbrief aan die benoemde Eksekuteur uitgereik.

Sodra die Eksekuteursbrief uitgereik word, neem die amptelike beredderingsproses, wat die Eksekuteur moet volg, ‘n aanvang. Een van die Eksekuteur se eerste pligte is om aan krediteure te adverteer, besonderhede van boedelbates te verkry, dit te laat waardeer indien nodig en sekere bates in te vorder. Bekende en ingediende laste moet ondersoek word en daar moet onder andere aandag gegee word aan inkomstebelasting.

Die Eksekuteur is dan verplig om binne ses maande na die datum van die uitreiking van die Eksekuteursbrief ‘n likwidasie- en distribusierekening (staat van bates en laste) by die Meester in te dien, of formele uitstel te vra. Hierdie boedelrekening dui alle bates en laste, verdeling van erfgename en besonderhede van bates buite die boedel, wat direk aan begunstigdes betaalbaar is, aan.

Die Meester gaan die boedelrekening na en reik daarna ‘n vraelys aan die Eksekuteur uit. Sodra die Meester goedkeuring verleen het, kan die Eksekuteur voortgaan om die rekening te adverteer om vir 21 dae ter insae te lê by die Meester en die naaste Landdroskantoor.

Indien skriftelike besware ingedien word, moet daarmee gehandel word soos voorgeskryf in die Boedelwet. Indien daar geen besware is nie, of na die afhandeling van enige besware, kan die Eksekuteur voortgaan om erfgename uit te betaal, asook ander bates aan die erfgename oor te dra.

In die meeste gevalle behoort die beredderingsproses nie ingewikkeld te wees nie en kan dit binne ‘n redelike tydperk (ongeveer 6 tot 9 maande) afgehandel word. Daar is egter baie struikelblokke wat hierdie proses ongelukkig maande lank kan vertraag en in sommige gevalle die hele proses van bereddering feitlik tot stilstand kan bring.

Van die bekendste en algemeenste struikelblokke is swak diens van staats- en privaatinstellings, foutiewe en onpraktiese testamente, kontanttekorte, twis en onenigheid onder familie en erfgename, gebrek aan inligting, wanorde van die oorledene se belasting- en ander sake, regsgedinge voor en na afsterwe, en geregtelike nadoodse ondersoeke in geval van onnatuurlike sterfgevalle, wat in sommige gevalle benodig word vir die uitbetaling van polisse.

Dit is dus duidelik dat die administrasie van ‘n boedel ‘n gespesialiseerde omgewing is wat deur kundige persone met goeie kennis van die Boedelwet en jare se ondervinding hanteer behoort te word. Onkunde met hoe die proses behoort te verloop asook oordeelsfoute gedurende die beredderingsproses kan u duur te staan kom indien u nie van die beskikbare kundigheid gebruik maak nie.

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.

What happens to my bank accounts when I die?

A1In previous articles we suggested that the best way to ensure that your assets are distributed as you want them to be distributed, is to draw up and maintain a will. Should you die without a valid will, your assets will be distributed in terms of the Intestate Succession Act . This may result in unpractical distribution of assets and may lead to someone inheriting whom you did not want to inherit.

In your will you have the choice to determine what should be done with your assets. You should also appoint an Executor who will distribute your assets and manage the administrative tasks in order to fulfil the stipulations of the will and finalise the administering of your will.

As mentioned in previous articles, the death must first be reported to the Master of the High Court and the original will (or the lack of relevant required documentation) must be sent to him. The Master will then formally appoint the Executor by sending him an Executor’s letter and allocating a unique estate number to the estate. This estate number wil then be used in all future correspondence with and enquiries from the Master’s Office.

What happens to my bank accounts?

The Administration of Estates Act determines that all bank accounts in the name of the deceased should be frozen and closed eventually, therefore it is extremely important that you make provision for your loved ones, so that they will have cash in hand when you pass away. Usually the accounts are frozen immediately after word of the passing has been received, so money can still be deposited, but no withdrawals will be allowed. As soon as the Executor has been appointed he/she should open a new bank account in the name of “Estate Late XYZ” according to the stipulations of the Administration of Estates Act. This is because you leave your assets to what forms your “estate”. A new bank account will be opened by the Executor and all monies of the deceased in any other bank accounts (as well as his/her spouse in the case of a marriage in community of property) will be transferred to the new bank account in the name of the estate. All estate funds will then be administrated in the estate’s bank account by the Executor until the Liquidation account (statement of assets and liabilities) is approved by the Master and has been open for inspection and remained unchallenged. The Executor will then be in a position to proceed with the distribution of estate assets and finalising of the administration of the estate.

Support to the next of kin

It may, however, take anything from 3 weeks to 3 months or longer for the Master of the High Court to formally appoint  the Executor. The fact that the Administration of Estates Act requires that all bank accounts be frozen as soon as possible after date of death may result in the next of kin or other financially dependent parties not being able to access the funds of the deceased while awaiting the appointment of the Executor. In case of a marriage in community of property the bank accounts in the name of the surviving spouse will also be frozen and closed, according to the stipulations of the Administration of Estates Act, which may have dramatic consequences. Once the Executor has been appointed, he/she may start administering the estate assets, and only then will he/she be in a position to consider interim advances against inheritance. We therefore urge you to make provision for the time following your passing, so that your next of kin have money available for their immediate needs.

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.

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.