Gert is a specialist Conveyancer based at our Illovo office. He worked at the Pretoria Deeds Office from 1985 until 1989 and after becoming a Senior Examiner left to qualify as an Attorney and Conveyancer in 1992. As manager of our Gauteng Development Law Unit Gert focuses on the establishment of townships and all the conveyancing work required to initiate and complete developments, whether it may be an upmarket sectional title, cluster or housing development. He enjoys finding practical solutions to complicated conveyancing problems. Gert serves on the committee of the South African Affordable Residential Developers Association (SAARDA), a body representing the interests of developers and other stakeholders in the affordable housing development sector which necessitates regular collaboration with government and municipal officials.

Thoughts on Township establishment

FORMALISING A TOWNSHIP: WHAT IF THE TRANSFER OF LAND GOES WRONG AT THE DEEDS OFFICE?

 

The challenge to get a township formalized.

The process to convert a piece of land into stands, parks and streets as depicted on a General Plan by opening the township register and getting the township proclaimed as an approved township is crucial in unlocking the value which the developer added to this land by getting the township approved by the municipality.

The challenges faced, or one should rather say trials endured, by the town planners, environmentalists, land surveyors, engineers, project managers and conveyancers while fulfilling their professional responsibilities to get such township formalized so that the stands in the township can be legally transferred does not make easy reading for sensitive souls, and will be discussed at a later stage.

What happens when a deed is rejected for the wrong reason?

The transfer of the stands in the township and payment of the stand price are the rewards for the developer for persevering with the township establishment where lesser mortals would have wavered. The sensible expectation that the transfer of the stands in the township is deemed to be a mere formality is often defeated by the cruel realities of life. One of these realities is when a deed of transfer is rejected for the wrong reason and the examiner at the Deeds Office refuses to concede on a mistaken interpretation of the law.

The consequences of the incorrect rejection of a transfer.

The consequences of such erroneously rejected deed or deeds on a developer’s cash flow, especially in the affordable housing market where the lodgement date of the deed of transfer for a turnkey house is determined by the handover and occupation date, which again is linked to the date the purchaser takes transfer of his newly constructed house, can be disastrous.

That is apart from the fact that the purchaser as end-user must deal with the fact that he can no longer take occupation on the anticipated date which causes last-minute inconvenience and forces expensive alternative measures for the developer to be taken like security costs for the empty completed house and for the purchaser alternative accommodation pending hand over, occupation and transfer.

What if the examiner refuses to remove an incorrect note?

A decent measure of goodwill exists between conveyancers and the examiners and other officials at the Deeds Office because of having to work so closely and regularly together. This is a relationship which is further enhanced by the mutual respect for and trust in the technical expertise of the respective parties, and the preparedness of the examiners and officials to interact with the conveyancers when their notes are questioned.

However, occasionally, when a deed is rejected for the wrong reason and the examiner refuses to concede on a mistaken interpretation of the law this valued relationship is put to the test.

The way to approach this challenge is discussed in detail in the following two articles:

THE CONVEYANCER’S OPTIONS WHEN THE DEEDS OFFICE REJECTS DEEDS FOR THE WRONG REASON: PART 1

THE CONVEYANCER’S OPTIONS WHEN THE DEEDS OFFICE REJECTS DEEDS FOR THE WRONG REASON: PART 2

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