The Pretoria deeds office closed on Thursday April 6, just before the Easter weekend began. SA’s department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development posted a notice on Wednesday April 5 which left some property owners, estate agents and real estate professionals in shock, and many in dismay as its message suggested it had closed indefinitely, but the office has now confirmed it made a mistake.
The notice was posted in capitals. It was written poorly and not spellchecked.
“PLEASE TAKE NOTICE THAT THE PRETORIA DEEDS OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED INDEFINITELY WITH EFFECT FROM 6TH APRIL 2023 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. ALL ENQUERIES CAN BE DIRECTED TO THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL ADV. AF GWANGA REGISTRAR OF DEEDS,” it read.
The office has now clarified that it closed because it was moving its office. Its previous message was a faux pas.
“Deeds management wish to apologies for the inaccurate communication that went out on the yesterday,” it said in another poorly written message.
“We therefore appeal to our clients to bear with us. Other Deeds office accross the country remain open,” it wrote, in message that was riddled with errors.
The new premises are at the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development at 600 Lilian Ngoyi Street, Berea Park, Pretoria.
The Deeds Office is responsible for registering property transfers and ensures that the transfer of ownership is legal and valid. Without the deeds office, property transactions cannot be completed, and buyers and sellers are left waiting.
As long as the office is closed, property transfers cannot be registered, which in turn means that the transfer of ownership cannot take place. Sellers might not get access to the proceeds from the sale. There may be debts on the property which the seller cannot then clear until the transfer is registered which can result in extra interest costs and fees.
A buyer who has already paid a deposit on a property, won’t necessarily be able to take possession of the property until the transfer is registered. The buyer may be unable to access any funds from their bank or mortgage lender until the transfer is registered, which could result in additional costs.
All ordinary home sellers and buyers can do is be patient and prepare during the delay. They must keep their paperwork in order. They must complete all necessary paperwork and submit it as soon as possible. This includes transfer documents, bond applications and any other legal documents required for each transaction.
Buyers should ensure that they have the necessary funds available to cover the purchase price and any associated costs, such as transfer fees and bond registration fees. Sellers should ensure that they have paid off any outstanding debts on the property and that they have the funds available to cover any outstanding payments.
Buyers and sellers may be able to complete their transactions using a different deeds office.