Imagine this: You’ve recently sold a property, one that you worked hard on to convert into someone else’s dream home. You, the buyer and the agent are all set to finalise the last signature on the last dotted line of the transfer documents when suddenly you realise that you cannot find the original Title Deed.
Up until now this was no reason to panic, since your lawyer could easily apply to for a certified copy of your Title Deed, provided you have a signed affidavit stating that you cannot locate it after a diligent search, and you are able to confirm that the property is not held a security by anyone or pledged to anyone. Easy, and not nearly as time-consuming as one would think. But this is about to change and sellers who may have been lax with the care of their paperwork should take heed!
As of 25 February 2019, the application regulations for a lost title deed will be more time intensive and costly. Let’s break it down below:
- Affidavits will need to be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. While this sounds easy, remember that this now involves making an appointment with a notary as well as setting aside the time and money to do so.
- Thereafter, it should be published in the Government Gazette as a notice to apply. Another time-consuming aspect.
- Lastly, for another two weeks, the application should lie for inspection at the Title Deeds Office in question. This allows any person affected by the application to bring forward any objections. Imagine the legal hassle should that happen, as these changes do not make provision for what will happen should someone object. It will be new ground.
No longer the quick and easy process it once was. This is why it is of vital importance that property owners ensure that they have access to their original Title Deeds and that they are kept in a safe place. Perhaps file them with a lawyer who specialises in property law, and rest easy knowing that you won’t have to spend months and endless sums of money on this errand should you decide to sell your property. We can help you with this, so please contact us.
As for mortgage or bondholders, these new regulations apply equally. So as a property owner still paying a mortgage, ensure that your bank or lender still has your paperwork, because this new regulation is sure to slow down a lot of processes that have been running seamlessly and unchecked for years!
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