'Voetstoots’ does not provide sellers with an honesty backdoor

Private Property South Africa

Full disclosure of known defects still essential to facilitate an informed buying decision

You may believe that as a seller of a property, the voetstoots clause in an offer to purchase protects you against having to fully disclose all known defects to a buyer. Likewise, as a buyer, you may think that you have no recourse if you agree to the voetstoots clause and discover latent defects after the sale has gone through. Both scenarios are wrong!

“Voetstoots merely means that as a seller, you are selling the property with the existing problems, so the buyer takes it ‘as is’. There is one very important caveat here – as seller, you still have to fully disclose all known problems with the property in order for the buyer to make an informed decision. A voetstoots clause will not provide any legal protection if you intentionally conceal defects in bad faith and with the purpose of defrauding the buyer,” explains Lee-Ann Dobrescu, Head of Group Business Development at Hollard and co-creator of Hollard’s Home Warranty.

Since the introduction of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), the voetstoots clause has become redundant as the CPA requires sellers and purchasers to be fair and equitable in their contractual interaction. The purchaser must be informed that the property is offered in a certain condition with any specific defects listed, and must expressly accept the property in that condition.

How can you protect yourself?

For the seller, there’s always the pressure of the defects disclosure list and hoping that you have remembered everything, even that niggling problem that you haven’t really fully investigated the extent of. For buyers there is always the point where post-offer anxiety sets in and you worry about what will happen if something does go wrong and you can’t afford to fix it.

“All of this worry and hassle can be easily done away with by taking out a Home Warranty from Hollard. Hollard’s Home Warranty addresses the issues around defects with a professional property inspection that is coupled to an insurance policy. As seller and buyer, you’re both protected against the financial ramifications of any hidden defects that could emerge in the property for two years after the transfer. It also means you don’t have to go through stressful and costly litigation to recoup your losses, or defend any claims, should something untoward be lurking behind a voetstoots clause,” explains Lee-Ann.

The cost of the home warranty is covered by the seller - all you have to do is specify it in your offer to purchase and the premium can be paid from the proceeds of the sale, much like the estate agent’s commission. Premiums are determined on an individual basis, but typically you can expect to pay around R12 000 for a warranty on a R1million home, R17 400 for a R2million home and R27 500 for a R5million home. Contact Hollard directly on 0861 HOME 4U (0861 4663 48) or email hollardhomewarranty@hollard.co.za

Peace of mind comes standard with a home warranty

When it comes to property transactions, a Hollard home warranty is the best solution for making sure the homework is done by experts who know what to look for. It’s a product that should be attached to the ‘for sale’ sign of every well-maintained home for peace of mind and the best possible outcomes for all parties concerned.

To find out more about Hollard’s Home Warranty or get a quote, click here


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