Title deeds, the Deeds Office and the Deeds Registry

Private Property South Africa
Property Power

Find out what a title deed is, who the Deeds Office are and what the Deeds Registry does.

What is a Title Deed?

The owner of Immovable Property is the person in whose name the property is registered in terms of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1973. A Title Deed is the owner of immovable property's documentary proof of ownership. Each privately owned property has its own separate Title Deed, which is an important document containing all the details pertaining to a specific piece of land.

These details are:

  • The names of the existing owner as well as the previous owner.
  • A full description of the property, including its measured size.
  • The purchase price of the property paid by the existing owner.
  • All conditions restricting the use or the sale of the property.

All limited real rights registered in respect of the property and what their nature is - These details not only restrict an owner, but they also affect the value of the property. In certain instances they protect the owner where, for example, you may not build over a certain building line on your property's boundary wall, so as to create space between neighbours. Another example is that the property in front of yours may not block your ocean view with buildings higher than 2 storeys.

The owner of immovable property will normally have the Title Deed of his property in his possession, usually in the form of a Deed of Transfer, if the property is fully paid for. However, the Deed of Transfer may be in the possession of the bank, which holds a Mortgage Bond over the property.

What are The Deeds Office and The Deeds Registry?

There are numerous Deeds Offices throughout South Africa. Each Deeds Office holds a Deeds Registry, containing filed Title Deeds of all the properties in its particular jurisdiction. All the Deeds Registries are linked to a computer network. Your estate agent can, via a computer-linked facility from his office, examine any Title Deed (registered from 1980) in the country's combined Deeds Registry.

This article originally appeared in Property Power 11th Edition Magazine. To order your copy at the discounted price of R120 click here.

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