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Title deed as proof of property ownership

Thursday, September 7, 2017
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The title deed of a property serves as proof that you are the rightful owner of the property.

A title deed does not only define proof of ownership, but also states the details of a property, conditions and purchase price. When an owner wants to sell their property an original title deed is required when registering the property in the buyer’s name in the deeds office.

In order to get a title deed transferred onto your name you will need the assistance of a lawyer specialising in property transfers (also known as a conveyancer) and you will only become the owner of the property once the Registrar of Deeds signs and endorses the deed.

After this has been signed, a copy of the title deed is then kept at the Deeds Office closest to you and the original would be sent to the Conveyancers. Should the property be bonded, the Conveyancers will forward the original to the bank as security, or alternatively to the new owner if the property is not bonded.

The process of having a home’s title deed transferred to your name happens in the following way:

  • The transfer attorney (appointed by the seller) prepares all the documents needed for registering the property transfer.

  • After the bond documentation for the buyer has been prepared and the seller’s bond has been cancelled all the necessary information including the clearances from local Authorities, Bodies corporate and SARS, will be lodged at the deeds office.

  • The Deeds Office will take 2-3 weeks to verify all submitted documents depending on the various circumstances and once complete, will notify all the attorneys. The final step of registration will take place on the same day.

  • On the day of registration, the Bank pays out the amount needed for the home loan and the Buyer officially becomes the owner of the property. This entire registration process typically takes between two to three months to complete.

To obtain a copy of a deed or document from a deeds registry, you must:

  • Go to any deeds office (deeds registries may not give out information acting on a letter or a telephone call).

  • Go to the information desk, where an official will help you complete a prescribed form and explain the procedure.

  • Request a data typist to do a search on the property, pay the required fee at the cashier's office and take the receipt back to the official at the information desk.

  • A search may take 30 to 60 minutes. In some of the larger offices, the copy of a deed is posted or it must be collected after a certain period of time.

Alternatively, you can contact a Conveyancer in your area to assist you with the process.

There are 10 Deeds Offices in South Africa, covering various regions and a main head office in Pretoria.