The digital revolution comes to the property transfer process
An act recently signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to bring a sigh of relief to both estate agents and those buying and selling property. It is designed to reduce waiting times involved with processing of documents at the Deeds Office - and it is going to do so by going digital. The Electronic Deeds Registration System Act paves the way for the development of an Electronic Deeds Registration System, or e-DRS. As the name implies, this system makes it possible to prepare, process and lodge deeds and other documents electronically. This development will bring the benefits of the digital revolution to the forefront of the property industry.
This development is in response to the ever-growing needs of real estate agencies and property buyers and sellers. Its primary aim is to streamline and secure transactions related to fixed assets. The new process enables effective registering of large volumes of deeds, which will lead to vastly improved turnaround times for both estate agencies and their clients. In addition to this, deeds registration services will be available countrywide. In other words, as stated in a press release recently issued by the Office of the Presidency, this new act will enable South Africans to take advantage of the benefits offered by internet access, e-commerce and computerisation in managing and securing property titles.
The passing of this Act leads to the establishment of a Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA). This will go a long way towards protecting property buyers and renters from unscrupulous companies by putting certain benchmarks in place. In due course, a board will be appointed to manage this regulatory authority.
The development of this electronic deeds registration system can be seen not only as a revolutionary development in the government sphere, but as a ground-breaking development for those interested in investing in property. With an ever-increasing number of real estate buyers turning to the internet to do their research and find their home, the ability to lodge deeds digitally is the next logical step in the evolution of South Africa's property market.
In addition to the Electronic Deeds Registration System Act, there are two other pieces of property-related legislation that have been recently passed that you need to know about. The first of these is the new Property Practitioner's Act, which, amongst other things, makes it mandatory for a complete report of all property defects to be provided as part of every property sale and rental agreement. This provides an extra level of invaluable protection for those looking for a new home. In addition, the Act provides a new and broader definition of who is considered a property practitioner - including home inspectors, homeowners' associations and property developers amongst others. This means that all these individuals and organisations are required to abide by certain rules.
Some key changes have been brought about by the long-awaited passing of the Rental Housing Amendment Act. In a nutshell, all lease agreements are now required to be in writing, and all provisions in the agreement need to be clearly understood by the tenant. Landlords are obliged to make sure that the property they are renting out is properly maintained and safe, and that water and electricity are connected. This legislation goes a long way towards protecting tenants, as a landlord may not change the locks or refuse a non-paying tenant access to the property until a court order has been acquired.
In order to protect both landlords and tenants, the new act also states that both parties must inspect the property at the start of the lease in order to agree on any defects which need to be fixed by the landlord prior to the tenant moving in.
Another interesting development pertains to the deposits paid by tenants. These funds are required to be invested in an interest-bearing account and, provided that no damage is done to the property during the tenant's stay, the deposit, together with the interest accrued, needs to be paid back to the tenant at the end of his or her occupancy.
The legislative landscape in which the property market operates has undergone significant changes. To find out more about any of these new pieces of legislation, contact the industry experts at Jawitz Properties. They make it their business to stay on the cutting edge of their industry, and they are always happy to help.
Author: Jawitz Website