Home South African People buying property as lockdown kicked in risk having bonds revoked

People buying property as lockdown kicked in risk having bonds revoked

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With the closure of the deeds office, no transfers could be registered and many people have been left in limbo as the property transfer process has been halted.

Cape Town – People who were in the middle of buying property as the lockdown came into effect are in danger of their approved bonds being revoked, as lawyers begin to feel the pinch of the effects of the pandemic.

Specialist law and property practitioner Laila Conlon said: “All conveyancing services have ceased completely.

With the closure of the deeds office, no transfers could be registered and many people have been left in limbo as the property transfer process has been halted.

“Furthermore, a possible consequence to this is that financial institutions might revoke the bond initially granted in the event that a buyers’ financial position has changed, as banks are permitted to revoke bonds up and until the registrar approves the bond – in other words it can be withdrawn within five minutes of being registered,” said Conlon.

This comes as a nationwide survey of 359 lawyers revealed that 58.2% of participants lost more than 60% of their income last month due to the lockdown.

The most affected areas of the law were the civil courts, followed by conveyancing, family law matters, and deceased estates.

The survey conducted by the Goldfields Attorneys Association found only 35.7% of firms could pay full salaries of all employees; and 85.2% of attorneys and advocates reported that the lockdown regulations had severely affected access to legal services by the public (legal services were hardly accessible); while 13.4% reported moderate impact on access to legal services.

Managing Director at Gillan & Veldhuizen Inc, Peter-John Veldhuizen said:  “The Courts have been very strict on what matters they have been prepared to entertain.”

“Without being able to issue new processes out of the courts and without sheriffs being able to serve documents – all new matters are piling up and awaiting re-opening. That said, we have through the use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams conducted many consultations and provided advice to clients in respect of their rights and obligations under lockdown and general commercial legal advice.”

CEO and founder of Quickwill – a legal technology business Stella Pickard said: “Covid-19 has highlighted the role that technology can play in improving access to justice for ordinary South Africans.

Director of Coenraad Kukkuk Attorneys Inc., Coenie Kukkuk said: “The national lockdown and containment effort has reshaped the way we work, but we are open for business. In these trying times, now, perhaps more than before, Legal Advice will become invaluable and we are here as always, doing the work, but online.”

@MwangiGithahu

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Cape Argus