THE NEW CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT POSES NEW CHALLENGES FOR ESTATE AGENTS AND PROPERTY SELLERS

To avoid expensive mistakes, anyone who is thinking of buying or owning property needs accurate information regarding the property they are interested in.  They need answers to questions such as:-

  • How long will the roof last before needing replacement or repair?
  • Are there any problems with damp in the walls, roof leaks or storm water run-off?
  • Are there any structural concerns regarding the foundations, walls and roof?
  • Are the visible cracks in the walls serious – does it mean the house will fall down?
  • Are the geyser, plumbing and drainage systems all in order?
  • Is the electrical system adequate and safe?
  • Have all of the improvements on the property been approved by the local authority?
  • Has the building been well maintained?
  • What maintenance and repairs are needed – immediately and within the foreseeable future?

 

The role of the professional property inspector is to provide common sense, factual answers regarding the actual physical condition of the property.  Using his training, extensive knowledge and experience, the property inspector will document all significant observable defects, assess and explain the significance of each defect and, where practical, provide an informed estimate as to the cost of repair.

In South Africa it is a fact that most people still pay more attention to the condition of a second hand motor vehicle than to the condition of a property they are interested in buying.  That’s pretty weird when one considers the amount of money it takes to build, buy or maintain a property in South Africa.

But with the implementation of the new South African Consumer Protection Act (CPA) from April 2011 things will be changing and property sellers and estate agents will now be forced to be more diligent in disclosing the true condition of the property to potential buyers.

The notorious “Voetstoets” (“as-is”) clause, which was routinely built into property sale agreements, is now a thing of the past.   This “Voetstoets” clause provided virtual blanket protection for sellers of defective property and meant that buyers of South African property had little or no protection to property defects only discovered after the property transfer had taken place.   The only exception was if the seller or his agent had deliberately concealed a known defect from the buyer (a “patent defect”) and it was not reasonable to have expected the buyer to have noticed this defect when he viewed the property.

The rules of the property game have now changed because the new CPA places the responsibility on the seller and his agent to make full disclosure to the buyer of the actual condition of the property which is changing hands.  The problem, of course, is that very often the seller and his agent are not aware of what may be serious defects in a property.  This may be because the seller and the agent have not climbed up onto the roof or crawled into the roof cavity.  Sellers and their agents generally also lack the expertise and experience to identify structural problems, damp and so on.  It is for these reasons that the home inspection business in many parts of the world is now a vital part of the property industry.

Contact our offices for more information in this regard.




Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

You must be logged in to post a comment.

testimonials

contact information

Address:

Vdara Sandhurst 41 Rivonia Road,
Sandhurst, 2196,
PO Box 783596,
Sandton, Gauteng,
2146

Tel: +27 11 028 8028

info@comninosattorneys.com







follow us