Always look under the rug

While a property seller is legally required to disclose any known defects of the property, what can a buyer expect when it comes to unusual characteristics, quirks or abnormal qualities?

The ins and outs of subject to bond approval clauses

Under South African law, over and above the obligation to disclose all known defects of a property, the seller is required to inform potential buyers of any abnormal qualities of the property he or she is selling. For example, if part of a wooden floor was replaced with a concrete slab. This is not necessarily a defect, however, it is an unusual feature which a buyer could not be presumed to know about if this area was covered by a rug.

The non-disclosure of any unusual or abnormal qualities of the property would have the effect of placing the seller and buyer on unequal terms as the buyer may make an offer which he or she would not have made if the relevant quality of the property had been known.

The defects disclosure document

An estate agent will typically provide the seller with a defects disclosure document for completion. On this document that is then provided to the prospective buyer, the seller will outline all known defects of the property.

In addition to all defects, the seller is also required to list any unusual or abnormal qualities of the property. This may include the scenario mentioned above, or for example, should the property (or part of the property) have been listed as a national monument. This is an important aspect for a buyer to know as this will affect the future use or renovation allowed.

Buyer’s acceptance of the property condition

Once a full defects disclosure document has been provided, should the potential buyer decide to make an offer to purchase, it would be best practice to have the potential buyer acknowledge the full list of defects and unusual or abnormal qualities by signing the document and attaching this as an annexure to the offer to purchase. This ensures there is no uncertainty as to the understanding by both parties regarding the condition of the property being purchased.

Undisclosed defects or unusual qualities

If a buyer discovers any unusual or abnormal qualities of the property and it is apparent that the seller knew of these and did not disclose them, the buyer will have legal recourse. In such a case, a buyer will be able to litigate the matter which can result in claiming damages or in severe cases, requesting the cancellation of the transfer.Follow Snymans on Facebook for more legal information, tips and news about property.

Recommended for you

My name has changed - what happens to my property’s title deed?
Contractual Matters

Corporate actions and resolutions[post_view before=""]

In South Africa, the business and affairs of a company must be managed by its board of directors. As such, the board is responsible for the daily corporate and commercial affairs of the company.

Read More
Minors and immovable property
Contractual Matters

Defunct Homeowners Associations and Consents to Transfer[post_view before=""]

Title deeds of cluster developments commonly contain a condition which states that alienation or transfer of a property by the owner is not allowed unless consent from the Homeowners Association (HOA) is provided. Usually inserted by the relevant local authority when approving the cluster development, this type of condition also confirms that all subsequent owners of the property automatically become members of the HOA.

Read More
The difference between movable and immovable property
Contractual Matters

The conveyancing process explained[post_view before=""]

The conveyancing process starts with a signed Offer to Purchase and ends with the property being registered in the Deeds Office. But, there are numerous steps that need to be completed in between. Here’s a look at how the process unfolds.

Read More
Property Blog Articles | Advice | Contractual Matters | Market News
Contractual Matters

Your home loan is paid up. What happens next?[post_view before=""]

Often, a bond will be paid up before the owner of the property decides to sell it. Here’s a step-by-step look at what he or she can expect once they reach this impressive milestone.

Read More
Minors and immovable property
Contractual Matters

10 conveyancing terms explained[post_view before=""]

When it comes to buying or selling a property, it helps to have a basic understanding of the many legal terms involved in the conveyancing process. Here’s a look at the 10 you’re likely to encounter most often, starting with conveyancing itself.

Read More

Need more Snymans content?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Always look under the rug

While a property seller is legally required to disclose any known defects of the property, what can a buyer expect when it comes to unusual characteristics, quirks or abnormal qualities?

The ins and outs of subject to bond approval clauses

Under South African law, over and above the obligation to disclose all known defects of a property, the seller is required to inform potential buyers of any abnormal qualities of the property he or she is selling. For example, if part of a wooden floor was replaced with a concrete slab. This is not necessarily a defect, however, it is an unusual feature which a buyer could not be presumed to know about if this area was covered by a rug.

The non-disclosure of any unusual or abnormal qualities of the property would have the effect of placing the seller and buyer on unequal terms as the buyer may make an offer which he or she would not have made if the relevant quality of the property had been known.

The defects disclosure document

An estate agent will typically provide the seller with a defects disclosure document for completion. On this document that is then provided to the prospective buyer, the seller will outline all known defects of the property.

In addition to all defects, the seller is also required to list any unusual or abnormal qualities of the property. This may include the scenario mentioned above, or for example, should the property (or part of the property) have been listed as a national monument. This is an important aspect for a buyer to know as this will affect the future use or renovation allowed.

Buyer’s acceptance of the property condition

Once a full defects disclosure document has been provided, should the potential buyer decide to make an offer to purchase, it would be best practice to have the potential buyer acknowledge the full list of defects and unusual or abnormal qualities by signing the document and attaching this as an annexure to the offer to purchase. This ensures there is no uncertainty as to the understanding by both parties regarding the condition of the property being purchased.

Undisclosed defects or unusual qualities

If a buyer discovers any unusual or abnormal qualities of the property and it is apparent that the seller knew of these and did not disclose them, the buyer will have legal recourse. In such a case, a buyer will be able to litigate the matter which can result in claiming damages or in severe cases, requesting the cancellation of the transfer.Follow Snymans on Facebook for more legal information, tips and news about property.