WHAT IS A CONVEYANCER’S CERTIFICATE AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

WHAT IS A CONVEYANCER’S CERTIFICATE AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

When doing alterations, additions to, or construction on your property, you need to obtain approval from the local authority. Depending on the type of building plan approval required, the municipality may require a Conveyancer’s Certificate for your property. This entails appointing a conveyancer to attend to a pivot deed search at the Deeds Office – the conveyancer will search the historical title deeds for your property to determine whether there are any restrictive title deed conditions prohibiting the proposed renovations. Restrictive title deed conditions can restrict the use of the land, the height of the buildings, the number of buildings on the site, the percentage of land that may be built upon and other such restrictions.

BUT WHY?

Before 1937, it was not standard practice that conditions be carried forward from deed to deed. In the Deeds Registries in the former Cape Province, the so-called pivot deed system existed, which is unique to the Cape Town deeds registry.

In terms of this system, no conditions were carried forward in a title deed. The title deed conditions would simply state:

“Subject to the conditions as contained in Deed of Transfer No … [with reference to the prior title deed]”.

When searching the above pivot deed, these deeds each refer to earlier title deeds. Only since 1937 have title deed conditions been carried forward in each new title deed. Thus, to determine all the possible conditions against and in favour of a property, a skilled conveyancer must conduct proper research in the Deeds Office archives and all previous title deeds must be checked, from the day when the first Government Grant or Crown Grant was issued (which may be as far back as the 1800s) to 1937.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

The conveyancer will generally charge on an hourly rate, depending on the length or complexity of the search. Request a quote before instructing the conveyancer to proceed because the costs vary.

WHAT IF THERE ARE RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS?

Should there be a restrictive title deed condition preventing the approval of your building plan, you would have to submit yet another application to the municipality for the removal of the condition. This application requires advertising, as well as publishing the approval in the Government Gazette. Once the municipality approves the removal, the conveyancer will also have to apply to remove the condition from the title deed at the Deeds Office.

For advice regarding a conveyancer’s certificate or the removal of restrictive title conditions, contact our offices for professional advice.

gillian@erasmuslaw.co.za  |  060 481 6891

Gillian Erasmus
Gillian Erasmus
gillian@erasmuslaw.co.za

Attorney, Notary and Conveyancer LLB, LLM