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Monday Sep 16, 2013

Consumer Protection Act "doesn't apply to single property transaction"

One of the questions most frequently put to conveyancing attorneys these days is: how valid is the voetstoots clause in property now that the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) has been promulgated?

'The first point to be grasped,' says Denver Vraagom of Gunston Attorneys, 'is that the Consumer Protection Act does not apply where sellers are involved in one-off selling. That is, (when) property dealing is not their regular occupation.

'This applies even if an estate agent (for whom property dealing is a daily business) helps to achieve the sale.'
Vraagom says prospective buyers of properties should therefore inspect them very thoroughly, possibly employing professionals if required for peace of mind.

'Although sellers are legally obliged never to fraudulently conceal any defects of which they are aware, they cannot be held responsible for latent defects or defects of which they apparently had no knowledge,' Vraagom says.

For property transactions that are not subject to the CPA, the voetstoots clause is still valid and enforceable - in other words, the property is sold as it stands.

'A buyer in this instance won't have any remedy against a seller for any defects discovered in the property unless the buyer can prove that the seller had intentionally defrauded him at the time of the sale,' he says.

'With the introduction of the CPA, it has become common practice for sellers and buyers to draw up defects lists, which confirm known defects and further confirm that the seller is unaware of any latent defects. The defects list offers buyers l imited additional protection,' Vraagom says.

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

    
 

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