Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fixtures and fittings

A1blMany transfer attorneys have heard the question from a seller: “May I remove the stove or the curtain rails or the shelves or the..?”

The most common dispute that arises between a seller and a purchaser is a dispute as to what is regarded as fixtures and  fittings. The simple answer is that this would be what the seller and purchaser agreed on in the offer to purchase, as the law leaves it to the seller and purchaser to make their own arrangements.

Usually the offer to purchase only states that the sale is “voetstoots and includes all improvements and all fixtures and fittings of a permanent nature”. It could also be that the offer to purchase does not refer to fixtures and fittings at all. If this is the case there are three factors that have to be  considered to determine whether a movable item is a fixture or a fitting.

1. The nature and the purpose of the item

The item should be of a permanent nature and intended to always serve the immovable property. In other words it must be attached to the land or the structure erected on the land. Examples of this are a carport, steel security gates welded to door frames, and an irrigation system. 

2. The manner and the degree of attachment

The question is whether the item loses its own identity and becomes an integral part of the immovable property or if the attachment is so secure that separation would involve substantial damage to either the immovable property or to the item itself. One must also take into account the method, time and costs involved in removing the item and whether the item could be used elsewhere. 

3. The intention of the owner

One should look at the intention of the owner at the time when the attachment was made.

It is therefore important to address this issue in the offer to purchase and draft a comprehensive list of what is included in the sale. This could save both parties a lot of time and frustration.

The following is a list of items that are usually considered to be permanent fixtures:

Built-in extractor fans; built-in kitchen cupboards; fitted bookshelves; fitted curtain rails; wall mirrors; stoves; existing garden, trees, shrubs, plants; pool filter, pool pump and pool cleaning equipment; fitted carpets; light fittings; towel racks; tap fittings; tennis court net; fireplace; awnings; post box;  alarm system; television aerial (but not satellite dishes) and door keys.

Some estate agents have amended their fixtures and fittings clause since the CPA came into operation, to read as follows: “The property is sold with all fixtures and fittings, including the following… which shall be in good working order on date of transfer.” The words “in good working order” are a very subjective assessment and opens the door to debate. The effect hereof is that the seller will be seen to have promised that all the fixtures and fittings will be in good working order, and to a large extent it will be eroding the protection of the voetstoots clause. Sellers should therefore take caution when signing the fixtures and fittings clause.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Aanhegtings en toebehore

A1blBaie oordragprokureurs het al hierdie vraag van ‘n verkoper gehoor: “Kan ek die stoof of die gordynrelings of die rakke of die… verwyder?”

Die mees algemene dispuut wat ​​tussen ‘n verkoper en ‘n koper ontstaan, gaan oor die vraag wat as aanhegtings en wat as toebehore beskou word. Die eenvoudige antwoord sou wees dat dit is waarop die verkoper en die koper in die aanbod om te koop, ooreengekom het. Die reg laat dit aan die verkoper en die koper oor om hul eie reëlings hieroor te tref.

Gewoonlik sal die volgende klousule in die aanbod om te koop, voorkom: die koop is “voetstoots en sluit alle aanhegtings en toebehore van ‘n permanente aard in”. Dit kan ook wees dat die aanbod om te koop glad nie verwys na aanhegtings en toebehore nie. As dit die geval is, is daar drie faktore wat oorweeg moet word om te bepaal of ‘n roerende item beskou word as ‘n aanhegting of ‘n toebehoorsel.

1. Die aard en die doel van die item

Die item moet van ‘n permanente aard wees en die bedoeling moet wees om die onroerende eiendom te dien. Met ander woorde dit moet aangeheg wees aan die grond of die struktuur wat op die grond opgerig is. Voorbeelde hiervan is ‘n motorafdak, staalveiligheidshekke wat aan deurrame vasgesweis is, en ‘n besproeiingstelsel.

2. Die wyse en die mate van aanhegting

Dit gaan hier oor die manier waarop die item met die grond of gebou verbind is. Die vraag is of die item sy eie identiteit verloor en ‘n integrale deel van die onroerende eiendom word en of  verwydering daarvan aansienlike skade aan die onroerende eiendom of aan die aanhegting self sou veroorsaak. ‘n Mens moet ook die metode, tyd en koste verbonde aan die verwydering van die item in ag neem en die vraag vra of die item elders gebruik kan word.

3. Die bedoeling van die eienaar

Daar moet gekyk word na die bedoeling van die eienaar toe die aanhegting gemaak is.

Dit is daarom belangrik om hierdie kwessie aan te roer in die koop-aanbod en ‘n volledige lys te maak van wat ingesluit word in die verkoop. Dit kan albei partye baie tyd en frustrasie spaar.

Hiermee ‘n lys van items wat gewoonlik beskou word as permanent van aard:

Ingeboude suigwaaiers; ingeboude kombuiskaste; ingeboude boekrakke; gordynrelings; muurspieëls; stowe; die bestaande tuin, bome, struike, plante; swembadfilter, -pomp en    -skoonmaaktoerusting; volvloermatte; ligte en ligskerms; handdoekrelings; krane; tennisbaannet; kaggel; sonskerms; posbus; alarmstelsel; televisie-antenna (maar nie satellietskottels nie) en sleutels van alle deure.

Sedert die inwerkingtreding van die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming het sommige eiendoms-agente die aanhegtings- en toebehoreklousule gewysig om soos volg te lees: “Die eiendom word verkoop met alle aanhegtings en toebehore wat die volgende insluit… welke items in ‘n goeie werkende toestand sal wees op datum van transport”.  Die woorde “goeie werkende toestand” is ‘n baie subjektiewe waardebepaling en laat veel ruimte vir debat. Die sienswyse kan dus gehuldig word dat die verkoper bevestig dat alle aanhegtings en toebehore in ‘n goeie werkende toestand is, wat die beskerming van die voetstootsklousule in ‘n groot mate  sou verwater. Derhalwe moet verkopers die klousule wat handel oor aanhegtings en toebehore deeglik bestudeer voordat hulle dit onderteken.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Co-ownership of land

A2blThe word “co-ownership” in relation to land means that two or more persons own land simultaneously in undivided shares. A share in land does not represent, and may not be held to represent a defined portion of land.

A co-owner who holds a share in land does not hold title to a defined piece of land even if by arrangement with his co-owners they might have agreed to give him occupation of a specific portion of land.

The title he has is to an undivided share only, in the whole of the land, held in joint ownership. The portion he occupies is owned jointly by him and his co-owners in the whole thereof. If he should build a house on the portion he occupies, the house will be owned jointly.

When X, Y and Z are co-owners of a farm, they are not each entitled to a physical part of the farm but each of them has an undivided share in the whole of the farm. The shares will not always be equal. One person can have half a share while the other two can each have a twenty five percent share. However, co-ownership unfortunately often leads to disputes among the owners. 

Co-operation between the co-owners

It is advisable that co-owners enter into an agreement which regulates the relationship between them. Unfortunately this agreement will have no bearing against third parties. The consent of all the co-owners is required when administrative decisions have to be made. No owner is entitled to change or improve the property without the consent of the other owners. All the owners have to agree to the use of the property, e.g. they have to agree to the chopping down of trees, the erection of a storage facility/building, or to let cattle graze in the field. If co-owners are not consulted they may request an interdict from the court. The court may even order that buildings that have been erected, be removed. However, in instances where the aim is to preserve the property, it is not always necessary to obtain the consent of the co-owners. 

The profits and losses

All the co-owners must contribute proportionally to necessary and also useful expenses for the preservation of the property. Such expenses include taxes and expenses to maintain the property in good condition, but do not include luxury expenses. Losses and charges must be shared by the co-owners, except those attributable to negligence of one of the owners. As with expenses, fruits and profits must be divided amongst the co-owners according to each owner’s shareholding. 

Alienation of a share

A co-owner may alienate his share or even bequeath it to his heirs, without the consent of the other owners, even against their will. A co-owner’s share may also be attached by the sheriff. 

Use of the property

Each co-owner may use the property in accordance with his undivided share. He must, however, use it with due regard to the rights of the other co-owners. Each co-owner, his employees and guests are entitled to free entry to any part of the property, except if the co-owners have agreed that a portion of the property is reserved for the exclusive use of one co-owner. 

Partition

Co-owners may decide to partition the property, usually if they cannot agree on the utilisation of the property. The property will then be divided physically in accordance with the value of the property and each owner’s share in it. When this is uneconomic, which is usually the case with a farm, the property can be awarded to one co-owner, but he must then compensate the other co-owners. The court may also order that the property be sold by public auction and the proceeds divided amongst the co-owners. There is strict statutory control over the subdivision of land and also the actual physical division and use of land, so that partition may not always be possible.

Co-ownership is an excellent vehicle to becoming an owner of a property that one otherwise might not be able to afford. However, be aware of the pitfalls, choose your co-owners wisely, and draw up an agreement to regulate payment of the bond and rates, the day-to-day expenses and house rules.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Mede-eienaarskap van grond

A2blDie woord “mede-eienaarskap” met betrekking tot grond beteken dat twee of meer persone ‘n stuk grond gelyktydig in onverdeelde aandele besit. ‘n Aandeel in die grond beteken nie dat  ‘n bepaalde gedeelte van die grond besit word nie.

‘n Mede-eienaar wat ‘n aandeel in grond hou, kan nie aanspraak maak op ‘n bepaalde stuk grond nie, selfs al het sy mede-eienaars by wyse van ‘n ooreenkoms ingestem om okkupasie of gebruik van ‘n bepaalde stuk grond aan hom te gee.

Die reg wat hy het, is op ‘n onverdeelde aandeel in die geheel van die grond wat in gesamentlike eienaarskap gehou word. Die gedeelte wat hy okkupeer, word gesamentlik besit deur hom en sy mede-eienaars in die grond. Indien hy ‘n huis bou op die gedeelte wat hy okkupeer, sal die huis gesamentlik besit word deur al die eienaars.

Wanneer X, Y en Z  mede-eienaars van ‘n plaas is, is hulle nie geregtig op ‘n fisiese deel van die plaas nie, maar elkeen van hulle het ‘n onverdeelde aandeel in die geheel van die plaas. Die aandeelhouding sal nie noodwendig altyd gelyk wees nie. Een persoon kan ‘n halwe aandeelhouding besit, terwyl die ander twee eienaars elk ‘n vyf en twintig persent aandeel kan hou. Mede-eienaarskap kan ongelukkig soms tot geskille tussen die eienaars lei.

Samewerking tussen die mede-eienaars

Dit is raadsaam dat die mede-eienaars ‘n ooreenkoms aangaan wat die verhouding tussen hulle reguleer. Ongelukkig is hierdie ooreenkoms nie afdwingbaar teenoor derde partye nie. Die toestemming van al die mede-eienaars word vereis wanneer administratiewe besluite geneem moet word. Geen eienaar is geregtig om veranderings of verbeterings op die eiendom aan te bring sonder die toestemming van die ander eienaars nie. Al die eienaars moet saamstem oor die gebruik van die eiendom, byvoorbeeld indien hulle bome wil afkap, ’n stoorfasiliteit of -gebou wil oprig of beeste in die veld wil laat wei. As mede-eienaars nie in besluite geraadpleeg word nie kan hulle die hof nader om ‘n interdik toe te staan. Die hof kan selfs gelas dat geboue wat opgerig is, verwyder word. In gevalle waar die doel is om die eiendom te bewaar, is dit egter nie altyd nodig om die toestemming van die mede-eienaars te verkry nie.

Die winste en verliese

Al die mede-eienaars moet proporsioneel bydra tot noodsaaklike en ook nuttige uitgawes vir die bewaring van die eiendom. Dié uitgawes sluit in belasting en uitgawes om die eiendom in ‘n goeie toestand te hou, maar sluit nie luukse uitgawes in nie. Verliese en koste moet deur die mede-eienaars gedeel word, behalwe waar dit toegeskryf kan word aan nalatigheid van een van die eienaars. Soos met uitgawes, moet vrugte en winste verdeel word onder die mede-eienaars volgens elke eienaar se aandeelhouding. 

Vervreemding van ‘n aandeel

‘n Mede-eienaar kan sy aandeel vervreem of selfs aan sy erfgename bemaak, sonder die toestemming van die ander eienaars, selfs teen hulle wil. Die balju kan ook beslag lê op ‘n mede-eienaar se aandeel. 

Gebruik van die eiendom

Elke mede-eienaar kan die eiendom  gebruik in ooreenstemming met sy onverdeelde aandeel. Hy moet dit egter gebruik met inagneming van die regte van die ander mede-eienaars. Elke mede-eienaar, sy werknemers en gaste, is geregtig op vrye toegang tot enige deel van die eiendom, behalwe as die mede-eienaars ooreengekom het dat ‘n gedeelte van die eiendom vir die uitsluitlike gebruik van ‘n mede-eienaar gereserveer word. 

Fisiese verdeling

Mede-eienaars kan besluit om die eiendom te verdeel, wat gewoonlik gebeur as hulle nie oor die benutting van die eiendom kan saamstem nie. Die eiendom sal dan fisies verdeel word in ooreenstemming met die waarde van die eiendom en elke mede-eienaar se aandeel daarin. Wanneer dit egter nie ekonomies is nie, wat gewoonlik die geval is met ‘n plaas, kan die eiendom toegeken word aan ‘n mede-eienaar, maar hy moet dan die ander mede-eienaars vergoed. Die hof kan ook beveel dat die eiendom op ‘n openbare veiling verkoop word en die opbrengs onder die mede-eienaars verdeel word. Daar is streng statutêre beheer oor die onderverdeling van grond en die gebruik daarvan, wat die onderverdeling nie altyd moontlik maak nie.

Mede-eienaarskap is een van die maniere hoe mens eienaar kan word van ‘n eiendom wat andersins nie bekostig kan word nie. Wees egter bewus van die slaggate, kies jou mede-eienaars oordeelkundig en stel ‘n ooreenkoms op om die onderlinge verhouding tussen die partye te reël ten opsigte van onder andere die betaling van die verband en erfbelasting, die dag-tot-dag uitgawes, asook die huisreëls.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.