What you need to know if you can’t find your title deed

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– by Natasha Davidtz

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform issued Regulations bringing about an amendment to Regulation 68 of the Deeds Registries Act, 47 of 1937 (namely, the application for a duplicate copy of the original title deed, mortgage bond or notarial bond) which came into effect on 1 January 2020.

In terms of these Regulations, the Deeds Office now requires the advertising of such an application.  It appears as though the idea behind the return of the requirement of advertising for a lost copy of a deed was as a result of fraudulent transfers that were taking place across the country.

In terms of these Regulations, it is a requirement for a notice of intention to apply for such a certified copy of the title deed to be advertised in a local newspaper in the area in which the land is situated.  Copies of the deed together with a copy of the Application signed by the registered owner is to lie open for inspection at the Deeds Office for a period of 2 weeks from the date of publication of the notice.  This allows any interested person an opportunity to object to the application.

Not only has this new process resulted in great frustration to the parties involved due to the unnecessary delay it causes and the needless additional cost to the registered owner for the placement of the advertisement, but it has also amounted to the rise of blame for Conveyancers being accused of not delivering the title deed.

When a property is bonded, on delivery of the title deed from the Deeds Office, the title deed and mortgage bond are returned to the Bank for safekeeping in their vaults.  When a property is purchased cash, the title deed is returned to the registered owner.  There is a great burden on attorneys to keep accurate records of how title deeds are returned to clients together with proof of delivery.

It is therefore vital that owners be aware of how valuable their title deed is and the importance of storing it safely.  An option for storing would be to ask your attorney to keep your title deed together with your Will in their securities for safe keeping until the property is dealt with again.

Contact us if you are concerned that you have lost your original title deed or if you prefer us to safely store your title deed in our securities.

Address : 22B Church street, Durbanville

Phone     : +27(0)21 824 2020

E-mail     :  info@smutsco.co.za

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. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)