So you were able to sign, scan & email your Sale Agreement back and forth from your laptop on your pool lounger in the south of France when negotiating the sale of your property but now that the deal is done your Conveyancing Attorneys are saying you can’t use the same process for your transfer documents. But why…?
The formalities for a valid Sale Agreement as prescribed by the Alienation of Land Act 68 of 1981 “ALA” are only that the Agreement be in writing and signed by the parties. That’s it! (Except public auctions). Therefore you are able to scan and email from your holiday destination. The only limitation to this is that electronic signatures are still not accepted. The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002, “ECTA” specifically states that electronic signatures do not apply to agreements in terms of the ALA.
However, the Sale Agreement isn’t all that is required to effect a transfer of ownership, as the ownership of land can only be transferred by means of registration of a Deed of Transfer (or an Endorsement) signed by the Registrar of Deeds. This is the conveyancing process, which follows signature of the Sale Agreement.
The registration process is governed by, among others, the Deed Registries Act 47 of 1937 and the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986. Any Power of Attorney required for the transfer will need to be originally signed, and must be lodged at the Deeds Office. Furthermore, if you are outside the borders of South Africa various other requirements for authentication of your signature will be required. These formalities are prescribed in terms of the Uniform Rules of Court Rule 63 or the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961.
Should you have any questions or require any advice on the concluding of your Sale Agreement or transfer documents please feel free to contact us.