While the Deeds Office has been included in the essential services able to operate under level 4 lockdown regulations announced on 1 May, - its partial opening has been delayed due to protocols that need to be put in place related to hygiene, limited staff, access control and cleaning.

The Chief Registrar of the deed Carlize Knoesen has confirmed to the Law Society of South Africa that Deeds Offices across the country will only open on Wednesday 13 May.

Tony Pillay, Acting Executive Director of the Law Society of South Africa says it will "only be open for conveyancers and not the general public under Lockdown Alert Level 4 restrictions".

Pillay outlined the conditions for the partial opening saying, "All Registrars of Deeds and Chief Directors will work remotely. The office of the Chief Registrar of Deeds will work remotely, expect for ICT and Corporate Support Services that will work from the office when there is a need to do work on the system. All workflow processes must continue uniformly in all offices as per SOPs,"

Add to this, "provision of Information to the public will either be through DeedsWeb or via emails".

"Notices regarding issuing of copies of deeds in the place of lost deeds that lay open for inspection by the public in deeds offices: OCRD is looking into issuing a CRC that it will be loaded on the DeedsWeb and that objections/comments/concerns can be sent via email while we are working under L4."

No indication of turnaround times have been given, with delays anticipated


"Once the Deeds Office has re-opened we anticipate that the matters which were lodged in the deeds office will be dealt with first and allowed to register. We also anticipate that lodgements of new transfers will follow in due course," says Nicholas Hayes of Abrahams and Gross Attorneys.

"Suffice to say that you should anticipate delays given that there will be a skeleton staff operating and a large number of lodgements are anticipated. All parties (sellers/buyers) should make appropriate arrangements via the conveyancing attorneys or estate agents and enter into addendums to their deeds of sale to extend their transfer dates should occupation be a requirement of the transfer.

"Similarly where purchasers are currently renting properties pending transfer, they should make arrangements to extend their leases up until such time as they are able to move into their houses," advises Hayes.

Courtesy of Property24
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