I live in Scotland, UK and wish to share a story about my ongoing nightmare property purchase in the Cape Town area.
I would appreciate any feedback or comments and if anyone can advise as to whether I can cancel the purchase of this property and claim expenses, (because last advice of attorney was that I couldn't) would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
21st July – Offer to purchase accepted on 22nd July. Entry (occupational) scheduled for 1 Sep, Transfer scheduled for 30th Sep.
25th July Declaration from seller received, highlighting no issues at property…However as I am unable to view personally, Agent arranges home inspection on my behalf which I pay for. Agent passed the report to seller (without consultation), suggesting that seller will be affecting repairs.
9th Aug, Repairs are not being effected, I have until 10th Aug to pay deposit or sale cancelled. Attorney “states emphatically” that I must also sign a declaration seller not responsible for repairs suggested in home report. 10th Aug Declaration is signed and deposit paid.
10th Aug Seller emails me directly requesting I pull out of purchase. I explain that deposit paid, full funds transferred to ZAR, and another property is already rented out pending purchase of his property. He responds that sale may go ahead in those circumstances!
25th Aug I pay occupational rent –and took possession 31st Aug.
Seller leaves belongings and keeps keys, promising to return next day but does not return until 8th Sep.
Ist Sep – full funds lodged to seller’s Attorney for purchase.
Sensing that there are compliance issues, I request CoC and other certificates prior to signing transfer papers. In the absence of said certificates, I am accused on delaying transfer.
9th Sep Electrical, plumbing and beetle certificates are provided, but no electric fence CoC as an inspection has not even been carried out.
I raise concerns with sellers Attorney about the validity of the ECoC and send them a photo of a compliance issue at property. Also raise issues of fixtures not in working order.
I am placed in breach of agreement, Must sign in 7 days to comply or clause 22 applied (costs borne by me).
11th Sep. I consult an Attorney. Am told not signing is my only leverage as full funds are in transferring Attorney’s account. I write to sellers Attorney - not signing meantime, but happy to meet to discuss the issues. My Attorney phones the electrician who competed CoC. He will make an arrangement to attend at the property in the next week, but does not.
13th Sep. I employ a registered electrician - numerous issues with compliance and with the CoC form. Circa R 26 430.00 in remedial work. I write to sellers Attorney tell them there is no valid CoC and their client is in breach, with 7 days to rectify.
16th Sep – I am now back in the UK. My Attorney writes to seller’s Attorney, listing defects and placing in breach of clauses 10, 12 and 14.
18th Sep – Sellers Attorney - Transfer document are to be signed by close of business or transfer cancelled (costs borne by me). My Attorney advises I sign and states that “The CoC’s must be valid and the dispute resolved before an Attorney will proceed with registration at the Deeds Office” I agree to sign papers.
Sellers Attorney subsequently phones my daughter (who is in SA) telling her she ‘must co-operate with the fence inspection’
21st Sep An official at ECBSA, at my request, confirms that CoC is not in a format that complies (form is 2 years out of date) and there is no completed declaration or signature – therefore invalid. Forwarded this email to my Attorney who forwards it to the seller’s.
21st Sep The seller’s Attorney argues that the CoC is valid, and my own agrees!! Says I must be looking at a different document because the one "we" have is signed!!
22nd Sep My Attorney discovers that Electrician certificate with DoL expired on 30 October 2014. Writes to sellers attorney requesting a new certified and registered electrician.
Sellers response “My electrician has gone to the ECBSA and renewed his licence,..”The ECB has advised him to just do the checks again and issue another coc to satisfy the buyer” Attorney provides copy of electricians licence, requests appointment for electrician to attend tomorrow.
25th Sep This is not a case of ‘issuing another CoC to satisfy the buyer’ I inform my Attorney that I intend to have AIA inspect and am consulting with DoL over re-registration of electrician (which I have no reason to accept at face value).
28th Sep I am notified that transfer lodged in the Cape Town deeds registry.
My attorney advises that we cannot cancel as seller did try to make arrangements for electrician to re-inspect – and I did not agree - technically they have not failed to remedy the breach!! (wow)
I am told “The electrician needs to rectify the issues, and only then can we take it further for an inspector from the board to attend on the property”
29th Sep Against Attorneys advice, I have house assessed by the AIA. On his advice I make arrangement for the seller’s electrician to attend.
30th Sep Sellers electrician attends, and carries out work, I am sent a voice note detailing what he has done/is doing. He said he needed to come back and was offered access on 2nd and 3rd October but declined.
1st Oct AIA report sent to me, and to the electrician giving 14 working days for electrician to comply.
2nd Oct Sellers Attorney writes to my Attorney… ‘the electrician could not attend to minor repairs as the tenant/daughter had another appointment.” The voice note from the electrician on the 30th demonstrates that this is completely untrue.
5th Oct Electric fence is inspected (and condemned).
6th Oct Electrician emails me and the AIA in response to the AIA report and states that:“several issues (with the report) listed below (nothing was listed) with which I disagree….I have had no access to the premises indicated below since I have received this report via email.”
6th Oct Sellers attorney insists I must make arrangement for access for electrician. Occupational rent is to be paid by me, by close of business or sale cancelled with expenses borne by me (I pay).
6th Oct I make request to both sellers Attorney and electrician for scope of works so that arrangement can be made for somebody to attend at the property to facilitate the electrician. This will incur costs attributable to the seller, which I asked them to acknowledge.