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Thread: How far can I stretch "breach of contract" in a property sale?

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    How far can I stretch "breach of contract" in a property sale?

    Roughly 16 months ago I purchased a property. One of the conditions of sale included some small fixtures that were to be retained in the property
    Upon taking possession of the property I noticed that these fixtures were missing and asked the agent to request them from the seller.
    I have to date, not yet received these items...

    Given that the value of the property is roughly R900 000 and the value of the fixtures are, at most, probably a few hundred rand, what is the likelyhood of me being able to void the sale of the property due to the seller's breach of contract?

    Any advice?

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    Bronze Member Sieg's Avatar
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    Stephen

    Has the property already been registered in your name? If not, I suggest that you obtain a quote for the replacement costs of the items that the Seller should have left behind in terms of the sale agreement, then take this to the conveyancer and ask them to delay registration of transfer until the items have been returned or replaced or the conveyancer confirms that the amount will be deducted from the Seller's proceeds and paid over to you on registration. Also ask the conveyancer to send the Seller a "breach" notice as per the agreement.

    If transfer has already taken place, you will probably not be able to cancel the sale but can claim for the value of the items. It will be within the Small Claims courts' jurisdiction so it will be relatively inexpensive for you.

    Good luck!

    Sieg

  3. Thank given for this post:

    Dave A (11-Sep-08), Stephen (11-Sep-08)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There's nothing quite like clear advice from a really good property lawyer. Thanks for helping on this one, Sieg.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Okay, then...

    Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated...

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    Bronze Member Sieg's Avatar
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    Stephen

    Would you give the Forum some feedback in due course?


    Sieg

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I've got to agree with Sieg. It's helps to hear how things work out, and it's absolutely great to hear when things went well.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Thanks for the encouragement... But I don't think I will be pursuing this.
    Transfer has already taken place (many moons ago) and the effort involved in trying to claim for fixtures worth possibly (at most) two hundred rand, is just not really worthwhile.
    If I could demand a billion rand settlement, then that might be the way to go...
    Otherwise...?

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    Dave A (15-Sep-08)

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    I had the same experience with the purchase of my property, however the replacement damages was about R 70 000.00 removal of items by the seller. We held back an amount of only R25 000.00 for damages however we were demanded to make payment based on the voetstoets clause.We used Weivand and Weivand attorneys to defend the matter but got nowhere just a bill from the attorneys valued to R12 000.00 including a summons to make payment. So we lost out and had to pay the R25 000.00. So basically u have no rights in this country.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I hear you about the legal bill. You really have to look before you leap with litigation nowadays.

    Were these fixtures removed after the acceptance of offer to purchase, Gerry?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Yes this was done after offer to purchase was signed. The sellers made emphises on all the light fitting in the home and how well the outside was lit up. They removed these and replaced them with cheaper light fitting. They removed doors, ceilings,buildt in cubboards, cutail rails and the lsit goes on. Their lawyers kept putting pressure on us to sign the transfer based on the voetstoets clause. We were told we had a good case with Weivand & Weivand attorneys and they let us down the day before going to court. Said we should rather pay them the R25 000.00 we held as retention as it would be difficult to proof that they were the ones that removed the items.

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