Why purchasers should not shy away from the costs of hiring an expert to inspect the property to be acquired

Regrettably, purchasers of immovable properties often seem reluctant to obtain expert advice on issues pertaining to the property in question which are small in comparison to the costs of having to remedy defects which could have been identified prior to the purchase. The recent case of Banda v van der Spuy illustrates the difficulty which purchasers face after transfer in a claim for damages as a result of latent defects which were not disclosed to the purchasers. Continue reading

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Purchasers beware when acquiring a business without advertising the sale

When a natural or juristic person sells assets comprising a business or a substantial part of that person’s business, Section 34 of the Insolvency Act renders such sale void as against any creditor of that person if the sale is not advertised as prescribed in such section.

In practice, especially when transactions need to take place quickly, the parties often elect not to advertise the sale in terms of the Insolvency Act and instead accept warranties regarding possible claims against the Seller. The recent Supreme Court of Appeal case of Gainsford NO and 2 others v Tiffski Property Investments and 5 others [Gavin Cecil Gainsford NO v Tiffski Property Investments (Pty) Ltd (874/2010) [2011] ZASCA 187 (30 September 2011)] highlights the dangers of concluding a transaction in this manner. Continue reading

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The new Consumer Protection Act: An Overview (Part 2)

Unsolicited goods

The CPA also deals with unsolicited goods and services (caution: any excess goods supplied other than the quantity specifically agreed upon also fall under this category). The consumer must, however, not frustrate or prevent the supplier from recovering the goods and the consumer will only be liable in respect of any intentional interference with the goods and, if applicable, any costs incurred by the supplier due to such conduct by the consumer. The CPA states that the unsolicited goods pass to the person lawfully holding the goods, subject only to the rights of any uninvolved third-party which may have a valid claim to those goods. Unfortunately, the CPA does not provide a timeframe for when the consumer becomes the owner of the unsolicited goods but this section should serve as a warning to any supplier not to distribute any unsolicited goods. Continue reading

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An Overview of the new Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) came into effect on 1 April 2011 and consists of 122 sections (amounting to 93 pages, including schedules) together with the Regulations to the CPA containing a further 44 sections (amounting to 85 pages, including annexures). The CPA is probably one of the most important pieces of legislation recently enacted and changes the playing fields between consumers and suppliers considerably. Yet, the legislation is cumbersome and not “consumer-friendly” when attempting to familiarise oneself with the provisions. The CPA will profoundly change the content and format of a supplier’s terms and conditions and all suppliers are strongly advised to ensure that their standard terms and conditions comply with the CPA. Continue reading

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Suspensive conditions when purchasing immovable property in South Africa: caution before signing the offer to purchase

In Südafrika werden die meisten Immobilien über Immobilienmakler vertrieben. In vielen Fällen werden Kaufverträge unmittelbar nach ein oder mehreren Besichtigungen mit Hilfe der Makler abgeschlossen, die mit den Interessenten und dem Verkäufer die Vertragsbedingungen aushandeln anhand ihrer jeweiligen Standardverträgen. Anders als in anderen Ländern wie z.B. in Deutschland, muss ein Immobilienkaufvertrag in Südafrika nicht vor einem Notar oder ähnlichen Instanz beurkundet werden, um gültig zu sein und die Parteien können somit den Kaufvertrag untereinander fertigstellen. In der Praxis werden zusätzliche Klauseln oder besondere Bestimmungen oft nicht sorgfältig durchdacht und willkürlich formuliert. Dies hat zur Folge, dass so die Grundlage für gröβere Auseinandersetzungen vor der Übertragung der Immobilie auf den Namen des Käufers geschaffen wird die in manchen Fällen zur Nichtigkeit des Vertrages führen können. Continue reading

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New Offices for Hildebrand Attorneys

Hildebrand Attorneys has moved into new offices in the Valuta Building in Shortmarket Street in Cape Town. The offices the entire top floor of the building, hence the term Penthouse Suite which you will notice on the firm’s letterhead, and consists of amongst others a boardroom, two offices and a spacious reception area. Continue reading

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