Attorney warns: CPA doesn’t apply to single property transaction
A Cape Town attorney, specialising in property transactions has warned prospective buyers to thoroughly inspect properties before buying. The attorney Denver Vraagom of Gunston Attorneys recommends that prospective buyers should consider using inspection professionals if required for peace of mind.
Buyers need to be careful, says Vraagom, because the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) does not apply where sellers are involved in one-off selling. That is, (when) property dealing is not their regular occupation. ‘This applies even if an estate agent (for whom property dealing is a daily business) helps to achieve the sale.’
‘Although sellers are legally obliged never to fraudulently conceal any defects of which they are aware, they cannot be held responsible for latent defects or defects of which they apparently had no knowledge,’ Vraagom says.
For property transactions that are not subject to the CPA, the voetstoots clause is still valid and enforceable – in other words, the property is sold as it stands. ‘A buyer in this instance won’t have any remedy against a seller for any defects discovered in the property unless the buyer can prove that the seller had intentionally defrauded him at the time of the sale,’ he says.
‘With the introduction of the CPA, it has become common practice for sellers and buyers to draw up defects lists, which confirm known defects and further confirm that the seller is unaware of any latent defects. The defects list offers buyers limited additional protection,’ Vraagom says. Weekend Argus 15/09/13