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25 Feb 2021 12:00 am

This week: Conveyancing taskforce set up to manage digital transition; Western Cape heritage assessments: WCPDF launches inaugural survey; and delays in opening municipal accounts in Cape Town after transfer.

Conveyancing taskforce set up to manage digital transition
UK - Law Gazette
The Law Society and other conveyancing bodies have put informal collaborations on a more formal footing with a new taskforce that will agree and lead changes to the homebuying and selling process.

The ‘Conveyancing Task Force’, which has been two years in the making and has formal terms of reference, comprises Chancery Lane, Society of Licensed Conveyancers, Conveyancing Association, CILEx and Bold Legal Group.

Society president David Greene said taskforce members have been working informally together for some time on areas of shared interest to help practitioners and consumers. The new arrangements, he said, ‘will help formalise joint working to enable cooperation to take place effectively without compromising the independence of each organisation’.

Taskforce members have agreed conveyancing workstreams to focus on in relation to digital conveyancing, including proof of identity, property information forms, electronic signatures and client communication guidance.
Law Gazette

The state of Western Cape heritage assessments: WCPDF launches inaugural survey
South Africa - PropertyWheel
Over the past few years, there has been an increasing concern in the property development and construction sector around applications that require heritage approval, both at provincial level (via Heritage Western Cape) as well as at certain municipal levels such as within the City of Cape Town.

Numerous key issues have been raised, from time delays caused by drawn out appeal processes that have in themselves become increasingly vague and difficult to interpret, to allegations levelled at heritage organisations and officials for abusing processes to prevent development from happening at all.

Deon van Zyl, chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) says they are increasingly hearing from developers that they are choosing to walk away from projects rather than to take on the inordinately, lengthy, costly, and frustrating delays in which heritage applications invariably result.

“On the one hand, critical investment into the Western Cape and, even more importantly, job creation is both hemorrhaging at a time when the economy needs these most. On the other, important heritage assets are being left to decay because of the public sector’s lack of funds or the motivation to maintain them.”
PropertyWheel

Delays in the opening of new municipal accounts after transfer: Problems at the Cape Town Municipality identified
South Africa - Miltons
We have received reports from literally hundreds of clients who have recently sold their properties in Cape Town advising that, months after the transfer was registered, they are still receiving a municipal account. More alarmingly, the account now reflected a substantial amount owing by themselves to the municipality.

We have now received a communication from the City clarifying the position. According to their media release they have identified the source of the problem and they believe the situation will be rectified by the end of February.

We assume this means that by March the municipal accounts will be opened in the name of the new owners who will then receive their first (large) bill for the period from date of transfer until now. The previous owner will then also be refunded the amount paid to obtain the rates clearance certificate for the period beyond the date of the transfer.
Miltons