Pains and gains of buying a house: A nightmare scenario

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Pains and gains of buying a house: A nightmare scenario

Buying a new home is an exciting, if not daunting, experience, but excitement can quickly turn into disappointment if certain defects of your new home become apparent after you move in. When your dream home becomes a nightmare, what can you do? Legal expert from Hammond Pole, Michelle Orsmond, looks at this nightmare scenario and shares her advice on how to deal with it. 


You bought a house, and a certificate of compliance (CoC) was provided. However, after moving into the house, you discover that the gas geyser is not working, and there are other issues, including a leaking roof. How do you address this? 

What to do 

The first thing you need to consider is the ‘Voetstoots’ clause, which is present in almost all real estate purchase agreements. This states that when you buy a house you are agreeing to accept the property ‘as is’ at the date of sale.  

Having said this, the seller does have a duty to disclose any visible (patent) or invisible (latent) defects and is not protected by the voetstoots clause if they were aware of any latent defects at the time of sale and failed to disclose them.  

You can make a claim against the seller if you think he or she deliberately hid a defect at the time of the sale. With the help of the transferring attorney and the estate agent, you can try to establish whether or not the seller was aware of the defect, if it was disclosed, and, if not, try to prove that it was intentionally concealed. You can make a claim against the seller within three years from discovery of the hidden defect. 

The best way to avoid this nightmare scenario, though, is to do your due diligence by inspecting the property carefully before putting in an offer to purchase or by hiring a professional who knows what to look for to perform one for you.  

For more information: MichelleO@hammondpole.co.za 

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