crucial dates on which most agreements hinge, says Mccauley, are:
The date the property is actually transferred at the Deeds Office, ie the date legal ownership passes from the seller to the buyer; and The date it is occupied by the buyer. A good sale agreement will always specify which date is stipulated for the ownership risks to pass to the buyer. However, in the absence of specified dates, common law precedents will prevail... which accepts that the risk passes to the buyer the day the last suspensive condition is met. This implies that if the deal is in cash, the buyer will take responsibility as soon as the seller has accepted and signed the sale agreement. Where the deal is subject to mortgage bond finance, responsibility passes to the buyer as soon as he accepts a bond grant.” In Rawson Properties’ agreements the purchaser is held liable for all the risks associated with ownership from the date of possession, unless something else is specifically stated to the contrary in the contract. “At Rawson’s we ... advise buyers to take out their own all risks insurance policy to commence upon the date they take possession of the property.
“At all costs, the situation must be avoided where one person is in the house but another has the total responsibility for it in the event of a fire, vandalism or flood and there is no insurance in place. My advice to all buyers is therefore twofold: find out exactly when risk passes to you and take out adequate insurance to cover these risks. My advice to sellers is to keep paying your insurance right up to the transfer date.”