In­clud­ing mov­ables in prop­erty sales com­pli­cates mat­ters

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

SELL­ERS some­times in­clude a num­ber of mov­ables, fur­ni­ture, cur­tains or white goods in sale agree­ments as part of the pur­chase price, but this can com­pli­cate mat­ters, says Lan­ice Stew­ard, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Knight Frank.

“No trans­fer duty is payable on mov­able items so any items of ma­te­rial value should be ex­cluded from sale agree­ments and a pri­vate sale of th­ese items should be ar­ranged be­tween buyer and seller. If the price of th­ese was added to the price of the home, the trans­fer duty would in­crease.

“In any event, whether mov­able items are sold sep­a­rately or as part of the agree­ment, it’s im­por­tant to iden­tify them.

“Be as spe­cific as pos­si­ble and take dig­i­tal pho­tos of items that are meant to re­main in the home.

“We have come across in­stances where cer­tain kitchen equip­ment was meant to be in­cluded and when the buyer moved in, found that the orig­i­nal stove, mi­crowave, fridge and wash­ing ma­chine had been re­placed by cheaper mod­els that the buy­ers would not have cho­sen. There have also been in­stances where plas­tic pa­tio fur­ni­ture was sub­sti­tuted for the teak ta­ble and chairs the buyer had agreed to pay for.”

A case men­tioned in a re­cent Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes le­gal up­date warns about this sort of sit­u­a­tion. In this par­tic­u­lar case, Steenkamp NO and Oth­ers v CA du Toit Cen­tral (Pty) Ltd, the prop­erty was a guest­house where the seller pre­sented a list of items that were in­cluded in the sale and the buyer did not sign it ini­tially, say­ing that the price agreed on in the of­fer to pur­chase was for all the items in the apart­ment on the date of the agree­ment be­ing signed.

He later signed the list, again say­ing that he pre­sumed the list in­cluded all the items agreed on when the sale took place.

He could not check as he was in Bloem­fontein and the apart­ment was in Mos­sel Bay.

A lit­tle while later Mrs Steenkamp re­moved cer­tain items that were meant to re­main in the guest­house, and the buyer in­sti­tuted ac­tion against the Steenkamps for breach of con­tract. The court sub­se­quently found in the buyer’s favour.

“A prop­erty sale is usu­ally com­pli­cated enough with­out adding lists of mov­able prop­erty,” says Stew­ard. “It is al­ways best, and would have been in the case above, to keep each trans­ac­tion sep­a­rate and clear, as well as in writ­ing. All the le­gal costs and the time wasted could have been avoided had this been done.”

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