How the new Electronic Deeds Registration System affects you as a title-deed holder

How the new eDRS affects you as a title-deed holder

By HouseFurb, Feb 21, 2019

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The Department of Rural development and Land Reform has announced that intends to introduce the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill in the National Assembly during the first quarter of 2019, to be more specific, this electronic system will be effective from the 25th of February 2019.

"The Bill provides for the development of an electronic deeds registration system in order to effect the registration of large volumes of deeds as necessitated by government’s land reform initiatives. The Bill further seeks to expedite the registration of deeds by decreasing the time required for the deeds registration process having regard to legislation regulating electronic communication and transactions; and to provide for matters connected therewith.” ~said the Department

Under this new legislation, a computer system known as the Deeds Registration System (e-DRS) will be put in place for the purpose of maintaining the electronic land register.

So what does this mean for property owners?

Getting an original title deed is going to be harder after 25 Feb 2019 under the new E-DRS system
While this has probably remained below the radar for many homeowners, amendments to Regulation 68 47/1937 of the Deeds Registries Act which were published in January this year (2019), means that there’s a longer, more onerous - and no doubt costlier - route you need to follow if you’ve lost the original title deed to your property.

If your original title deed is not in your possession, it is advisable to go to your local Deeds Office before the deadline, and complete an application requesting a certified title deed.

If you are planning on selling your property, not being in possession of the title deed could end up delaying the transfer to the new owner
If you have paid off your mortgage, or paid cash for your home when you acquired it, you as the owner of the property should be in possession of the original title deed, whereas if you have a mortgage on the property, the bank will hold this document and you may keep a copy

In the case of the bond being paid off, then the bank’s attorney would have been required to give you the original title deed to your property. Alternatively, it may be that you may have simply mislaid the original title deed. In any event, you still have a window of opportunity to obtain your title deed before the new process kicks in

HouseFurb advises that you check where your title deed is, and if it is not in your possession, it is best practice to go to your local Deeds Office before the deadline, and complete an application requesting a certified title deed. If you are not near a Deeds Office, you can ask your local attorney to apply for a new certified Title Deed on your behalf. This will result in the lost title deed being null and void.

The new process dictates that over and above the existing application process, your application and affidavit will need to be attested by a notary public, and must be advertised in the Government Gazette, and in addition, must for two weeks be open for inspection by the public at the Deeds Registry - all of which costs you both time and money.

Property buyers, you need to ensure the original title deed is sent to you by your transferring attorney. This will be available from the Deeds Office about three months after the transfer. This will avoid any delays in the registration process, or additional cost when you want to sell. Ensure that your title deed is in a secure place, and it is also advisable to keep an additional certified copy of your title deed in a different location.

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