On 22 March 2020 President announced a 21-ay nation-wide lockdown from midnight 23 March in an attempt to stop the spread of the Corona COVID -19 virus. Buying a House During Lockdown.
By taking the correct precautions, sellers and buyers alike can still effectively conclude deed of sales through the assistance of an estate agent and transferring attorney notwithstanding the current national lockdown. Herewith are some “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to making an offer to purchase immovable property during the lockdown period. Buying a House During Lockdown.
As all Indians are confined to their homes for the next three weeks, the signing of a deed of sale can be problematic. The Alienation of Land Act stipulates that no sale of land will be of force and effect unless it is contained in a written deed of alienation signed by the parties or their duly authorised agents. Accordingly, parties to the agreement must physically sign the document. Electronic signatures of whichever nature will therefore not constitute a legal binding deed of sale.
However, parties can sign a deed of sale separately which will constitute a legally binding agreement. A deed of sale can also make provision for by including a clause which reads along the following lines:
The parties hereby acknowledge that this purchase agreement can be signed on different locations and on separate documents, which documents together, signed by both the SELLER and the PURCHASER, will form a complete and binding agreement.
It is also worth noting that it is not a legal requirement for witnesses to sign the deed of sale. Witnessing however is advisable should a dispute arise regarding the authenticity of a party’s signature. The banks usually also require signature of witnesses should the buyer be applying for bond finance.
Potential buyers will not be able to view and inspect properties prior to signing the deed of sale during lockdown. The good news is that by making a deed of sale subject to viewing, buyers do not have to wait until the lockdown has been uplifted before making an offer. The subject to viewing clause is a suspensive condition, which basically means that the deed of sale is suspended pending fulfilment of the condition. In other words, should you as buyer once you have viewed the property, decide that you do not want to purchase the property, the deed of sale will lapse and be of no further force. The wording in the deed of sale can read along the following lines:
1.1 This agreement is subject to the purchaser physically viewing the property on or before …… (Insert date). On date of viewing the purchaser must confirm in writing by way of notice to the seller or the estate agent that he/she is satisfied with the condition of the property, in which case this suspensive condition will be fulfilled.
1.2 Should the purchaser not wish to proceed with the transaction after viewing, written notice to that effect must be provided to the seller or the estate agent, in which case this deed of sale shall automatically lapse.
1.3 Should the purchaser fail to view the property and provide the seller or the estate agent with his/her written notice on or before the date stipulated in clause 1.1 above, the purchaser will be in breach of this deed of sale.
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