Understanding Property Transfer Process

Admin May 12, 2022

Cases of Title Deeds Fraud have widely been covered by the media being on the increase due to a variety of issues some of them might be related to lack of knowledge. Title deed fraud occurs when someone steals your identity and takes title to your property and sells it or borrows against it leaving you in debt. 

One of the ways to protect yourself from being a victim of the act or aiding the fraud as a property owner or estate agent respectively is to understand how the Deeds Registration & Conveyancing process work including the due diligence processes.

The Deeds Registries Act chapter 20:05 and Amendments administered by the Registrar of  Deeds provides guidelines on  procedures of registration and change of land ownership in the country. No land can be registered unless a survey diagram and a dispencession certificate is issued by the Surveyor General. Every registered piece of land in Zimbabwe is defined and identified by a description given  to it by a Surveyor and approved by the Surveyor  General.

Conveyancing of land, i.e. the passing  of title from one person to another can only  be done by Conveyancers. Land being a vital asset requires that due regard to the laws of the country has to be followed to protect all parties to the transaction from fraudulent activities. Conveyancers are legally qualified  persons and they know how to deal with potential challenges and pitfalls. 

Before the property is introduced to the market, the estate agent has to do a deeds search, verify  ownership of the land, check for encumbrances, namely  mortgage bonds, servitudes, restrictive  conditions, lease agreements, acquisition  notices and many other endorsements the  registrar may note on the property. 

A professional estate agent  should only advertise to sell a property once he/she is satisfied that the property is  free from encumbrances or have attended to such encumbrances. It is the duty of the estate agent as  a representative of the owner to acquire all  the necessary information from his  principal where an instruction to sell is given, the agent has to diligently enquire and convince  himself that the instruction is coming from  the owner of the property.

When giving instruction to the conveyancer  to pass transfer of a property, the agent has  to ensure that the sequence of the transaction has to be captured and followed. Conveyancers get  the bulk of information to pass transfer from  the estate agents and they would also go  further to do diligent search on the property  to be transferred to avoid challenges in the process or aiding fraudulent activities.

Title Deeds registration and change of ownership processes need thorough  diligence, failure to comply with such small  things may aid fraudulent registration of title.

Delays in the registration process may also end up in economic losses at times if not properly planned and the sequence of the transaction is not followed. Estate agents and  Conveyancers have to appreciate the  requirements of deeds registration. 

The Deeds Office does the final examinations on prepared documents  to  ensure compliance with the respective Acts and to detect any form of potential fraud on the transaction.


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