• v4vanh

Clearance Certificates And The Practical Application Of Section 118 Of The Municipal Systems Act



WHAT IS A CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE


This is a supporting document lodged by the transferring attorneys which ensures that all

amounts due in connection with that property for municipal services during the two years

preceding the date of the application have been fully paid.


WHAT DOES THE ACT SAY


Section 1: Section 118 and its Practical Effect

Section 118 of the Act reads:

“(1) A registrar of deeds may not register the transfer of property except on

production to that registrar of deeds of a prescribed certificate –

(a) issued by the municipality or municipalities in which that property is

situated; and

(b) which certifies that all amounts that became due in connection with that

property for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and

other municipal taxes, levies and duties during the two years preceding the

date of application for the certificate have been fully paid.

(1A) A prescribed certificate issued by a municipality in terms of subsection (1)

is valid for a period of 60 days from the date it has been issued.

(3) An amount due for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and

other municipal taxes, levies and duties is a charge upon the property in connection

with which the amount is owing and enjoys preference over any mortgage bond

registered against the property.”



CAN THE SELLER PAY THE FULL OUTSTANDING DEBT OR ONLY A PORTION OF THE DEBT


The Seller may owe a large amount to the municipality and may only be able to pay a

portion of the debt. In this instance, the seller may pay the debt outstanding incurred

“during the two years preceding the date of application for the certificate.”


PRACTICAL EFFECT OF SECTION 118


Practically speaking municipalities issue two types of clearance certificates. A 118(1) or “two

year” or “abridged” clearance, and a s 118(3) or “historical” or “full” clearance. The two

year clearance is the minimum required by law to pass transfer, and this kind of certificate


certifies that all charges incurred in the two year period prior to application for same, have

been paid in full. The historical clearance is a certificate that certifies that all amounts

owing, no matter when they were incurred, have been paid in full. There is no requirement

in law that a property owner obtain a historical clearance when passing transfer of a

property, where logically it is preferable that this be obtained in all cases.


The manner in which a municipality is entitled to recover amounts owing form property

owners (and potentially purchasers), has been the subject of much legal debate over the

years.


WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HISTORICAL DEBT


The question of whether the historical debt survives the transfer of the property was raised

in the Constitutional Court in Jordaan and Others v City of Tshwane Metropolitan

Municipality and Others [2017] ZACC 31 whereby the court found that the debt will not

survive the transfer.


Therefore the Purchaser will not be liable for historical debt.



This article should not be construed as legal advice and has been produced for marketing

purposes.

This article was written by M Van Heerden Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All