Living together - Know your rights

A change in SA law made a few years ago has greatly improved the position of those who are divorcing and, in the process passing their residential property to one of the couple concerned: since 2006, the partner taking possession of the property no longer has to pay transfer duty on it.

"This was obviously a logical step to take because whether or not it was stipulated in the couple's legal documents in most cases they were in practice joint owners," says Ulrik Strandvik of the legal firm Gunstons Attorneys. "The law has recognised the realities."

The law also accepts that the same transfer duty exemption can apply to a couple who have been in a longstanding relationship, sometimes referred to as a common law marriage.

In dividing up their assets following an agreement to part, the person taking over their home is no longer required to pay transfer duty. This applies even when their union was never formalised by a marriage ceremony or contract, provided they clearly intended to form a long term partnership or had had such a partnership.

"It is," said Strandvik, "important to note that, as I understand the law, this exemption applies only to people whose relationship has endured some time. If they have lived together only a few months in the home, the individual taking ownership of it would still probably have to pay transfer duty."

As it stands, the law can also apply in the same way to same sex relationships of some length, said Strandvik.

"In these amendments SA law has shown that it is aware of the changes in SA society."
"Marriage is not seen as obligatory or necessary by many of today's couples. Some will see this as bad for social stability but it is a fact that the law has to recognise and respond to equitably."

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 Nov 2017
      Most people know of the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) and that levies must to paid to fund its operations. In this article the experts at Paddocks will address some of the issues that are causing confusion.
    • 22 Nov 2017
      While sales have noticeably slowed in most sectors in most Cape town suburbs, the security estate sector in Constantiaberg has bucked the trend by remaining buoyant, with sales by August this year already surpassing total sales in 2016.
    • 22 Nov 2017
      The end of the year is fast approaching, and so are all the travellers, tourists and holidaymakers. For those who live near or own a property in a holiday-hotspot, the festive season also brings with it an abundance of short-term rental opportunities. Its a great way for property owners to make a few extra rand for their own holidays or to put towards their savings.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      The buying process is over, and the moving truck has delivered your household goods to your new property. Now it’s time to unpack and turn your new house into a home.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      When an offer to purchase a property is signed by both buyer and seller, this constitutes a binding agreement or “Deed of Sale” between the two parties. However, in most cases the “standard contract” might not be enough to cover all the specifics pertaining to the sale. The agreement may require some additions or alterations to clauses, which needs an expert hand in the drafting of such
    • 21 Nov 2017
      As more and more South Africans look to invest in property abroad, Spain is offering them one of the best deals in global real estate.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us