What does it mean to buy or sell a property voetstoots?

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Most sale agreements of immovable property contain a clause in terms of which the buyer agrees to buy the property voetstoots.

This means that purchaser is buying the property from the seller as it stands and thereby indemnifying the seller against claims for damages in respect of any defects on the property, whether patent or latent.

What you need to know

Sellers cannot rely on the voetstoots clause if they were aware of a latent defect and deliberately concealed or failed to disclose it with the intention to defraud the buyer.

In terms of the Consumer Protection Act the voetstoots clause will not be applicable to a property transaction where the seller is selling the property in the ordinary course of business. This will typically be applicable to developers, builders and investors.

It is important for the parties to a property transaction to familiarise themselves with the impact and exclusions to the voetstoots clause and to carefully read the sale agreement to avoid costly and unnecessary legal battles.