Is it possible to cancel a home sale? In property matters, signed agreements are binding no matter how much one or other of the parties involved would like to see them cancelled or reversed. A case in which we have recently been involved shows this yet again.
Is it possible to cancel a home sale? The case
The case also shows how essential it is for buyers to check every aspect not only of the property they are buying but also the neighbourhood in which it is situated. In this particular case, the seller sold his home without finding a replacement home for himself. This put him under pressure to do so and may have led to his not taking sufficient care with the investigation of the new home.
The problems seemed at first to have been solved when we were told that the seller had now bought elsewhere.
It was arranged that the transfer of the first home would go through almost immediately, while the transfer of the second home would be done at a later stage. In fact, the transfer took place on a Friday and the buyer moved in on the Saturday.
On the following Monday morning we learned from the buyer that he had wanted the bond reversed and the deal overruled. Apparently he felt justified in asking for this because he had discovered that the crime situation in the area was, in his view, far from satisfactory and because certain faults in the electrical network had not yet been rectified by the seller. (An electrical compliance certificate had been issued but the electrician appears to have overlooked these faults. Certain of these faults had been listed and the buyer had held back payment on them until matters were put right.)
Is it possible to cancel a home sale? Analysis
What the buyer was now asking for, i.e. the cancellation of the whole deal, was quite simply not admissible in South African law. He would have had to get a court order to bring them about.
The seller could have pointed out to the buyer that he could and should have checked the crime statistics before making the purchase he could even have made the deal subject to his finding the crime situation to his liking. However neither of these steps had been taken. In circumstances like these, it is most likely that the request to have the bond reversed and the sale cancelled cannot be complied with.
In property law all deals have to be put in writing and once they are in writing it is extremely difficult to get them changed unless both parties agree to this.
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