Voetstoots and the Consumer Protection Act

Property in SA , Buying Property , General 3 Comments

There has been some debate with the implementation of the new consumer protection act surrounding the popular "voetstoots" clause used in contracts.

Some property law commentators have argued that the seller and his agent will no longer be protected by the fact that a defect was not apparent to them at the time of transfer, as the new law stipulates that every member of the ‘supply chain’ can be held responsible for any serious defect in the ‘product’ for a period of six months after purchase. Other commentators, however, have said that the rules applying to a building cannot feasibly be the same as those for services or manufactured goods  - if only because the sums involved can be so much higher and replacements are not possible in the property world.

Although the precedent set has traditionally be one of "let the buyer be aware", recent legislation and commentaries seem to overlook the issue by extending benefits to the Purchaser which are beyond the scope of reasonable foreseeability by the Seller.

The Consumer Protection Act does not specifically outlaw the use of the "voetstoots" clause and has specifically not invalidated the use of this clause.

We will be closely monitoring property transactions as this evolution is taking place within the marketplace.

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