Advice and Opinion

Consumer Protection Act cannot be invoked when the seller enters into a once-off property transaction

One of the questions most frequently put to conveyancing attorneys these days, says Denver Vraagom of Gunston Attorneys, is “How valid is the voetstoots clause in property now that the Consumer Protection Act has been promulgated?”

“The first point to be grasped,” said Vraagom, “is that the Consumer Protection Act does not apply where the seller is involved in a once-off selling exercise, i.e. where property dealing is not his regular daily occupation. This applies even if an estate agent (for whom property dealing is his daily business) assists in achieving the sale.”

Buyers who intend to buy a property, said Vraagom, should, therefore, inspect it very thoroughly, possibly employing a professional to assist them in this to give them peace of mind if required. Although the seller is legally obliged never to fraudulently conceal any defects of which he is aware, he cannot be held responsible for those defects which are latent or of which apparently he had no knowledge.

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