I have sold my house and the attorneys keep on saying that they are waiting
for the documentation from the municipality.
What does the municipality have to do with me selling my house?
To answer this question it is important to distinguish between the two actions required for the transaction to proceed:
- The municipality must issue clearance FIGURES – an amount that is due and payable
- On receipt of payment of the figures, the municipality will issue a clearance CERTIFICATE.
In terms of section 118(1)(b) of the Municipal Systems Act, 2000, a municipality must issue a clearance certificate to confirm payment of all amounts due, in connection with particular property, for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and other municipal taxes, levies and duties. However, to obtain the clearance certificate, one only needs to make payment of an amount that accrued during the two years preceding the application for the certificate.
When an attorney receives instruction to see to the transfer of a property, they apply to the local municipality for clearance figures on the specified property. The municipality will then issue the figures that contain the outstanding amounts on the property, and may include and estimated amount for the next 4 months.
The conveyancer will then discuss the figures with the seller, who is liable for the payment of the figures. On payment of the figures the municipality will issue a clearance certificate which needs to be handed in at the deeds office to proof that the requirement has been adhered to.
Depending on the municipality and whether this process has been automated, this process can take anything between 3 days and 3 months and is unfortunately in the hands of your local municipality.