What Is A Title Deed: Title Deeds Explained

What Is A Title Deed: Title Deeds Explained

What Is A Title Deed?

A title deed is legal proof of property ownership, or the official record of who owns the property. It is a legal document that is registered and proves you own immovable property.

If you purchase a new property, the title deed of the subject property has to be transferred into your name as proof that you own it. You need a conveyancing attorney to attend to the passing of transfer.

Legally, the property will only belong to you once the deed of transfer has been passed and duly executed at the Registrar of Deeds. Once signed, a copy of the Title Deed will be kept at the Deeds Office within your jurisdiction. Occupation of a property is normally taken and given on the date of registration of transfer unless otherwise agreed in the Offer to Purchase.

What Information Is On A Title Deed?

The title deed contains the defining property details such as

  • Particulars of the seller
  • Particulars of the purchaser
  • Property description
  • Title deed conditions pertaining to the subject property 
  • Purchase price
  • Date of sale
  • Date of transfer 

Can A Title Deed be held by more than one owner?

Yes, it is possible for a property to be owned by more than one person. This is called joint ownership and the portions owned by each co-owner, will also be included on the title deed.

What Are Property Restrictions?

A Title Deed may consist of various restrictive conditions as envisaged in the subject property’s title conditions, for example

  • Conditions in favor of the local authority
  • Personal servitude
  • Conditions in favor of a home owners association (HOA)
  • etc

What is Deeds Registration?

A Deeds Registration office is an entity of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development. You can register title deeds and access documents and information about registered and archived records at the Deeds Registries of the respective judicial areas. We would advise these enquiries to be done in person.

Furthermore, any member of the public can access the Deeds Registry to find out the most current information pertaining to, inter alia:

  • Who the registered owner of a property is
  • A certain property’s purchase price
  • Title deeds pertaining to a certain property  
  • The conditions for the establishment of a township in which a subject property is situated
  • The rules of a Sectional Title Scheme
  • Copies of Sectional Title Plans
  • A Deed or sectional title deed

How To Obtain A Copy Of Your Title Deed

Preferably make use of a conveyancing firm to assist you with obtaining either a copy or certified copy of a title deed, which will be done at a prescribed fee set down by the Legal Practice Council.

Frequently Asked Questions about Title Deeds

  • What is a Deed of Sale?

A Deed of Sale is a legal document containing the terms of a contract related to the sale of immovable property. A Deed of Sale must be signed by the purchaser and the seller, or the duly authorised representatives on their behalf.

  • What is a Transfer Duty? 

Transfer Duty is a tax payable to SARS. It is calculated on the value of the property that is acquired through a sale, exchange, or donation. Should you not be registered for VAT, or if the property is not sold as a VAT supply, the purchaser will pay transfer duty. The transfer duty is collected by the transferring attorneys and paid to SARS. SARS will issue a transfer duty receipt, which receipt will be lodged together with the new Title Deed to be registered.

  • Why Is There A Fee For Accessing Deeds Information?

It is a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to access Deeds Registry information must pay the prescribed fee.

  • Why Do I Need A Conveyancer To Transfer Ownership Of My Property?

A conveyancer is an admitted and practicing attorney who has been admitted to practice as a conveyancer. It is a legal requirement that any documents related to the registration of transfer or mortgaging of a property must be prepared by a conveyancer.

  • How Long Does The Deeds Office Take To Deliver A Title Deed To A Conveyancer After Registration?

The Deeds Office takes approximately 10 days to deliver a title deed to a conveyancer after it has been registered. This period is necessary so that administrative functions (like quality of assurance, numbering, and allocation of an authentic seal of office) can be completed. This may vary, depending on the backlog. 

  • A Property Was Registered In My Name But I Don’t Have The Title Deed. What Should I Do?

The best advice we can offer is to contact the conveyancer who attended to the registration of the property transfer to locate your Title Deed.

Please be cognisant of the following:

  • After the Deeds Registry has completed registration, the Title Deeds and documents are captured on a national database, and these are handed to the conveyancer.
  • If the transfer of the property was simultaneous to the registration of a mortgage bond, then the Deed of Transfer (and mortgage bond) is handed to the bondholder (the financial institution or Bank)
  • The Deeds Registry does not keep originals but copies can be acquired on application.


  • I Have Inherited Property / My Parents Have Passed Away.

What Must I Do To Have The Property Transferred Into My Name?

There are certain legal steps you must follow to wind up a deceased estate or to transfer a property from a deceased person to his/her heirs. 

  1. First, you must report the death to the Master of the High Court in the jurisdiction of where the property is situated
  2. The Master of the High Court will appoint a representative, if the property is valued under R 250 000, or an executor if the property is valued over R 250 000
  3. The Representative or Executor will first have to wind up the estate in accordance with prescribed law whereafter a property so inherited will be transferred in accordance with an approved liquidation and distribution account that is free of objections.


  • Why Should You Check A Title Deeds Before Signing An Offer To Purchase?

When you read a Title Deed as a prospective purchaser, you will find out if there are conditions related to specific title conditions pertaining to the subject property 

Why does this matter? These aspects have a bearing on the property’s value as well as any future plans you may have in purchasing.


Get professional property advice before signing your Offer to Purchase. For assistance with title deeds, registration, or transfer of property, please contact AWD Law.






Kindly be advised that AWD Law does not enter into litigation on behalf of clients. Our conveyancers specialise exclusively in the development of vacant land, property transfers, bond registrations, administration of deceased estates and notarial practice. Should you require assistance with a litigation, kindly contact The Legal Practice Council.

Contact AWD Law For Professional Property Advice before signing your Offer to Purchase.

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