On 1 August 2014, the Minister of Environmental Affairs published the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations in a bid to curb the spreading and negative effects of Alien Invasive Species of plants. The regulations came into effect on 1 October 2014 and regulation 29 provides for what should happen when immovable property which has Alien invasive species which are listed in the regulations, on which it is sold.

Regulation 29 states that if a permit holder sells a property that contains Alien Invasive Species, the new owner of such property must apply for a permit in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004, commonly referred to as “NEMBA”. The seller must also notify the purchaser in writing of all the listed alien species that are present on the property. This notification must be done prior to the conclusion of the sale.

Estate agents should assist in this regard by asking sellers of immovable property to declare in writing whether or not they are aware of any alien species on the properties or if they hold permits for the species which require permits to be held on the property. If the estate agent’s enquiry shows that there are alien species, and that the seller holds a permit, a copy of this confirmation must be given to the prospective buyers. The purchaser’s offer should also include an acknowledgment that they have been advised of the alien species on the property.

Property sale agreements after the commencement of the regulations should also include a clause in which the purchaser acknowledges that he is aware of the vegetation of the property and accepts the property including such vegetation.

SO: if you are looking to sell or buy a property, please ensure that this is covered at the outset in compliance with this new Regulation.

Contributor: Derone Sookraj
Designation: Associate
Department: Conveyancing
Email: Derone@pgpslaw.co.za

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