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What role does the Deeds Office play in the conveyancing process?

There are 11 Deeds Offices distributed throughout the country, namely in: –

  • Pretoria
  • Johannesburg
  • Vryburg
  • Umtata
  • Polokwane
  • Cape Town
  • Pietermaritzburg
  • Bloemfontein
  • Kimberley


The Deeds Office is a creature of statue and is responsible for the examination, registration and record-keeping of all property transactions. The Deeds office usually takes between 7- 10 working days to finalise a matter from date of lodgement to date of registration, provided there are no queries raised by any of the examiners.


The conveyancing attorney would extensively explain to clients their roles involved in the conveyancing transaction; however, they often do not go into detail regarding the Deeds Office processes and procedures.


The Deeds Office Procedure Begins When:

The conveyancing attorney prepares the required transfer documents which are then lodged at the counter of the Deeds Office. The lodgement clerks are responsible for linking the transfer, bond and bond cancellation (should there be a registration or cancellation of a bond). After the batch is linked and handed in for lodgement, the data clerk at the Deeds Office scans the deeds via a barcode into the DOTS (Deeds Office Tracking System) which allows the conveyancing attorney to follow the transaction whilst at the Deeds Office.

The data clerk does a deeds search on the seller, purchaser and property being transferred/bonded and places those in the lodgement covers for the examiners to check. Any interdicts are here noted against the persons or entities involved in the transaction, as well as the property.

The deeds are now ready to be sorted and distributed for examination.

There Are 3 Levels Of Examination, Namely:

Level 1 Examination:

The deeds are allocated to junior examiners, who perform the preliminary checks. Once completed, the deeds are returned to the distribution section.

Level 2 Examination:

The deeds are next distributed amongst senior examiners for further examination. The examiners consider the queries raised by the junior examiners and re-examine the deeds. They indicate whether the deeds are to be passed or rejected. Deeds are rejected if there are defects or errors in any of the deeds, this includes the transfer, bond or bond cancellation documents. The entire batch of documents must be drafted accurately, an error in any of the documents will result in the rejection of the whole batch. The deeds are returned to the distribution section before moving to the next level of examination.

Level 3 Examination:

The final level of examination is monitored by an assistant Registrar of Deeds, ultimately deciding whether the deeds are to be passed or rejected. If the deeds are rejected, they are sent to the deliveries section and later collected by the conveyancing attorney. The conveyancing attorney will then address the queries raised by the Deeds Office and arrange for the re-lodgement of the deeds. If there is a note on a deed that does not warrant a rejection or that the examiner is in error in a particular respect, he would remove the note and pass the deed, upon which such deeds go to prep (preparation).



The deeds that are found to be in order and passed will move to the next step in the registration process, being the prep stage. There may be deeds that still have notes, but these will be minor queries which do not warrant the rejection of the entire batch.

The conveyancing attorneys will, at this stage, make the final arrangements necessary to register the matter. These arrangements include obtaining the bank’s approval (also known as “a proceed”), should a bond be registered or cancelled, as well as ensuring that all the finances and contractual conditions are in order.

The conveyancing attorneys are granted four working days to hold the matter over to rectify any problems or queries raised and by the fifth working day the matter must either be registered or withdrawn from the Deeds Office. All the conveyancing attorneys linked in the same batch are required to give their confirmation to proceed in order for registration to take place failing which, the matter will be rejected. Just before registration, the data section performs final checks to ensure that no new interdicts have been noted against the persons, entities or property since lodgement. If everything is in order, the deeds are sent for execution by the conveyancer in the presence of the Registrar of Deeds and registration takes place.


Execution (Registration):

The Deeds are then ‘’handed in’’ from the prep stage to be executed. The Deeds are executed in front of the Registrar of Deeds who will also sign the deeds and affix his stamp of office onto the documents. The property is thereafter formally registered in name of the purchaser(s). All parties are notified, and the funds are released accordingly.

Once registered, the Deeds Office attends to various other administrative tasks to ensure that the deeds are in order and recorded accurately:

  • The Numbering Section allocates a unique number to each deed, the deed is dated with the registration date, and the Registrar of Deed’s official seal is affixed thereto;
  • The property transaction is captured on the Deeds Registration System by the Data Section to ensure that the land register is kept up to date;
  • A final check of the deeds is performed; and
  • The deeds, and accompanying documents submitted to the Deeds Office, are scanned by the Microfilming Section as part of the Deeds Office’s record keeping system, whereafter the original deeds are sent to the Delivery Section for collection by the conveyancing attorney.

Lastly, the conveyancing attorney arranges for delivery of the original deeds to the client. In the event of a mortgage bond being registered, both the mortgage bond and title deed are sent to the bank for safekeeping. Once the mortgage bond is cancelled, the registered owner will be entitled to keep the original title deed.


In Summary:

The Deeds Office is a vital part of property transfers and ensuring accurate data is contained in the Deeds Registry is important for all parties concerned. They ensure that all property is managed accurately and examined correctly. The Deeds Office are very strict when processing and examining documents. Only original documents are accepted by the Deeds Office and therefore conveyancing attorneys must be competent to ensure their drafting skills are always accurate.


For more information, please feel free to contact us: admin@brookes.co.za | conveyancing@brookes.co.za

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