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Understanding the outstanding rates and taxes on Sheriff Sale In Execution Immovable Property Auctions

When Sheriff Sale In Execution Immovable Property Auctions are concerned, there is a big misconception that properties that go on sheriff auctions are a bargain. Although this may be true in certain instances, individuals who participate in Sheriff auctions with this mindset often get an unpleasant surprise when they are met with the reality of not only paying for the associated costs and commissions that come part and parcel with sheriff auctions but also being responsible for setting the outstanding rates and taxes. 

On 17 February 2022, News24 published an article about a property sold for R 10-00 on a sheriff sale in execution immovable property auction. 

According to the above linked article, the High Court had to step in and intervene regarding this matter as it was a violation of the previous homeowner as the South African Constitution protects the rights and dignity of homeowners even if they may have defaulted on their home loan payments. 

Perhaps the above mentioned is the reason why sheriffs have such a bad rep. As a result we have assumed the responsibility of creating this article so as to inform bidders about the legal and arduous process that happens before Sheriff Sale In Execution Auctions take place. 

Before a Sheriff Sale In Execution is approved to be on auction, judicial members namely judges, lawyers, sheriffs and the police are involved in ensuring that all legal processes have been completed to ensure that all parties involved in the particular auction are being fairly served with dignity.  

According to an article published by Dr. Ciresh Signh, all judicial officers need to adhere to r46A of Uniform Rules Of Court in order for a Sheriff Sale In Execution to be legally mandated. r46A of Uniform Rules Of Court stipulates that: 

  • The judge of court is responsible for setting the reserve price of the property that is proposed to be sold on auction. 
  • Before a reserve price is set, the court takes 70% of the property’s sale value and subtracts any outstanding rates and taxes, after this process is completed, a reserve price is then set. 
  • Sheriffs are responsible for taking account of any improvements made or that need to be made of the immovable property being auctioned, however, the latter does not stipulate that outstanding rates and taxes be disclosed prior to the auction of the immovable property. 

Taking the above mentioned in consideration, it is important to note that sheriffs do not set reserve prices of immovable properties as this responsibility lies solely on the judges, who, seeing as they aren’t real estate agents, require valuations from real estate professionals to set reasonable immovable property reserve prices.

So the misconception that one is guaranteed to get a bargain at sheriff auction is actually incorrect and rather it is up to the prospective bidders to do their due diligence regarding the expenses that come with having to buy an immovable property. By doing so, they would avoid unnecessary misunderstandings with the respective sheriff houses. 


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