Registration of leases and subleases

 Registration of leases and subleases 

 Every lease of land, or every lease of any rights to minerals in land intended or required to be registered in a deeds registry, must be executed by the lessor and the lessee and be attested by a notary public.

The registration of notarial leases and subleases and cessions thereof are authorised in terms of the  Deeds Registries Act. A lease for, inter alia, not less than ten years or which has one or other of the characteristics mentioned in section 102 in the definition of “immovable property”, is deemed to be immovable property.

A lease for a period of less than ten years seems from the Act to be capable of registration, and, having regard to the definition of “real rights” in section 102 and the decision in Registrar of Deeds (Tvl) v The Ferreira Deep Ltd, may constitute a real right in an incorporeal movable.

When there has been a failure to make any periodical payment mentioned in a registered lease of land, the registrar may, in the circumstance set out in section 90, cancel the registration of the lease.5

No cession of a registered lease or sublease or other real right in land may be given as security for an obligation except a mortgage.6

No transfer duty or value-added tax is payable in respect of leases of land.7

A lease includes, for the purposes of these provisions,8 a sublease or a cession of a lease. Subleases and cessions are also required to be executed by the lessee and the subleases or by the cedent and the cessionary and to be attested by a notary public. Any such lease must be registered for its full terms including any renewal periods. The foregoing stipulations will not be enforceable where provisions contrary to them have been made in any law.9

Should it be desired to register a cession of a lease of a portion of land leased, the cession must have annexed to it a notarial copy of the lease. The title to a portion of a ceded lease, the cession of which has been registered, is the cession together with the notarial copy of the lease annexed to it; while for any subsequent registration in respect thereof that title is deemed to be part of the title.10

Should the land or right leased or subleased, be mortgaged or subject to the rights of any other person, it will not be necessary in the registration of the lease, sublease or any cession thereof to produce the bond or other deed whereby such rights are held or the consent of the legal holder thereof.11


“Lease” is not defined in the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937, although it is referred to as “immovable property” in certain instances: s 102(1). The provisions of the Formalities in respect of Leases of Land Act 18 of 1969 relate not only to the drawing of leases but also to the functioning of lease agreements.


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