A CASE FOR TITLE INSURANCE IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN PROPERTY- REGISTRATION SYSTEM
Keywords:land registration systems, title registration system, deeds registration system, property ownership, financial interests in land, title insurance, indemnity insurance, defects in title, mortgage liens, land owners, lenders
Land and interests in land have traditionally been man’s most basic forms of wealth. As a result, many elaborate legal systems have evolved to protect this wealth and the rights associated with it. This has led to the establishment of the most recognized land registration systems, namely the title registration system (known as the Torrens system) and the deeds registration system. Both of these systems provide owners of land and lenders with protection regarding property ownership and financial interests in land. South Africa has chosen to adopt the deeds registration system with some elements of the title registration system. This system is hailed as among the best in the world, simply because the validity of ownership and interests in land are the responsibilities of conveyancing practitioners and land registration officials. However, such protection is not fully guaranteed. This paper discusses the possibility of introducing title insurance – a form of indemnity insurance which insures a person against financial loss from defects in title to immovable property and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage liens – to protect the financial interests of both land owners and lenders in the property.
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