Property counsel is the advice given by a legal practitioner and action that relates to property. The law pertaining to property is premised on Section 71 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states:
“Every person has the right in any part of Zimbabwe to acquire, hold, occupy, use, transfer, hypothecate lease or dispose of all forms of property either individually or in association with others”
Property rights thus pertain to the exclusive ownership of something and are therefore enforceable against the whole world. The registration of property rights in Zimbabwean land is regulated by the Deeds Registries Act (Chapter 20:05).
Property counsel is mainly rooted in real estate transactional and litigation matters. Anyone can seek property counsel and can be represented, in dealing with every aspect of the disposal and/or acquisition of immovable/ movable assets to structuring and negotiating a full range of transactions.
Advice and attendances by Counsel include but are not limited to the following;
- Due diligence – which is a process to reassure investors, potential property owners and current property owners that the property in question will be absolutely safe to purchase and/or that even if possession and control is disturbed for whatever reason they can rest easy and put total trust that any court of law will restore their legal rights. They therefore should not worry that they will wake up to realize that they do not own what they used to own and they have no recourse to the law.
- Drafting of lease and/or sale agreements and review of same; landlord and tenant disputes and litigation;
- Structuring of real estate company groups, real estate investment funds and operations involving institutional investors;
- Conveyancing work such as the registration and transfers of fixed property including but not limited to the subdivision of land and buildings, land consolidation and severance; replacement of lost title deeds; advice on share block schemes and sectional title schemes amongst others;
- Transaction related securitisation for loans and facilities such as mortgage bond registration and deregistration; registration of notarial bonds over moveable property to name a few
- Advice on tax matters involving property transfers such as capital gains, tax exemptions & roll-overs.
- Legal issues such as usufructs; servitudes and related real rights