- Is amended by Deeds Registries Amendment Act, 2017
- Is amended by Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act, 2018
Deeds Registries Act
- Commenced on 2 January 1960
- [This is the version of this document from 20 July 2018.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated by the Law Development Commission of Zimbabwe]
- [Amended by Deeds Registries Amendment Act, 2017 (Act 8 of 2017) on 23 June 2017]
- [Amended by Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act, 2018 (Act 12 of 2018) on 20 July 2018]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Deeds Registries Act [Chapter 20:05].
2. InterpretationIn this Act—“conveyancer” means a person registered as such in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07];“court” means the High Court;“deeds registry” means—(a)when used in relation to immovable property, the deeds registry which serves the area in which that property is situate;(b)when used in relation to any deed or other document, the deeds registry in Zimbabwe wherein that deed or other document is registered or registrable;(c)when used in relation to a registrar, the deeds registry of which he is in charge;“diagram” means a diagram which has been signed by a person recognized by law as a land surveyor and which has been approved or certified by the Surveyor-General, and includes a diagram or a copy thereof prepared in the Surveyor-General’s office and approved or certified as aforesaid, or a diagram which has at any time before the 2nd January, 1960, been accepted for registration in a deeds registry or the Surveyor-General’s office;“dispensation certificate” means a certificate issued by the Surveyor-General in terms of section 49 of the Land Survey Act [Chapter 20:12];“general plan” means a plan which represents the relevant positions and dimensions of two or more pieces of land and has been signed by a person recognized by law as a land surveyor, and which has been approved or certified as a general plan by the Surveyor-General, and includes a general plan or copy thereof prepared in the Surveyor-General’s office and approved or certified as aforesaid, or a general plan which has at any time prior to the 2nd January, 1960, been accepted for registration in a deeds registry or the Surveyor-General’s office;“immovable property” includes any registered lease of land which, when entered into, was for a period of not less than ten years or for the natural life of the lessee or any other person mentioned in the lease, or which is renewable from time to time at the will of the lessee indefinitely or for periods which together with the first period amount in all to not less than ten years;“land” includes an undivided share in land;“legal practitioner” means a person registered as such in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07];“Master” means the Master of the High Court or the Assistant Master of the High Court at Bulawayo;“Minister” means the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;“mortgage bond” means a bond attested by the registrar specially hypothecating immovable property;“notarial bond” means a bond attested by a notary public hypothecating movable property generally or specially;“notarial deed” means a deed attested by a notary public, but does not include—(a)a document with a signature which is merely authenticated by a notary public; or(b)a copy of a document which has been certified as correct by a notary public;“notary public” means a person registered as such in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07] and, in relation to any document executed outside Zimbabwe, means a person lawfully practising as such in the place where the document was executed;“owner”, in relation to immovable property, means the person registered as the owner or holder thereof and includes the trustee in an insolvent estate, the liquidator of a company which is an owner and the representative recognized by law of any owner who has died or who is a minor or of unsound mind or is otherwise under disability so long as such trustee, liquidator or legal representative is acting within the authority conferred on him by law;“real right” means any right which becomes a real right upon registration;“registered” means registered in a deeds registry;“registrar” means a registrar of deeds appointed under this Act and, when used in relation to any deeds registry, means the registrar in charge of that deeds registry; and, when used in relation to a document, means a registrar in charge of the deeds registry wherein that document is registered or registrable or intended to be used or filed;“registry duplicate” means the counterpart or copy of a deed consisting of more than one copy which is filed or intended to be filed of record in a deeds registry;“share”, in relation to land, means undivided share;“stand or lot” means any piece of land registered as a stand, lot or plot in a deeds registry;“township” includes—(a)an area of land registered in a deeds registry as one or more pieces of land, either contiguous or in close proximity to each other, which is being used or is intended to be used or which is being or is intended to be laid out or divided into sites for residential, business, industrial, building, occupational or similar purposes, or is intended or destined or likely to be used for any such purpose; and(b)any township established, approved, proclaimed or otherwise recognized as such under any enactment;“unalienated State land” means State land in respect of which no title deed, other than a certificate of State title, exists.
Part II – Administration
3. Deeds registries
4. Appointment of officers
5. Duties of registrarsThe registrar shall, subject to this Act—
6. Powers of registrarsA registrar shall have power—
7. Transactions affecting land in both areas defined in ScheduleIf it is sought to register simultaneous transactions affecting separate pieces of land situate within both areas defined in the Schedule, the registrars may, subject to the provisions of any regulations, by mutual arrangement, effect such registration in such manner as may be found expedient.
8. Registered deeds not to be cancelled except upon order of court
9. Inspection of records and supply of informationA registrar shall, on conditions prescribed and upon payment of the prescribed fees under this Act or any other enactment, permit any member of the public to inspect the public registers and other public records in his registry, and to make copies of those records or extracts from those registers and to obtain such other information concerning deeds or other documents registered or filed in the registry as prior to the 2nd January, 1960, could be made or obtained.
Part III – Registration
10. When registration takes place
11. Deeds to follow sequence of their relative causes
12. Registration of land or real right in favour of trusteeWhen any land or real right therein or a notarial bond is or has been registered or recorded in favour of a trustee in his capacity as such, such registration or recording shall be sufficient to vest successors in office of that trustee with the ownership of such land or real right or the rights under such notarial bond.
13. Preparation of deeds
14. How real rights shall be transferredSubject to this Act or any other law—
15. Special provisions relating to women
Part IV – Registration of land
Transfer of land
16. Transfer of State land
17. Registration of real rights in State land
18. Cancellation of title deeds on direction of Minister
19. Form and manner of execution of deeds of transferDeeds of transfer shall be prepared in the form prescribed by law or by regulation or in such other form as the registrar may in each case approve, and, save as in this Act or any other enactment provided or as ordered by the court in respect of deeds of transfer executed by the registrar, shall be executed in the presence of the registrar by the owner of the land described or by a notary public authorized by power of attorney by the owner, and shall be attested by the registrar.
20. Particulars required in every deedEvery deed conferring title to land shall contain the following particulars in addition to the description and area of the land concerned—
21. Diagram deeds
22. Necessity for diagrams despite issue of dispensation certificateWhere a dispensation certificate has been issued in respect of any land, no subdivision of that land and no registration over that land of a real right which is defined on a diagram shall be registered unless a diagram of that land is annexed to the title deed of that land, and upon such registration the registrar shall endorse upon that title deed a reference to such diagram.
23. Transfer from joint estateIn any transfer lodged in a deeds registry relating to land which is an asset in a joint estate, the surviving spouse shall be joined in his personal capacity with the executor of the estate of the deceased spouse except—
24. Transfer of two or more pieces of land by one deed
25. Transfer of undivided shares in land by one deed
26. Special provisions relating to transfer of undivided shares
27. Special provisions relating to undivided shares with exclusive right of occupation
28. Transfer to unascertained children
29. Deeds of partition transfer
30. Requisites where share in land partitioned is mortgaged
31. Requisites where share in land partitioned is subject to other rights
32. Effect of compliance with sections 30 and 31Upon completion of the endorsements and entries mentioned in sections thirty and thirty-one the land described in the deeds of partition transfer, and the lease, personal servitude or real right, if any, shall be deemed as fully and effectually mortgaged as if they had been hypothecated by the bond at the time of its execution, and the said land shall be deemed to be as fully and effectually encumbered by the said lease, personal servitude or real right as if it had been encumbered thereby at the time of the registration thereof.
33. Partition of land subject to fidei commissum
Substituted title deeds
34. Certificate of registered title of undivided share
35. Certificate of registered title of aggregate share
36. Certificate of registered title of one or more properties held under one deed
37. Conditions governing issue of certificates of registered title
38. Certificate of registered title taking place of lost or destroyed deed
39. Certificate of registered title to correct error in registration
40. Certificate of consolidated title of two or more pieces of land
41. Certificate of registered title of portion of piece of land
Rectification of title by endorsement
42. Rectification of title by endorsement
43. Transfer or cession by means of endorsement
Part V – Bonds
44. Execution of bonds
45. Requirements in case of bonds intended to cover future advancesNo deed or instrument of hypothecation, whether general or special, shall be of any force or effect to give any preference or priority to the payment of any advances, debts or demands made or accruing after the date of the registration of such deed or instrument unless it is expressed in such deed or instrument that it is meant or intended to cover or secure future advances, debts or demands generally, or some particular description thereof to be in the said deed or instrument described, and unless also some certain sum is expressed in such deed or instrument as a sum beyond which such future advances, debts or demands shall not be deemed to be covered or secured by the hypothecation made or created by such deed or instrument.
46. Cession of bond to secure future advancesA cession of a bond passed to secure future advances may be registered and the registration of such a cession shall not affect the provisions of the bond relating to future advances up to the amount stated in the bond.
47. Exclusion of general clause in mortgage bonds
48. Passing of bonds in favour of agents
49. Requirements in case of bonds passed by or in favour of two or more persons
Rights of mortgagees
50. Transfer of hypothecated property
51. Substitution of debtor in respect of bond
52. Notice by Master in connection with insolvent estates and further provisions relative to insolvent estates
53. Endorsement of bond after sale of executionWhenever any mortgaged immovable property has been sold in execution of a judgment of a competent court or under express authority contained in a special enactment, to satisfy any debt due in respect of a registered bond or otherwise, and the proceeds of the sale have been paid to the legal holder of the bond, the deputy sheriff or messenger concerned or the person acting under the authority of any such special enactment shall notify the registrar of any such sale and shall transmit the bond to the registrar for cancellation or release in the event of there being other properties mortgaged by the bond. The holder of the bond shall, when requested to do so by the deputy sheriff or messenger or person acting under the authority of such special enactment, deliver the bond to the deputy sheriff, messenger or person, as the case may be.
54. Consent of bond holder to registration of merger of rights of mortgagorIf the holder of a mortgaged lease of land or of mortgaged real rights in land acquires the ownership of that land, or if the holder of a mortgaged lease of real rights in land acquires those rights, or if the owner of mortgaged land which is entitled to rights of servitude over other land acquires the ownership of that other land, such acquisition of the additional land or rights shall not be registered without the consent in writing of the holder of the bond.
55. Where notarial bond to be registered
Part VI – Rights in immovable property
56. Restriction on registration of rights in immovable property
57. Creation of servitudes
58. Requirements for preparation and submission of deed of servitude
59. Restriction on registration of certain personal servitudesNo personal servitude of usufruct, usus or habitatio or any transfer or cession thereof purporting to extend beyond the lifetime of the person in whose favour it is created shall be registered.
60. Cancellation of registration of servitude
61. Transfer and mortgage of land with personal servitude thereon
62. Joint transactions by fiduciary and fideicommissary
63. Certain restrictive conditions to be of no force and effect and certain alienations, etc., of property not to be invalid on certain grounds
64. Sale of land on instalments
65. Registration of leases and sub-leases
66. Termination of registered leaseWhen a registered lease or sub-lease has terminated, the registrar shall, on a written application by the owner of the land affected thereby and the registered holder of the lease, accompanied by all deeds affected by such termination, note on all such deeds that such lease or sub-lease, as the case may be, has terminated.
67. Where lease to be registeredAny lease of immovable property which is registered in the name of the lessor in a deeds registry shall be registered in that registry, and any sub-lease of any lease so registered shall be registered in that registry.
68. Cessions of leases and sub-leasesNo cession of a lease or sub-lease shall be registered in any deeds registry unless the lease or sub-lease has been registered therein.
69. No hypothecation of leases and sub-leasesNo hypothecation of a lease or sub-lease shall be registered in a deeds registry unless such hypothecation is effected by means of—
70. Bonds hypothecating leases or sub-leases
Part VII – General
70A. Registration of deeds of trust
71. Cancellation of registration on lapse of certain registered rights
72. Transfer and cession not to be passed as securityNo transfer of land and no cession of any registered lease or sub-lease or other real right in land, except a mortgage, made as security for a debt or other obligation shall be attested by a registrar or registered in a deeds registry.
73. Transfer of immovable property by executorAn executor who desires to effect a transfer of land or a cession of real rights therein or a cession of a notarial bond in pursuance of a sale or cession for value by such executor shall lodge with a registrar—
74. Transfer duty to be paid before transferIf any land or real right in land has been settled upon or donated to an intended spouse in terms of an antenuptial contract, or if in consequence of a division of a joint estate in terms of a notarial deed executed under the provisions of section 3 of the Married Persons Property Act [Chapter 5:11], one spouse obtains more than a half share in any land or real right in land, no transfer or cession of such land or real right in land by the donor or spouse in whose name such land or right is registered to any person other than the donee or the spouse who obtains such share under such division of the joint estate, and no mortgage of such land or right by the donor or the spouse in whose name the land or right is registered, shall be executed, attested or registered by the registrar unless the duty, if any, payable on the donation or division has been paid.
75. Registration of change of name
76. Renumbering of properties
77. Deletion of conditions of title
78. Attestation of powers of attorneyPowers of attorney to pass deeds or to do any act in connection with a deeds registry shall—
79. Notice to registrar of application to courtBefore any application is made to the court for authority or an order involving the performance of any act in a deeds registry, the applicant shall give the registrar concerned reasonable notice before the hearing of such application, and such registrar may submit to the court such report thereon as he may deem desirable to make.
80. Production of documents in evidence
81. Penalty for false citement in affidavitEvery affidavit required to be produced to the registrar under the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section six shall set forth that it is made for the purposes of that paragraph; and any person who makes any such affidavit knowing it to be untrue in any material particular shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level six or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.[section amended by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]
82. Substituted copy of lost deed supersedes original which must be surrendered on recovery
83. Appeals to planning Appeals Board
84. Exemption from law for acts or omissions in deeds registryNo act or omission of any registrar or of any officer employed in a deeds registry shall render the State or such registrar or officer liable for damage sustained by any person in consequence of such act or omission:Provided that—
85. Fees of office not chargeable in certain casesNo fee of office shall be charged in respect of the preparation or issue in terms of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act [Chapter 29:12] of a title deed to any land which is acquired by a local authority in terms of that Act for public purposes or which vests in a local authority in terms of that Act.
86. Formal defectsNo act in connexion with any registration in a deeds registry shall be invalidated by any formal defect, whether such defect occurs in any deed passed or registered, or in any document upon the authority of which any such deed has been passed or registered or which is required to be produced in connexion with the passing or registration of such deed, unless a substantial injustice has by such act been done which in the opinion of the court cannot be remedied by any order of the court.
88. Special jurisdiction of magistrates courtsNotwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Magistrates Court Act [Chapter 7:10], an application in terms of subsection (7) of section sixty-three for an order for the ejectment of any person who occupies any property in contravention of the restrictive condition may be heard by a court presided over by a senior magistrate, provincial magistrate or regional magistrate, irrespective of the value of the right of occupation of the property concerned.
Part VIII – Electronic registry[Part VIII inserted by section 3 of Act 8 of 2017]
89. Interpretation in Part VIIIIn this Part—“access”, means gaining entry into, instructing or communicating with the logical, arithmetical or memory function resources of the electronic registry;“affixing a digital signature”, in relation to an electronic record or communication, means authenticating the electronic record or communication by means of a digital signature;“computer” means any electronic, magnetic, optical or other high speed data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic and memory functions by manipulation of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software or communication facilities which are connected or related to the computer in a computer system or a computer network;“computer network” means the interconnection of one or more computers through—(a)the use of satellite, microwave, terrestrial line or other communication media; and(b)terminals or a complex consisting of two or more interconnected computers whether or not the interconnection is continuously maintained;“computer system”, means a device or collection of devices, including input and output devices capable of being used with external files, which contain computer programmes, electronic instructions, and input and output data, and that performs logic, arithmetic, data storage and retrieval, communication control and other functions;“conveyancing work or notarial practice” means the preparation by a legal practitioner of any document for registration in a Deeds Registry or for attestation or execution by a Registrar;“digital signature” means an electronic signature created by computer that is intended by the registered user using it and by the Registrar accepting it to have the same effect as a manual signature, and which complies with the requirements for acceptance as a digital signature specified in section 94(1);“electronic data” means any information, knowledge, fact, concept or instruction stored internally in the memory of the computer or represented in any form (including computer printouts, magnetic optical storage media, punched cards or punched tapes) that is being or has been prepared in a formalised manner and is intended to be or is being or has been processed in a computer system or network;“electronic registry” means the computer system or computer network that constitutes the electronic version of the Deeds Registry;“electronic record or communication” means electronic data that is recorded, received or sent in an electronic form or in microfilm or computer-generated microfiche;“intermediary”, with respect to any particular electronic communication, means any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that communication or provides any service with respect to that communication;“Internet” has the meaning given to that word by the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:03] (No. 4 of 2000);“notarial practice” means the work of a notary public;“originator”, means a person who sends, generates, stores or transmits any electronic communication to be sent, generated, stored or transmitted to any other person, but does not include an intermediary;“registered user” or “user” means a person registered in terms of section 93;“self-actor” means an individual wishing to lodge any document for registration in a Deeds Registry or for attestation or execution by a Registrar—(a)on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of himself or herself and one or more other persons having a shared interest in the property in question; or(b)on behalf of a company (other than a public company) of which he or she is the alter ego, or the majority shareholder;“user agreement”, means the agreement between the registered user and the Registrar referred to in section 92.[section 89 inserted by section 3 of Act 8 of 2017]
90. Establishment of electronic registry
91. Use of electronic data generally as evidence
92. User agreementsThe registrar shall, for the purpose of regulating the use of the electronic registry by registered users, enter into a user agreement with each registered user substantially in the form set out in the Second Schedule.[section 92 inserted by section 3 of Act 8 of 2017]
93. Registration of registered users and suspension or cancellation of registration
94. Digital signatures and passwords
95. Production and retention of documentsWhere any provision of this Act prescribes or requires that documents, records, information or the like should be retained for a specific period, that requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied by a registered user if such documents, records, information or the like are so retained in electronic form that—
96. Sending and receipt of electronic communications
97. Obligations, indemnities and presumptions with respect to digital signatures and passwords
98. Alternatives to electronic communication in certain cases
99. Unlawful uses of computer systems
100. Restrictions on disclosure of information
History of this document
20 July 2018 this version
23 June 2017
02 January 1960