In the recent case of Naidoo and Another v Wakefields Real Estate (Pty) Limited a Durban couple who rushed into signing a sale agreement for a property before backtracking on the deal a few days later, was ordered to pay the agent’s commission and their legal fees.
After viewing the property, the Naidoos insisted on immediately signing an offer, even after the agent offered to send them the document to peruse at their own time. Nevertheless, the offer was signed and accepted by the seller on the same day. Two days later the Naidoos informed the agent that they were pulling out of the deal, as their offer was subject to their daughter’s approval, which was not given. Such a condition was not mentioned before then nor included in the contract. In court the Naidoos argued that they cannot be liable for the commission as they were not aware the agent could claim payment from them in terms of the agreement.
The court held that they only had “themselves to blame” for their ordeal, due to their failure to properly read the document before signing. The court found that they were bound to the agreement in terms of the caveat subscriptor principle, which means “let the buyer beware”!