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Deeds Office Document Search Pros and Cons



The Deeds Office ultimate authority on land ownership in South Africa.
The Deeds Office, a government entity part of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, is responsible for the registration, management and maintenance of the property registry of South Africa. It is the ultimate authority on land ownership in the country, and as such, maintains a database that is continually updated in real time. A live WinDeed Deeds Office search directly accesses this database and is, therefore, as up-to-date as the Deeds Office itself.

WinDeed receives a notification from the Deeds Office on a weekly basis of all of the property transfers captured during the previous week. This is one of the main ways we keep the WinDeed Database up-to-date, the database that is searched when you make a WinDeed Database Property search. So, the WinDeed database may not be aware of property transfers captured at the Deeds Office since the last weekly update.

If the property you are interested in is likely to have changed ownership in the last week or so, rather make a live Deeds Office search.


Deeds Office search is more expensive
A live Deeds Office search is roughly double the cost of the WinDeed database search, which is listed at a lower price. For specific pricing details, please refer to our most recent price list.

Deeds Office search is slower
When you make a live Deeds Office search, WinDeed, in real-time, places your request against the Deeds Office database, waits for the result and then displays that result to you. A search against the WinDeed database doesn’t incur the additional time penalty of the Deeds Office leg of the enquiry – we have the data here in our own database and can return the information to you much quicker.

Deeds Office system outages

There are times that the live Deeds Office information system is intentionally scheduled to be unavailable:

  • On the first working day of every month the service is down while the Deeds Office does some month-end processing.
  • The Deeds Office system is down every evening between about 11pm and 1am while the Deeds Office makes backups.

There are also times when the Deeds Office service is unintentionally unavailable – when the system just goes wrong for some reason.

Because a WinDeed Database search is serviced entirely in-house, without requiring us to make a call upon the Deeds Office system, it does not suffer from these planned and unplanned outages.