From the news desk

City warns of illegal RDP houses

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The City of Cape Town has urged potential buyers of RDP houses to make sure that the house they are buying can be sold legally.  The city says residents must be careful when buying a State-subsidised dwelling, commonly referred to as an RDP house, as there are restrictions on the sale of these houses – especially within the first few years following the acquisition of the property by beneficiaries.

In accordance with the National Housing Act, the sale of an RDP house is forbidden for eight years after the beneficiary has acquired the house, unless the Western Cape Government has approved the sale.

“Illegal sales are unfortunately taking place outside of the official Deeds Office process of transfer and registration of title. This is happening without the City or the relevant authority being involved. Every so often we receive heartbreaking reports of a buyer who has paid money for an RDP house which it turns out may not be sold as it is in the prohibited period. Only properties that are outside of the eight-year pre-emptive restriction period can be sold or advertised for selling legally,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen.

“I urge those who receive subsidised housing to view their home as a great asset. To this end, the City hosts educational sessions with its beneficiaries to explain the benefit of owning and retaining an asset. We understand that the majority of our beneficiaries were prevented from owning property under the apartheid regime. As a City, we therefore dedicate significant resources to the education of beneficiaries of subsidised housing – in terms of financial management, basic legal advice, general home maintenance and repairs, and establishing food gardens to increase food security.”

Section 10 (a), paragraphs 1 and 3 of the National Housing Act states:

(1) Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in any other law, it shall be a condition of every housing subsidy, as defined in the Code, granted to a natural person in terms of any national housing programme for the construction or purchase of a dwelling or serviced site, that such person shall not sell or otherwise alienate his or her dwelling or site within a period of eight years from the date on which the property was acquired by that person unless the dwelling or site has first been offered to the relevant provincial housing department.

(3) When the person vacates his or her property, the relevant provincial housing department shall be deemed to be the owner of the property and application must then be made to the Registrar of Deeds by the provincial housing department for the title deeds of the property to be endorsed to reflect the department’s ownership of that property.

“I would advise residents that if you are looking into buying an RDP house, you make sure that the property is not subject to the restrictive conditions and, if in doubt, approach your local housing office or the Western Cape Government’s Housing Tribunal for more information,” said Councillor Van Minnen.

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