Answer to a question from a reader

My father in-law had a house but he died in 2016, while he was waiting for his title deed. What can we do to get the title deed?

The short answer

The problem is that it is only the title deed that can prove that your father-in-law was the legal owner of the RDP house. The municipality should have his application though.

The whole question

My father in-law had a house but he died in 2016, while he was waiting for his title deed. The municipality has said it has reversed the title deed because he is no longer alive, and they are now taking back the house. But he left a will saying his grandchild is the beneficiary and my husband should take care of the house while she is a minor. Is that possible?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking whether the municipality can take back your late father-in-law’s RDP house as he was still waiting for his title deed when he died.

The problem is that it is only the title deed that can prove that your father-in-law was the legal owner of the RDP house, and had the right to leave it to his dependants. The municipality should have a record though, of your father-in-law applying for the title deed.

As it is government policy that RDP houses should be kept in the family, and as your father-in-law left a will making his grandchild his beneficiary and explicitly saying that his son should take care of it until she came of age, we do not understand why the municipality would “reverse the title deed”.

You could contact your nearest Deeds Office and ask them what has happened with the title deeds, for a start. You will need to go in person to the Deeds Office, with the erf number of the plot and your father-in-law’s ID. It will cost R14.00 for them to do a search for the title deed.

You could also contact Legal Aid, explain the situation with the title deed and the municipality, show them the will, and ask for advice:

Legal Aid Advice Line (Toll-free): 0800 110 110

Legal Aid Ethics Hotline: 0800 153 728

Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179

The MEC for Housing in each province has the power to change a decision of the municipality, and you can appeal to the MEC in your province.

Answered on Oct. 4, 2019, 2 p.m.

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