Answer to a question from a reader

I bought an RDP house but the previous owner never gave me a title deed and he's disappeared. How do I get a title deed?

The short answer

You would need to go in person to the Deeds Office with the erf number of the plot and the full name and/or ID number of the previous owner.

The whole question

I bought an RDP house 15 years ago in Old Crossroads. The owner didn't have the title deed yet. Eventually left to go to the Eastern Cape. I haven't heard from him since then and don't know where I can find him.

How can I get the title deed for my house?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking how you can get the title deed to the RDP house you bought 15 years ago from someone who was still waiting for the title deed at the time.

You would need to go in person to the Deeds Office (90 Plein Street, Cape Town) with the erf number of the plot and the full name and/or ID number of the previous owner. They will help you fill out a form to check whether the deed was registered and you will have to pay a search fee of R14.00.

If they find the deed, they can advise you how to have it transferred into your name. This usually involves a lawyer called a conveyancing attorney who will do the transfer and may charge a fee of around R7,685 which includes VAT.

As you are in Cape Town, it may be worthwhile checking whether you could be assisted to get the title deed transferred by an organisation called the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF). CAHF set up the Transaction Support Centre (TSC) with research consultancy 71point4 in Khayelitsha in 2018 to help with buying and selling RDP houses and getting title deeds. They have brought on board a firm of lawyers called Norton Rose Fulbright which does not charge conveyancing fees.

You can contact them at the Desmond Tutu Recreation Hall in Paul Avenue, Khayelitsha

Tel: 061 863 7169 or 081 783 0281

You can also contact Illana (illana@71point4.com) or Jessica (jess@71point4.com) for more information on the TSC, which is based at Norton Rose Fulbright’s offices at:

7th Floor, Norton Rose House, 8 Riebeek Street, Cape Town, 8001

+27 (0)21 286 2585

info@71point4.com

If you find that the owner never had a title deed for his house, you can bring an application to the high court to ask for a declaratory order that the house be transferred into your name.

Again, you could ask the Transaction Support Centre if they could assist you, or you could ask Legal Aid for advice and assistance here:

0800 110 110 (Monday to Friday 7AM - 7PM) 
079 835 7179 (Please Call Me) 
communications2@legal-aid.co.za

Answered on Oct. 24, 2019, 3:34 p.m.

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