Answer to a question from a reader

How do I transfer ownership of an RDP house?

The short answer

The first thing to check is that there is a title deed for the house.

The whole question

Hello, I would like to know the procedure to be followed in order for one to be able to change ownership of an RDP house. I've been living and staying in one for 20 years now.

Apparently the owner left the house in my parents care before she died in 1998 and our surnames are not the same.

So I want to change the ownership into my name because both my parents passed away in 2017. I am staying with my young sister, girlfriend and my daughter.

I've been up and down trying to solve the issue with no luck. I am stuck now because I want do some renovations like wall fencing. 

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking how you can transfer ownership of the RDP house you have been living in for 20 years into your name.

The first thing to check is that there is a title deed for the house, which would have been issued to the owner who left the house in your parent’s care when she died in 1998.

To find out, you would need to go in person to the information desk at your nearest Deeds Office and they would help you fill out the prescribed form. They will only give out this information if you have the full names and / or ID number of the owner of the property, or at least her date of birth. You would also need the correct erf number, not the street address. You would have to pay R14 for them to do this data search which should take about 30 to 60 minutes.

If the title deed was lost or destroyed, a copy in the form of a computer printout can be obtained from the Deeds Office.

If there is a title deed in the name of the previous owner, you would need a lawyer, called a conveyancing attorney, to transfer the title deed into your name. The conveyancing attorney sees to it that the title deed is signed into your name by the Registrar of Deeds and files a copy in the Deeds Office.

The conveyancing attorney will charge a fee, which can be as much as R7,680, for all the paperwork that must be done to transfer the title deeds to you. It may be worth asking your municipal office if they can assist you to get it done more economically. They may also have the names of conveyancing attorneys that you can contact.

If you find that the owner never had a title deed for her house, you can bring an application to the high court to ask for a declaratory order that the house be transferred into your name. You would need proof that the house was left in your parents’ care and that you have lived in the house for 20 years.

You could ask Legal Aid to assist you with the application:

Tel: 0800 110 110 (Monday to Friday 7AM - 7PM) 
079 835 7179 (Please Call Me) 
email:[email protected]

Wishing you all the best.

Answered on Oct. 31, 2019, 1:47 p.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.