Answer to a question from a reader

My late employer's son wants to claim his father’s RDP house where I've lived for 23 years. Can he do that?

The short answer

It depends on who he named as the beneficiary of the house.

The whole question

I was taking care of the owner of an RDP house from 1997 until he passed away in 1999.  I have been staying in the RDP house since that time, but now his son wants to claim the house after 23 years. Can he do that?

The long answer

If his father made a will naming you as the beneficiary of the house, the son would have no claim. If his father did not make a will, the Intestate Succession Act of 1987 applies. This means that where a person does not make a will, his spouse (if there is a living spouse) is first in line to inherit, followed by his children. Legally, the son can claim the house if his father made no will naming another person.

But to get you out of the house, the son must get an eviction order from a court, which can only be executed after Level 3 lockdown is over. (This is under the PIE Act of 1998(Prevention of Illegal Evictions From and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act).

He must inform you that he is seeking a court order to evict you, and he must give you a copy of the date of the court hearing. Both the son and you must attend the hearing to put your own sides of the story. You can be represented by a lawyer and if you can’t afford a lawyer you can approach Legal Aid to represent you. The municipality must also attend to say whether it can provide alternative accommodation if the eviction order is granted. The court must take into account how long you have lived there, how old you are and you will be affected by an eviction. The court must feel that an eviction is fair and right in the circumstances. Even if an eviction order is granted, it can only be carried out after Level 3 is over, unless the court feels that it is fair and right to evict you immediately, which is very unlikely.   

This is Legal Aid’s contact information, if you need to consult them:

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

Legal Aid Ethics Hotline: 0800 153 728

Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179

Answered on July 6, 2020, 8:25 a.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.