Answer to a question from a reader

My ex and I registered for an RDP house together. What will happen now that we have split up?

The short answer

If you can agree on who should get the house, one of you can buy the other's share and become the full owner.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My ex and I have two children – one adult and one teenager. In 2010, we registered for an RDP house together. What is going to happen to it now that we are no longer together?

The long answer

When you applied for the RDP house, both your name and your ex-partner’s name were added to a database, and they would still be on that database. If you separate from your partner, neither of you will be granted another subsidy with a new partner, because you can only ever get one RDP house. 

The aim of the government is that RDP houses should remain in the family and be inherited by the children. The children have the right to stay in the house until they are in a position to apply for their own houses.

The title deeds are the only legal proof of ownership, and both your name and your ex-partner’s name would appear on the deeds – if you have received the deeds. If you have never received the deeds, you should ask the municipality to assist you to get them.

If you have been in the house for longer than eight years, you can come to an agreement with your ex-partner about selling the house and sharing the money from the sale. You can also agree that you can buy your share of the house from her, or she can buy her share of the house from you. That would involve transferring ownership and you would need a conveyancing attorney to do all the paperwork and register the change in title deeds at the Deeds Office. 

If you and your ex-partner can’t come to an agreement about the house, the court can appoint a liquidator who will decide what it’s worth and what each of you can get from its sale.

You could also ask for advice and help from a paralegal organisation like the Black Sash, or from lawyers at Legal Aid. Legal Aid is a means-tested organisation.

Helpline for free paralegal advice: 072 663 3739

[email protected] (link sends email)

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

Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179

You could ask the Housing Department in your province for advice:

Housing Enquiries Hotline: 0800 146 873

Mpumalanga: 013 766 6087

Gauteng: 011 355 4000

Western Cape: 079 769 1207 (Please Call Me)

Eastern Cape: 043 711 9901/2/3

KwaZulu Natal: 033 392 6400 or 033 336 5300

North West: 018 388 5403

Limpopo: 015 284 5000

Northern Cape: 053 830 9422

Free State: 051 405 3883

Wishing you the best,

Answered on March 11, 2021, noon

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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.