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How can we stop our mother from selling the house that we have 50% claim to?

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My parents received an RDP house in Delft. When they separated, my father left me and my sister his half of the house. Our mother has since married again and wants the house to be just on her name but she can't do that without our approval. If the house is in her name, it means she faked the letters as if we had written them. What can we do to stop her from selling the house?

The long answer

Perhaps you should find out first in whose name the title deeds were issued for the house. You would need to go to your nearest Deeds Office in person, with the erf number of the house, not the street address, and your mother’s and father’s ID numbers if you have them and ask them to check if title deeds were issued to your mother and father jointly. You would need to pay about R14 for the search and they can give you a copy if there are title deeds.

If both your parents’ names are on the deeds, both are the legal owners and your mother would not be able to sell the house without your father’s consent. If only your father’s name was on the deeds, but they were married in community of property, they would each own half the house. Both owners have to release their claim on the property before the title can be transferred to a new owner. Your father would have to agree to release his claim to the house, or your mother would have to buy your father’s share of the house, in order to put the house in her name. The whole process has to be handled by a lawyer called a conveyancer.

How did your father leave you and your sister his half of the house, when he and your mother separated? Was it written down and signed? If it was, perhaps you could take this to the municipality and ask them to help you keep your claim to the house. RDP houses are supposed to be kept in the family. If it wasn’t written down, perhaps you could go to your father and ask him to make an affidavit confirming that he has not sold his half of the house and has left it to you and your sister.

If there were no title deeds issued, you could go to the municipality where your parents made their application for the RDP house, explain the situation, and ask them to advise you on what you can do now. 

You may also want to consult Legal Aid: 

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

Legal Aid Ethics Hotline: 0800 153 728

Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179

Wishing you the best,

Answered on April 8, 2021, 2:55 p.m.

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