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Welcome to Scorpion’s Legal Tips! Every week we’ll share stories of injustice and show you how you can strike back legally.
“My husband’s uncle gave us an RDP house 6 years ago, but his uncle has since passed. How can we go about getting the house in our name?” This is one of the questions that recently came up on our Facebook page. Scorpion Legal Protection explains how transferring ownership of an RDP house works.
The first thing you should do is check if there is a title deed for the RDP house. It would have been issued to the owner of the house – your husband’s uncle – but it could be in someone else’s name too if the house was given to your uncle or passed between family members.
To find out, you can go to your nearest Deeds Office and ask for help at the information desk. They will give you a form to fill in. To help you, they will need the full name(s) and/or ID number of the person who owns the property, as well as the erf number of the house (not the street address). There is a small fee you have to pay for them to do this search for you, about R15.
The person whose name is on the title deed of the RDP house is the legal owner and has the right to sell the house or leave it to a beneficiary. In the case of your husband’s uncle, he may have left it to someone in his will, or to no one at all.
You and your husband will have to approach the Master of the High Court to apply for a letter of authority. You will need to prove that the uncle either had no spouse, children, parents or siblings or that they are deceased, and that there is no family alive to inherit the RDP house. If there are family members alive that should inherit intestate (meaning the person died without leaving a will and their assets will be divided among the immediate family, like wife and children), then your husband will have to show that these people have renounced their right to inherit intestate.
Once the letter of authority has been received, your husband can get the property transferred into his name. What the uncle should have done is draft a deed of donation according to Section 2(1) of the Alienation of Land Act or he should have specifically put it in his will that your husband would inherit the RDP house when the uncle passed.
To get the deed transferred into your husband’s name, you will need to use a specialist lawyer called a conveyancing attorney. The conveyancer will ensure that the change of ownership is signed by the Registrar and that a copy is kept at the Deeds Office.
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If you have a query, ask Scorpion Legal Protection on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (every first Thursday of the month).
* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 19 April 2021
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