The Transaction Support Centre has been open for just over a year. In the beginning, the TSC team at the Desmond Tutu Sports and Recreation Centre in Makahaza, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, met with local community groups, the local councillor, estate agents, conveyancers and residents themselves, to explain the services they offered: assisting buyers and sellers transact formally, and ensuring that property owners can realise the asset value of their housing by legally owning their claim with a title deed.  It has been difficult but rewarding and they are starting to gain traction and see some successes.

As at 17 September 2019, the TSC has facilitated seven title deed handovers and has another five transfers currently lodged in the Deeds Office. The process to regularise title and hand over a title deed to the rightful property owner is complex, time consuming and expensive. It takes months and depends on the active participation of so many of our partners: officials at the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, lenders, our conveying partners Norton Rose Fulbright and Abrahams & Gross, and others. We are therefore delighted to report that the TSC was able to regularise four informal cash sales, provide the first transfer on a property for three properties, and facilitate two intestate transfers and one donation transfer.

This is the fourth of five stories of TSC’s clients who are now the proud, legal owners of their properties:

Ms Noludumo: Administrative

On 14 March 2019, almost five years after first moving into her property, Ms Noludumo received her title deed. Image credit: Housing Finance Africa

On 14 March 2019, almost five years after first moving into her property, Ms Noludumo received her title deed. Image credit: Housing Finance Africa

In December 2018, the Transaction Support Centre met Ms Noludumo in the process of looking for a property for sale in Blue Downs. At the time Ms Noludumo was looking to sell her house to a cash buyer for R270 000. Having lived in her RDP home for five years, she had ‘had enough of Cape Town’, and wanted to move back to her hometown in the Eastern Cape, where she owned land and had plans to build a new house.

At first Ms Noludumo was very reluctant to accept a bond buyer and, as we discovered, was willing to transact informally, as she did not have the necessary documents to transact through formal processes. This was for two reasons. Firstly, the property fell within the 8-year pre-emptive clause as set out in the Housing Act 107 of 1997, which meant she could not sell her property without permission from Human Settlements. Secondly, she was not in possession of the original physical title deed, but she did have a letter from the City confirming that the property was registered in her name, and that the title deed had been issued. This letter contained no instructions on how the client should go about obtaining the physical document.

To enable Ms Noludumo to follow formal processes, the TSC offered to help her obtain the necessary waiver from the Provincial Department of Housing giving her permission to sell her house within the 8-year period. We also offered to investigate the whereabouts of her title deed. Within two weeks we had obtained the pre-emptive waiver but the process to locate her title deed took much longer. After numerous engagements with various departments within the City, we established that her title deed was sitting in a box in the City’s Area East office (one of many title deeds sitting in the same box). This, we should add, was after first being told that they did not have the client’s title deed. However, after requesting that they pay for a VA copy of the title deed from the Deeds Office, they managed to locate the document.

During this time, roughly two months, Ms Noludumo was not able to find a cash buyer, as she originally hoped, but with the knowledge that she had a pre-emptive waiver and would soon receive her title deed, she accepted an offer from a bond buyer. On 14 March 2019, almost five years after first moving into her property, Ms Noludumo received her title deed thanks to the work of the TSC.  With much joy in her eyes Ms Noludumo exclaimed, “My bags are packed, and I am ready to go to the Eastern Cape as soon as my money comes.”

Source: Housing Finance Africa