Quick house sales cause chaos

The illegal sale of houses is causing havoc in the Copesville area as residents battle to get their homes registered in their name.

Some residents who have bought their homes in good faith find themselves being evicted by the previous owners a few months later - and there is nothing they can do. The house is not in their name.

Joyce Gounder is one such person. Gounder bought a house for R10 000 in Portia Drive, Copesville, two months ago and was shocked when two days ago when the old owners demanded that she and her family move out.

"Legally the house is still theirs because it is still on their name, but I paid them for it. My children and I have nowhere to go," she said on Monday.

She said the previous owners, whom she had tried numerous times to contact after buying the house, had not even offered to give back the R10 000 she paid.

Deon Chetty, who paid R9 000 for his house seven month ago, is refusing to move out of his house after the original owners refused to refund his money. He said previous attempts to transfer the house into his name had been unsuccessful.

Sellers say they are leaving because of increased crime, but Superintendent Joshua Gwala said that if there was increased crime in the area, it was not being reported to police.

New owners, who have not had their houses registered in their name, face the additional prospect of no electricity.

Pietermaritzburg's electricity department will not connect anyone in Copesville unless they are the lawful owners.

A tenancy agreement or proof of ownership needs to be provided to the electricity department.

Chetty said: "I have been living in the house for seven months without electricity and have tried numerous times to connect, but nothing has been done."

Long-time resident Bobby Padayachee said that many new owners in frustration connect to the electricity grid illegally.

He said homes were being sold for between R5 000 and R15 000 depending on the size and location. The sales are quick cash transactions with no procedures being followed, he said.

"There is no transfer of property. The owners just move out, and new people just move in. No rules are being followed," said Padayachee.

"People need to be advised of their rights and the correct channels set forth," he said.

Mzundusi councillor Henry Ngubane said that he has been trying for months to get the Department of Housing to resolve the issue of illegal selling and occupation of houses in Copesville, but with no success. He has attending meetings in both Pietermaritzburg and Durban on the issue.

Despite numerous phone calls official comment was not immediately available from the department of housing, except to say that the department is aware of the problem.

  • This article was originally published on page 1 of Daily News on June 07, 2005

Article by: Sherlissa Peters - www.iol.co.za