Title deeds handover could boost township property market

Posted On Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:54 Published by
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The expected handover of more than a million title deeds to owners of subsidised houses during the next five years could speed up the opening of the formal property market in areas like Soweto.

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According to the Department of Human Settlements, most of the title deeds will be handed over to owners of houses built by the government after 1994. Many homes in the former black townships were built by municipalities and handed out as rental stock on a "permission to occupy" basis. About 200,000 of the title deeds are for such houses given to occupants prior to 1994, said the department's spokesman, Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

The department has set aside R20m to complete the process of finding the beneficiaries of the housing units in townships across the country. The project is spearheaded by the Estate Affairs Agency Board, said Mr Mabaya. The department has commissioned an audit to establish the exact numbers of title deeds to be handed over. "The audit is currently on and very urgent. We gave the deadline of December for the desktop audit. We think (it) is doable. "Asked where most of the properties were located, Mr Mabaya said unclaimed title deeds related to properties throughout SA.

He singled out Johannesburg as having done the most in handing over documents to occupants of government-sponsored units. Such occupants had been turned into owners. Johannesburg has 9,682 outstanding title deeds to be handed to beneficiaries, said housing spokeswoman Bubu Xuba. In the past five years, 117,543 deeds had been handed over. The documents empower the owners to invest in properties.

"They can also take part in economic transactions and use their houses as surety," said Ms Xuba. But the department discourages recipients from selling their properties.

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:15

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