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My husband and I recently bought a house in a township in cape town. It was advertised in the local newspaper and online by an agent We thought it was a clear and cut buying and selling. We went through the process and after three months got the property registered in our names. We were excited to finally be moving into our own home.

Before the house was registered in our name the seller contacted us and informed us she would be leaving before the sale was complete, and that we could move into the property asap (before reg.) My husband moved in in order to guard and keep the house.

A week after he had arrived he got a visit from the street committee. Apparently the younger brother of the seller was roaming the streets homeless. The sister and her children had moved tk a distant town and he wasn’t comfortable living there. This brother is 52 and suffers from mental illness/disability.

We contacted the seller and she came to Cape town to collect her brother. We thought the matter was settled. However this happened again where the brother was found roaming, and a knock from the committee came on our door. The third time this happened we were fed up and so was the committee. A meeting was held with the seller, her brother, the committee and my husband and me, to get to the bottom and solve this once and for all.

The conclusion of this meeting was that the seller had no right to sell the house even though it was in her name. It is a family house and thus needs the permission of the family, including all siblings, to decide what happens to it. She had no right to sell and thereafter use the money entirely on her own discretion. The committee informed her she therefore has to return 50% of the selling price of the house to the brother, which will be used for his accommodation and care etc.

What is our position as the buyers in this scenario? What if the seller doesn’t honour her commitment to refund 50%? How can we protect our new home from being repossessed?

Category:  Property, General Disputes

Region: South Africa, Western Cape