Five disheartening notes on RDP Houses

1. The Government Subsidy Houses sector is the fastest growing property market, according to the 2015 Budget Speech. One can only qualify for an RDP house once, should one meet all the National Housing Subsidy Scheme criteria. The idea of such houses is for government to give a low income family a home and for that home to be passed down from generation to generation.

2. It is illegal to sell an RDP house before a period of eight years. Yet many of these houses are advertised, often even openly online, prior to this period of eight years. The ‘buyer’ might pay a sum of money and contracts might be signed, but the title deed of the relevant house stays in the name of the ‘seller.’ This inevitably leads to trouble.

3. What sometimes happens next is that the ‘seller’ would pass on and his/ her children for example would inherit the RDP house. The children then become the legal owners (as per the title deed of the house) and demand the ‘buyer’ to leave the property.

4. At present there is no penalty for buying or selling an RDP house illegally, however, government is looking into this. Government is also trying to implement laws that would penalize anyone and everyone who knows of an illegal RDP sale, but does not report it to the municipality immediately.

5. Many people also rent out their RDP house to others prior to the eight year period. This is also illegal. Government has pointed out a few times that an RDP house is not a substitute for a job, it is rather an opportunity to own a house, especially for previously disadvantaged South Africans, and a base from which one can go to work to put food on the table.