South Africans are 20 times more likely to have their homes repossessed than elsewhere in the world.
Imagine losing your home for an outstanding debt of less than R1000. It might sound outrageous, but South African law makes it possible for banks to foreclose to recoup even the smallest debt. Properties are then sold at a fraction of their market value while homeowners are forced to keep paying. Watch the Carte Blanche investigation here
"Do you have to use a sheriff's auction system?"
- Douglas Shaw on the iStart2 Show
In 2015, an estimated 10 000 repossessed homes were sold on auction in South Africa. Most of these homes were sold at just a fraction of the market value, leaving struggling home owners seriously out of pocket.
How do we change these injustices? Is everyone at our banks bad or have they just got multiple personality disorder? Maybe just the leadership? What about the other collaborators like property auctioneers, curators and other parties benefitting from injustice? What do you do when the Sheriff comes knocking at your door? Does the Constitution still matter?
Thought of the Day: Home Repo and your Human Rights
According to the Constitution, “everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing” and “no one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished without an order of court made after considering all relevant circumstances”.
- However, this does not mean you can never be evicted from your home. The legal responsibility still lies with you to ensure you repay your bond each month.
- Should you not be able to pay the required amount, you are legally obliged to inform your bank in writing immediately.
- Banks can only apply for a foreclosure after three months of non-payment.
- The bank must apply for a forfeiture order at the High Court of Magistrate before any further steps against you may be taken.
- Once the order has been granted, a court-appointed sheriff will be instructed to deliver a summons to you. You have the right to ask the sheriff to show you his valid identification card and the official court order before allowing them onto your property.
- Only a sheriff is legally allowed to remove items from your home or take possession of property. No debt collector, tracer, bank representative or agent may remove a single item from your home.
- Should anyone besides a sheriff order you to hand over property, you have the right to refuse.
- If you are unsure, you can always contact the South African Board of Sheriffs.
Read more about your rights here