Answer to a question from a reader

If I inherit my father's house, do I still qualify for my own RDP? And can my daughter inherit it from me even if we have different last names?

The short answer

You will not qualify for an RDP house if you inherit your father's house. Your daughter can still inherit from your estate if you have different last names.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My father recently passed away, leaving just me and my brother. My brother already has a house, so I want to move into our father's house. If I do that, can I still get my own RDP house? Also, I have a daughter but we have different last names. Can she still inherit from me or do we need to have the same last name?

The long answer

The government’s policy is to keep RDP houses in the family. If your father died without making a will, you and your brother would jointly inherit your father’s house, as his descendants, if there was no surviving spouse or life partner. 

That means that you and your brother would jointly own the house, so you would not be a first-time homeowner. One of the conditions for qualifying for an RDP house is that you must be a first-time homeowner and a first-time recipient of a government subsidy house. In other words, if you have already owned a house before, or have received an RDP house before, you will not qualify.

If your father left the house to your brother in his will, you could stay there, without being a homeowner, and still qualify to apply for an RDP house.

As your brother already has a house, perhaps he might be willing to consider giving his share of your father’s house to you, so that you could put it in your name. That would mean that your daughter could inherit it from you. If he agreed, you would need to get the title deeds transferred to your name, as title deeds are the only legal proof of ownership. If he would prefer to keep his share and have your father’s house registered in both your names, that would also be possible.

You would need to find out if your father had a title deed for the house. If you don’t know, you can find out from the nearest Deeds Office. You would need to give them your father’s full name, ID number and the erf number of the plot the house is on. They would charge a fee for this, which should not be more than R20. 

The fact that your daughter does not have the same last name as you does not mean that you won’t be able to prove that she is your daughter, in terms of applying for an RDP house, or of her inheriting an RDP house from you. Your name would appear on her birth certificate or clinic card.

Perhaps you should start by discussing the options with your brother. You could also get legal advice from Legal Aid which is a means-tested organisation that must assist people who can’t afford a lawyer. These are their contact details:

Legal Aid Advice Line (Toll-free): 0800 110 110

Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179


Wishing you the best,

Answered on March 15, 2023, 12:21 p.m.

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