Answer to a question from a reader

Can I sell my RDP house if I have not received my title deed?

The short answer

You need to have the title deed to sell the house. You also need to first offer it back to the municipality before you can sell it.

The long answer

You probably know it’s illegal to sell an RDP house within the first eight years of receiving it. The only legal proof of house ownership is a title deed, which you should have received by now if you have lived there for eight years.

However, there has been an enormous delay in issuing title deeds for RDP houses. The reason seems to be that the developers were allowed to go ahead with building the houses before they had registered the deeds, and often they simply didn’t bother to register the deeds, as this represented a small amount of money compared to the much larger amount for the building work. This meant that the work of registering the deeds was left up to the municipalities to do, and often they didn’t have the budget, the staff, or the know-how to register all the properties.

But if you have been there for eight years and you haven’t yet received the title deed, the municipality should be roped in to help you get it. You could take all the documents that you have to prove that it is your house and ask them to help you get the title deed. The municipality has a constitutional duty to assist you. You should carefully note the name of the person at the municipality that you speak to and the date, in case you have to take the problem higher.

You probably also know that you are first supposed to offer the house back to the municipality to buy.   

To legally sell an RDP house, the title deeds must be transferred from the seller to the buyer, which involves a lawyer called a conveyancer to get the transfer done through the Deeds Office. This could cost around R7,800.

If the municipality cannot assist you, you could approach This is an NGO that has offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, which instructs lawyers who are prepared to assist people who cannot afford a lawyer. Doing work Pro Bono means doing it for the public good rather than for payment. These are the contact details for

Cape Town:



Wishing you the best,

Answered on Jan. 26, 2024, 9:02 a.m.

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