WINDHOEK – A degree of ignorance on the part of homeowners is a major contributing factor in the loss of houses through shady deals, says minister of Justice, Sakeus Shangala.
This degree of ignorance coupled with desperation, unmanageable debts, unemployment and other socio-economic factors result in homeowners succumbing to pressure and giving in to shady deals, donating their homes or selling it for a much-reduced price to family or friends amplifies Shangala. He notes that those who fall prey to such injustices are the vulnerable people in the society, as they have no understanding of the process. Thus, they are left out on the prospect of making a profit on their homes, which consequently results in them being left empty handed.
The ministry is currently carrying out consultations with relevant stakeholders to find solutions that will protect homeowners from losing their homes through shady dealings. The minister last Thursday opened a stakeholder consultation on the amendment of the High court Act 1990 and Magistrates Court Act 1994. He says it is the state’s duty to protect the rights of its citizen, and to curb and prevent unfair treatment of vulnerable groups. “During this discussion, we must consider what would be the most effective and deterrent action against illegal sales in execution. We will also consider the effect of the other suggested amendments and how the industry can contribute to educating lenders,” notes Shanghala.
Some of the proposed solutions to be discussed include the introduction of a ‘payment holiday’ on home loans where no additional interest is added for at least six months in the event of a homeowner being without an income, sales of homes being subjected to additional tax burdens to avoid exploitation, Ensuring that contractual terms are fair and exhausting all options before a repossession order. Further, the property in question must not be the primary residence of the execution debtor and any proposed legislation should cater for more transparent processes of auctioning.