There was much joy when the first 37 title deeds for residents of Protea Heights in Kewtown were handed out on Thursday November 28 at the minor hall in the Dulcie September civic centre.
Although the residents were proud to be homeowners, they were cautioned to get their wills in order to prevent family feuds.
Sub-council 17 chairman George March told the new homeowners that with their title deeds their wills must be put in place.
“This was a long process. I am appealing to you to keep this document safe. Please do not use it to make a loan. Also don’t make the mistake of allowing others to live in your home while you live elsewhere. This can complicate matters,” Mr March cautioned.
Grant Twigg, mayoral committee member for urban management, apologised that it had taken four years to give the beneficiaries their title deeds.
“The process of the administration is what made this take so long. However, we have now put a budget aside to speed up the issuing of title deeds. I would also like to urge you to make copies of your title deed and to keep the original safe.
“When I was younger, I never knew the importance of home ownership, but I have learnt that a title deed can unlock some capital for you. I am not saying that you must go out and make a loan, but if you have the capability to start a successful business, for example, your title deed can assist you in applying for capital from banks.
“Now is also an opportune time to have a family meeting. Make your wishes clear to your children, to prevent children fighting over your property. And as much as you love your child, don’t sell your house to him or her. In most cases, they throw you in the backyard in a hokkie once they take ownership,” Mr Twigg said.
Mr March said his office was open to any of the beneficiaries who needed guidance and assistance, especially those who did not have a will yet. He also reminded the beneficiaries that they could not sell their properties within the first eight years of ownership.
Ivan Faure, 63, said he had been on the housing waiting list for 40 years, and being a homeowner “means the world to me”.
“Now I can leave an inheritance for my children,” he said.
Olga Hearne, 63, said she loved her new home, and the community was “nice and quiet”.
Rashieda Klaasien, 57, said that after years of taking abuse from landlords, she was happy to finally be a home-owner.
“When you stay with others, you always have to ask permission for everything – permission to braai, permission to have visitors, etcetera. Now I have the freedom to enjoy my own space.”
Another thrilled beneficiary, Hilstasha James, 59, said she thanked God for her home.
“I am proud that I have a roof over my head. I had a stroke seven years ago, which left me wheelchair-bound. I was not able to do anything for myself, but through prayer and determination, I am now able to do certain things.
“I have been on the housing waiting list since 1986, and this is a dream come true.”
Louisa Simons, 51, said she was relieved to have her own home after being a backyarder for 19 years.