Family evicted from house purchased 23 years ago

By Wellington Makonese

In a case that brings to light the importance of following proper procedures in the purchase of property, a Harare family is now living in the open after being evicted from a house purchased 23 years ago.

Owning a property is a dream for many, if not all, but the process of acquiring one could be heart breaking if proper procedures are not followed.

This is the case for a Kuwadzana man, Abraham Chawodza, who now finds himself and his family in the open, 23 years after purchasing a house from a neighbour, who is now based in Malawi.

After what could be termed a half done job, Chawodza claims that he did not change ownership of the property and the purported seller only resurfaced three years ago to reclaim ownership of the house.

After signing the agreement of sale, I gave them 68 000 dollars and later gave them 8 000 dollars. I then asked them to change the name but he claimed to be busy with something hence the delays. But I was later told the son wanted to come and chase me away…What hurts me most is that I built three rooms now I’m out when we had rains mosquitoes, I have four children,” said Chawodza.

From a legal perspective, an agreement of sale is valid for three years, which means that one risks losing the property if they do not acquire title deeds within that period.

What we are witnessing right now is people buy properties but lack the critical knowledge. Some agents can take advantage of those desperate or probably ignorant to dupe them later. At law an agreement of sale is valid for 3 years and most people don’t know this. This is one loophole that can lead them to being duped,” said Conwell Muzhanye, a Legal Expert.

The Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe’s word of advice is for aspiring home owners to be meticulous.

One has to understand the kind of property they are dealing with, there are mortgages, there are deeds which require different personnel as third parties. If the property involves council then they need to be available to authorise sales. But what we call upon is for society to engage verified agents who can be tracked,” explained Nicodemus Kuipa, Chairperson of the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe.

The Chawodza family’s plight brings to the fore the painful reality that is faced by many in modern day society and serves as a lesson to aspiring home owners.

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