A Harare family is now living in the open after being evicted from a house purchased 23 years ago.
Abraham Chawodza, from Kuwadzana, bought the house from a neighbour who is now based in Malawi.
Chiwodza 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. Said Chawodza:
After signing the agreement of sale, I gave them 68 000 dollars and later gave them a 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.
From a legal perspective, an agreement of sale is valid for 3 years, which means that one risks losing the property if they do not acquire title deeds within that period.
Mr Conwell Muzhanye, a lawyer said some agents can take advantage of those desperate or probably ignorant to dupe them later. He added:
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 be duped.
Nicodemus Kuipa, the Chairperson of Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe, said aspiring homeowners have to be careful. He explained:
One has to understand the kind of property they are dealing with, there are mortgages, there are deeds that 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.
Many people in modern-day society have lost their hard-earned money after buying assets from bogus agents.
More: ZBC News