Bank, agent won’t pay for vandalised house

2010-11-13 14:31

A Johannesburg home owner whose property was vandalised during the period when it was being transferred into his name will not be compensated – not any time soon.

However, the bank has agreed to refund Richard Molefe R5?700 he was duped into paying in transfer costs, despite a 100% bond ­approval by First National Bank (FNB).

Hotline intervened after Molefe complained that neither the bank nor the estate agent was willing to accept liability for the damage that was caused.

He spent about R12?000 repairing the vandalised house, which he insisted was in good condition at the time of purchase.

“The voetstoots clause was properly explained to me.

“And the house was in perfect condition at the time of the sale.

“Now that the deal is done, the estate agent has received her ­commission and I am making monthly repayments to the bank, nobody wants to listen to me any more.

“I am thankful that the bank has refunded me the registration costs. I also acknowledge Hotline’s effort, but it is still a frustrating ­situation,” said Molefe.

In July Molefe responded to an advertisement where FNB offered 100% bonds on houses bought through a website.

Leapfrog Properties facilitated the transaction and the property was registered in Molefe’s name on September 9.

Molefe occupied the property on the day of registration, but then he discovered that windows and doors were broken, the bathroom had been vandalised and the ­geyser stolen.

Molefe reported the matter to the police and in the meantime decided to pay for the repairs.

“I was desperate to move into the property and could not do without a bathroom.

“I hoped I would claim from the bank at a later stage.

“However, the bank referred me to the estate agent, who refused to settle my claim. It is such a nightmare,” said Molefe.

Hotline referred the complaint to Leslie Swanepoel of FNB home loans.

Swanepoel said the bank was ­under no obligation to pay for the repairs to the property.

He explained that the property had not been repossessed and that it still belonged to the previous owner when it was sold.

Through the Leapfrog website, the bank helped distressed home owners to sell their property speedily, he said.

“The R5?700 paid to the attorneys was already included in the bond package. The money will be credited to Molefe. The estate agent has advised Molefe to lay a civil claim,” said Swanepoel.

The Estate Agency Affairs Board has conceded that the ­estate agent was under no obligation to ­compensate Molefe.

Pierre Olivier of the board’s legal department said there was no binding relationship between the estate agent and Molefe because the former was only there to introduce the seller to the buyer.

He said Molefe would have to prove when the property was vandalised before pointing any ­fingers.

“The matter is between the seller and the purchaser,” said Olivier.

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