House owners lack title deeds

Many houses in Zimbabwe’s high density residential areas have no economic value and cannot be used as collateral to secure funding from banks and development agencies.

Mangwana
Mangwana

Prominent lawyer and former cabinet minister, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, says many residents do not enjoy property rights and risk losing their homes as they do not possess the title deeds.

He was speaking at a local hotel at the launch of a new housing delivery strategy by the Ministry of Local Government. Over 100,000 houses were built in parts of Caledonia, Harare North and East to home owners without property rights while houses in old residential areas of Mufakose, Dzivarasekwa, Kambuzuma and Tafara suffer the same plight of not having occupational rights.

“The absence of property rights means that people have no right to occupation, this is because there are no written documents between the Ministry of Local Government and the housing co-operatives. If something happens to the chairperson of the co-operative and when there are multiple claims to the stand people are at risk of losing their houses,” he said.

Mangwana blamed the ministry for ignoring the importance of property rights. There are only two deeds’ offices in the whole country, one in Harare and one in Bulawayo.

“The leadership is not cautioning the people on the importance of title deeds. Local authorities must ensure that people have property rights before issuing land for development,” he said.

Representatives of housing co-operatives said the process of acquiring title deeds was complicated.

“We finished some parts of the project and we are waiting for title deeds. When it comes to the issue of title deeds, it is a mission,” said a representative of co-operatives in Harare.

Mangwana said his organisation, the Zimbabwe Property Rights Trust, (ZiPRT) was advising people on the need to acquire title deeds for their properties and stands as a form of security.

A significant number of new home-owners is acquiring stands through co-operatives, which are not issuing any legal documents or title deeds to their members to confirm their ownership. This is the major reason why many people are having their houses demolished.

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