One of the obstacles preventing access to urban land and markets by the poor is a lack of literacy in poor communities, especially when having to engage with formal documentation.
Urban LandMark workshops, conferences and research projects consistently identify an urgent need for education programmes to improve literacy and build awareness in poor communities about their rights and responsibilities as homeowners. A joint initiative by Urban LandMark and the Department of Human Settlements is now addressing this challenge by developing a title literacy module for home owners, especially those living in state-funded RDP housing and low-end bank-mortgaged houses.
The module will focus on the range of needs of first-time home owners which relate to holding title to property. This aspect is significant, for example, in terms of RDP homes, in particular to address issues that arise when owners decide to sell such houses, rent out homes, and bequeath or transfer title in the event of death.
Reference groups - including home ownership experts, government officials, financiers, conveyancers and estate agents - will be formed to provide practical input on developments on the home ownership and title front. Such a process will provide invaluable information to consumers, enabling them to make informed decisions around buying or selling or bequeathing property or homes, and guide them through property transfer processes and their medium to long-term implications.
It is hoped that the booklet, which will be available in a number of official languages, will enable homeowners to understand the key processes of buying and selling existing houses in the formal market. It also aims to enhance homeowners' understanding of the development process (turning a vacant piece of land into a plot with services and a house), as well as the roles of the different actors involved.