Estate agent promises to refund home buyer

MISERY OVER: Edith Ntombela sold her house to buy another properety but ended up in this shack. 01/08/07. © Sowetan.
MISERY OVER: Edith Ntombela sold her house to buy another properety but ended up in this shack. 01/08/07. © Sowetan.

An estate agent who was accused of contravening the rules of the profession and embezzling a homeowner's money has agreed to refund the funds.

An estate agent who was accused of contravening the rules of the profession and embezzling a homeowner's money has agreed to refund the funds.

Siphamandla Zulu bought a house through estate agent Nhlanganiso Sibanda, of Prime Properties, for his mother for R62000.

Zulu said that this amount included the estate agent's R17000 commission.

Zulu said that Sibanda had not registered the house in his mother's name and she is therefor unable to pay rates and taxes.

The original owner of the house, Edith Ntombela, who now lives in a shack at Tshepong informal settlement, believes she was misled by the estate agent.

Ntombela said that before the deal went through, she found out that she owed the Johannesburg Metro Council money for water and electricity and that if she went ahead with the sale, she would be left with hardly any money, and no home.

Ntombela said that she and her husband decided to let their house, but they later decided to sell it and move far away from her "interfering in-laws".

But before Sibanda could find a buyer for their house, her husband died, said Ntombela.

"Sibanda later sold my house for R45000 and he accepted payment for it, plus his commission," Ntombela said.

This meant he would pay the outstanding amount of R33000 for the water and electricity and give Ntombela the paltry balance.

"But this was not our agreement and I refused to proceed with the sale," said Ntombela.

Sibanda acknowledged that he sold Ntombela's house to Zulu. He said that Ntombela "discovered that the Johannesburg Metro Council was not willing to waive payment of the outstanding service charges she owed to the council in order for their officials to issue her a clearance certificate.

"Without such a certificate, transfer cannot be effected," said Sibanda.

He has now promised to refund Zulu his R62000 in the next few days.

Consumer Line will keep track of the situation.

l An estate agent is obliged to keep the money in trust and only pay it out when he is lawfully entitled or instructed to make payment to the person entitled to the money.

l The general rule is that estate agents may not withdraw any commission or pay the money to the seller until the property is transferred into the name of the buyer.

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