Father wants house from 'bogus' agent

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Thokozani Mhlungu and his family are fighting to occupy a house they bought in 2017.
Thokozani Mhlungu and his family are fighting to occupy a house they bought in 2017.
Image: THULI ZUNGU

When buying a house from an estate agent, find out if the agent you are dealing with is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) to ensure that you get compensated in the event that the deal turns sour.

Thokozani Mhlungu and his wife are fighting depression and their son resorted to smoking nyaope after the family bought a house that they have not been able to
occupy since 2017.

Mhlungu, 51, also discovered that he could not claim compensation from the EAAB because Lucas Molobele, the estate agent who sold him the house, last renewed his agent's certificate in 2013, he told Consumer Line.

Mhlungu was occupying a family house when the family asked him to vacate it because their relatives wanted to relocate to Johannesburg to study, he said.

He was given enough time to look for alternative accommodation and managed to make an offer to purchase a property within two weeks after the notice to vacate the house in question, he said.

Using his life's savings, Mhlungu managed to pay R250,000 cash to Molobele who told him he had a house which is situated at 2074 Zola 2 in Soweto, he said.

Mhlungu said Molobele took him to view the house but they only viewed the property from outside.

He further claimed that Molobele later took him to his transferring attorney where he [Mhlungu] paid the full money for the house.

He was also told that the house was occupied by hostile tenants and he would need to pay a further R45,000 in order to evict them, which he did, Mhlungu said.

He said to pull the wool over his eyes, Molobele took him to one of the houses he claimed he owned.

Within six months Mhlungu had occupied three houses on a temporary basis and he's now facing eviction from the fourth house because he has not been able to pay his monthly rental, he said.

"Though he [Molobele] offered to pay the rental fee, he failed to pay in full and that left me with the rental repayments I have not budgeted for," said the father of four.

Mhlungu said he thought his attorney, Ferhana Jada, knew that Molobele was not a registered estate agent and was scamming unsuspecting consumers like him.

"Jada later offered to assist him transfer the house back into Molobele's name and to refund my money, but three years later the house is still in my name but I can't occupy it," he said.

Reporting him to the Estate Agency Affairs Board has not helped because Molobele has not renewed his estate agent's certificate since 2013 and Mhlungu was informed that he was illegally selling the house to him.

He also tried to open a case of theft under false pretence but was advised by a policeman who was assisting him to get a lawyer as his case was not a criminal matter, but a civil case, he said.

Attempts to solicit a comment from Molobele drew a blank.

Jada, who registered the house into Mhlungu's name, confirmed that the sale agreement was done.

She said Mhlungu did not pay the eviction costs.

Jada further told Consumer Line that she did not proceed with the transfer into Molobele's name as he did not pay the purchase amount.

She said if she had transferred the property without securing the purchase price, Mhlungu would have been left without the property as well as the payment.

"They are at liberty to do as they wish with the property; they have not been scammed by anyone," Jada said.

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