Constitutional Court Rules Property Owners Aren’t Liable for Historical Debt

In what’s been hailed as a significant legal victory for property owners, the Constitutional Court has ruled that new home owners should not be held liable for historical debt incurred by the previous property owners.

Several property owners brought the case forward against municipalities such as Tshwane, eThekwini and Ekurhuleni, who all argued that it should be lawful for them to sell new homeowners’ property to pay the debt owed to them by previous owners.

This meant that current owners only truly owned the property after these arrears were paid. What’s more, a previous ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal reportedly opened the way for municipalities to take legal action against a present owner of a property for debts owed to it by former owners.

Thankfully, the Constitutional Court reviewed the case and has made it clear that municipalities have no right of recourse on new buyers.

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