NEWS

Beware Of ‘Illegal’ Home Sales In Squatter Settlements, Ministry Warns

The Permanent Secretary for Housing, Sanjeeva Perera, said sellers were telling buyers that they would get the title of the land once it was developed.
08 Jun 2020 11:40
Beware Of ‘Illegal’ Home Sales In Squatter Settlements, Ministry Warns
A squatter settlement in Raiwasa.

Homebuyers are being warned to be cautious about the sale of homes located at squatter settlements.

According to the Ministry of Housing, they continue to encounter this illegal act, where the sale and purchase of houses in squatter settlements and those without titles to the land is taking place; in some cases, people are being “duped”.

The Permanent Secretary for Housing, Sanjeeva Perera, said sellers were telling buyers that they would get the title of the land once it was developed.

“What the sellers are doing is using the development as a lure, but it does not mean that you will be given the lots and titles once the settlements are developed,” he said.

“The buyers have to realise that such purchases are illegal and when informal settlements are developed, it does not mean you will get a title just because you have a house in the settlement.”

He said most houses in the informal settlements were being sold between $5000 and $20,000.

Mr Perera said the sales were happening publicly on social media as if they were legitimate deals.

In the Nanuku squatter settlement in Vatuwaqa, Suva, a family has just bought a home for $20,000. This was a cash exchange and the only evidence of the purchase is a receipt.

On the Buy and Sell Facebook page, a house is being advertised for sale at $20,000 in Wainadoi. According to the seller, it is on State Land, which would be developed in the future.

In Koka Road, Kinoya, a house built illegally on State land was sold for almost $50,000. And the Ministry of Housing has encountered two such sales at the Waidamudamu Settlement in Nausori.

Mr Perera said there were more than 250 informal settlements nationwide and Government was developing 44 of those.

“The ministry will conduct a means test based on a socio-economic survey of the settlement and only those who deserve titles will get it,” he said.

He said people had come to the ministry with sale and purchase agreements, only to find out there was no title for the land.

Real Estate Agents Licensing Board chairman Abdul Hassan said ownership of any land was recognised if an individual held a title to the land.

“A squatter occupying a piece of land either freehold, State or native land, does not hold any interest on the land,” he said.

“A person buying a building built by a squatter does not have any legal rights to the land. The landlord (owner) can remove the occupant without any compensation for the structures on the site.

“The public should refrain from dealings on squatter land.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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