Answer to a question from a reader

How can I kick my abusive ex out of our house?

The short answer

Because the house is in both your names, one of you can buy the other's share or you can appoint a liquidator to split the house

The whole question

Dear Athalie

I received an RDP house with my ex-boyfriend. The house is in both our names. Four years ago, he started doing drugs and beating me and our son. I have laid many complaints against him and have a restraining order against him. We went to court several times but they said I was not allowed to kick him out (and vice versa). I moved out with our son and we have been renting here and there. Meanwhile, my ex has turned our home into a drug house and has a lot of people living there with him.

What can I do to get my house back? How do I get him out?

The long answer

You know that because you and your ex-boyfriend received the RDP house, neither of you can qualify again for an RDP house. You know too that an RDP house may not be sold before eight years after you received it.

The reason that the court said that you were not allowed to kick him out even though you were granted a restraining order against him, and that he also was not allowed to kick you out, is that the house is in both your names. Unfortunately, even though the government says that it is against violence against women, there is nothing in the law that makes a special case to protect women and children who are being abused when it comes to RDP houses. 

Where there is joint ownership, both owners have to come to an agreement: either the one buys out the half-share of the other and has the property transferred to his or her name, or the house is sold and each owner gets half the money. The whole process has to be handled by a lawyer called a conveyancing attorney. It is this conveyancing attorney that advises on the best way forward and gets the title deeds transferred into the name of the owner who is buying out the share of the other.

If you can’t come to an agreement about how to divide the house between you, the court can appoint a liquidator to work out how much the house is worth and divide it between you when it is sold.

If you do not have a copy of the title deeds, it would be advisable to get one from your nearest Deeds Office. You would need to give them the erf number (not the street number), your full name and ID number and your boyfriend’s full names and ID number (if possible). It costs about R14.00 for them to do the search.

Perhaps the best place to start would be to get some legal advice from an organisation that will assist you without charging money.

This is an organisation that specifically offers legal assistance to protect and advance women’s human rights:

Helpdesk Queries:

Cape Town tel: 021 424 5660

You could also ask for advice and assistance from the following organisations:

This non-profit organisation helps abused children and their families with a free counselling service. It deals with issues such as physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, behavioural problems and trafficking, and gives legal advice.

Toll-free helpline: 0800 055 555

Email: (link sends email)

  • (provides free lawyers if they think the case is in the public interest)

Email: (link sends email)

Johannesburg: 011 339 6080

Cape Town: 087 806 6070/1/2

  • The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI)

WhatsApp, call or “please-call-me” to 073 226 4648 / 071 301 9676 / 083 720 6600 (link sends email) (link sends email)

Helpline: 072 66 33 73

Wishing you the best,

Answered on March 11, 2021, 12:10 p.m.

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