Every South African dreams of owning a home; for most, that dream will only be a reality because of RDP houses and government-subsidised houses.
That’s because, for many South Africans, the decades-long disparity between the wealthy and the poor coupled means the dream of owning a home is still far from being realised. In fact, two-thirds of the population have never owned a home. Recent events like the pandemic and record-breaking unemployment make this possibility even more challenging than ever before. Thankfully the government is still helping many South Africans realise the dream of owning a home by building and distributing RDP houses.
Most RDP houses are in cities, making them the perfect place to help recipients access other opportunities and services.
The Reconstruction and Development Program is one way the South African government addresses the lack of homeownership in South Africa. Additionally, the program aims to provide access to water, electricity, and municipal services in poorer communities. To help in this mission, the government has launched subsidised housing, known as RDP housing.
For those who are eligible for RDP houses, there aren’t any costs associated with owning the property. Eligible recipients don’t have to purchase the home, nor do they have to provide any type of home deposit. However, accessing an RDP house requires stringent requirements to ensure only the truly impoverished and disenfranchised receive the homes.
Since the purpose of RDP housing is to help impoverished and struggling South Africans, the prerequisites ensure that only those who meet these criteria are eligible. Also, the Department of Human Settlement will be sure to verify that the information you provide meets the following criteria.
That said, to qualify for an RDP house, you must:
- Be a South African citizen
- Earn or make less than R3,500 a month per household
- Be contractually capable (which means able to understand and enter into a contract)
- Be cohabiting with a partner or married or be single with dependants
- Have never owned or co-owned a home
- Not be receiving any other government subsidy
- If you’re a military veteran, you need to be single without financial dependents.
- If you’re an aged person, you need to be single without financial dependents.
If you meet these criteria, you can follow the steps below to apply for an RDP house.
If you are sure you meet the qualifications for an RDP house, applying for one can be difficult. However, if you follow the steps below, they will help you begin the process of getting an RDP house.
The first step is to ensure you fall into the category of those who can receive an RDP house. If not, your application will be immediately declined. However, even if you don’t qualify for an RDP house, you can try getting a government housing subsidy through FLISP.
If you do qualify, you will need your ID document, payslip (if you are working) and your spouse or partner’s ID if you are married. You will also need certified copies of your children’s birth certificates. You can attach these documents to your application form.
Unfortunately, there are no RDP house application forms online. Therefore, you will need to go to your local municipality to receive a form, or you can visit your local Department of Human Settlement to get your application form. If you can’t travel to one of the locations, you can ask your local councillor for a form or contact the Department of Human Settlement at 0800 146 873.
Once you have filled in the form, you must drop it off at your municipality or Department of Human Settlement.
The list below should help you find your local Department of Human Settlement.
Limpopo Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: Corner 28 Market Street & 20 Rabe Street, Polokwane
- Phone Number: 015 294 2000 or 015 284 5000
Free State Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: 7th Floor, OR Tambo House, Corner Markgraaf & St. Andrew Street, Bloemfontein
- Phone Number: 051 403 3379 or 051 403 3392
Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office: No 7 Government Boulevard, Riverside Park, Ext 2, Mbombela, 1200
- Phone Number: 013 766 6088
- Gert Sibande Regional Office: 11 De klerk Street, Emerlo, 2350
- Gert Sibande Regional Office Phone Number: 017 811 1177
Gauteng Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: 40 Justice Mahomed St, Sunnyside, Pretoria,
- Phone Number: 012 444 9122
North West Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: 3366 Bessemer Street, Telkom Building, Industrial Site, Mafikeng
- Phone Number: 018 388 2891 or 018 388 4808
Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: 31-33 Phillip, Frame Road, Chiselhurst, East London
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone Number: 086 000 0039
- SMS: 43619
- Chris Hani Region: Komani Office Park, Komani Hospital Complex Block I, Cathcart Road, Queenstown
- Joe Gqabi Region: 29 Queen Terrace, Aliwal North
- OR Tambo Region: Botha Sigcawu Building, Mthatha
- Alfred Nzo Region: N0. 39 Comdev Building, Corner Barclay and Hope Street, Kokstad, 4700
- Sarah Baartman Region: Corporate Place, 1st Floor, 66 Ring Road, Greenacres, Port Elizabeth
Western Cape Department of Human Settlement
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone Number: 021 483 0675 or 072 825 3257
Northern Cape Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: Larry Moleko Louw Building, 9 Cecil Sussman Road, Kimberley
- Phone Number: 053 830 9400
Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Human Settlement
- Head Office Address: 203 Church Street, Pietermaritzburg
- Phone Number: 033 392 6400
Once you have your application form, fill it out and attach your documents, including a certified copy of your ID and your spouse’s ID and payslip (if you have one) to the form.
You will then be placed on the waiting list for an RDP house.
If you are on the waiting list to receive an RDP house, the RDP house costs nothing. However, if you’re buying an RDP house from an existing occupant or owner, the price will depend on how much the owner wants to sell the house for.
In this case, RDP houses cost R100,000 or more when you’re buying them from the RDP house owner.
Since RDP houses are meant to help those needing housing with free and accessible homes, you cannot rent your home.
You can, however, sell your RDP house once you’ve been living in it for longer than eight years.
Remember, if you are caught renting out your RDP house, you can be fined, lose the home, or be imprisoned.
If you want to make alterations or renovations to your RDP house, you will need approval from your City Council; otherwise, you will receive a fine, and the structure you built may be demolished.
However, if you’ve owned – and lived in – the RDP house for more than eight years, then you can build onto the house without any approval from the council.
This will depend on who is selling the home and how long they’ve lived there.
You cannot buy a new RDP house, nor do you need to put a deposit on a new RDP house.
New RDP houses are given to those who are on a waiting list. This means that when new RDP houses are built, those who are next on the waiting list will receive the house.
However, RDP houses that have occupants can be sold. So, before you buy an RDP house, be sure you are buying it from the legal owner and that the owner has been staying in the property for more than eight years.
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The biggest advantage of an RDP house is the opportunity to own a home without needing to meet the requirements placed on you by the bank.
So, even if you don’t make the amount of money you need to own a home, you can still get one from the government.
Also, owning a home provides a sense of security for you and your children, even your grandchildren.
Your family will no longer need to rent a home or shack or be unsure about whether the landlord will raise the price or kick them out.
Another benefit of an RDP house is if you do decide to sell your RDP house, you also get to keep the proceeds and can get a better home. Since you don’t have to pay to receive the home, everything you get from the sale of your RDP house is profit and can go toward a deposit on another home or buying another home.
The waiting list for an RDP house – regardless of the province where you apply – is long. So, to make sure you receive your RDP house sooner, be sure you are on the list. Because the sooner you get onto the list, the sooner you can receive your RDP house.
You should also try to contact your local Department of Human Settlements every year to see how much longer it will take to receive your home and ensure your name is still on the list.