Always ask for the following documents and information (The Proof) which should be verified with relevant authorities such as Council, Registrar of Deeds, Surveyor General or Urban State land Office.
- Private land Proof of ownership in the form of a Title Deed
- Government or Council land Valid Offer/Allocation letter and Agreement of sale between Government or Council and the Seller (in their name).
- On private land, approved subdivision permit- issued by the relevant authority.
- On State or Council land approved layout plans have been approved.
- Approved Survey Diagrams from the Surveyor General whether on Private, Government or Council land.
- Approved Engineering Designs for water, sewer and roads which would have been approved by Council Engineering Department.
- Approved infrastructure successfully implemented and approved on the site in the form of water, sewer and roads signed for by Council.
- Certificate of Compliance- issued by council certifying that the above has been done to Council's satisfaction.
The title deed of the property gives the legal name of the property and the person who owns the property or stand which can be verified from the Registrar of Deeds after paying a very small fee. The offer letter can be verified with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works & National Housing, through the Department of State land or Department of Physical Planning or relevant Local Authority.
If someone holds an offer letter from Ministry of Lands, be suspicious because he/she needs to get a change of use permit from say agriculture to residential/housing, then layout has to be approved by Department of Physical Planning. Besides in Zimbabwe, State Agricultural land is not supposed to be sold by individuals.
NB. In Zimbabwe only two Local Authorities are allowed to give subdivision permits (at this point in time) without passing through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, that is Harare and Bulawayo City Councils.
We all know that investment in Real Estate (Buildings) is one of the best investments one can ever make in life. But if you are not careful you will be duped. So be observant and analytical. Do not be given a contact person by the developers for enquiries. Visit and call the government and local authorities offices. Visit their websites. Most councils are now online, even Deeds Office has an online portal for enquiries about deeds. However, you have to know the name of the property as it is on the title deed.
The Government or Council offices can only be able to help you if you produce papers, so you need to ask for the above listed papers from the seller which you then take to the relevant offices for verification.
If you ask for these papers and the seller turns hostile and threatens to sell it to someone else it tells you they do not have the papers and you were about to be duped, so walk away happily with your money. If you want social justice, report to the responsible authority about this experience with the seller. Take your time to visit the site first and see if you like the stand and the neighborhood, verify the papers and then enter into an agreement with the assistance of lawyers.
Source:City Of Harare