Housing

Housing

In terms of housing, the Knysna Municipality acts on behalf of the State which is guided by the RSA Constitution and other relevant housing legislation and programmes, namely the National Housing Code, Rental Housing Act, the Social Housing Act, the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), Municipal Systems Management Act (MSMA), the National Development Plan (NDP), etc., together guide the basis in which municipalities provide affordable housing programmes and related projects.

Using the afore-mentioned legislative and programme context as a policy and programme guide, the Municipality has committed itself to deliver the following critical programmes based on the typology-housing model to provide related programmes based on different choices that the targeted low-income households have reflected, namely:

The government houses people using the following projects:

  1. Government subsidy housing
  2. Community Residential Units
  3. Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme
  4. Emergency Housing Programme
  5. Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme
  6. Social Housing

Of significance has been the development of a Draft Strategic Integrated Human Settlements Plan, which will now commonly and consistently guide future programme conceptualization and implementation. This will be based on the principles of fairness and equity, which will resonate quite well with low income targeted households.

This plan will be workshopped internally as well as externally with all stakeholders in order to build coherent and common understanding of the process ahead. This will hopefully ensure a common sense of collective ownership of the Plan and support by all stakeholders towards firm cooperative measures between the Municipality and all affected stakeholders. It will also inspire trust and confidence with the Knysna Municipality’s objective of providing typology driven housing opportunities in the 5 – 10 year short to medium and long-term scenario.

To apply for any of these, you have to register with your municipality or provincial Department of Human Settlements.

Requirements:

  • Be over 18.
  • Be a South African citizen either with an identity book or card, or a foreign resident with a permanent residency permit.
  • Different housing projects are designed for different incomes so you may have to provide proof of your monthly income.

You will be listed on a Municipal Housing Demand Database or your province’s Housing Needs Register. Remember to keep your proof of registration. If you move, let the department where you applied know so they can contact you if your house becomes available.

The Various Housing Alternatives

Government subsidy housing (commonly known as RDP houses)

These houses have been built by the government and are given to low income families. Government Subsidy houses are owned, not rented, by beneficiaries.

To qualify for an RDP house you must meet the National Housing Subsidy Scheme criteria:

  • You must be a South African citizen
  • Over 21 and mentally competent to sign a contract
  • Married or living with a partner, or single and have dependants (single military veterans or aged people without dependents also qualify)
  • Earn less than R3,500 per month per household (so if two people in your family earn and these earnings amount to more than R3,500 per month you will not qualify)
  • A first time government subsidy recipient
  • A first time home owner
  • If you are disabled, you will be given preference and your house is supposed to be adapted to meet your needs.

To apply for a government Subsidy house take the following documents with you:

  • Applicant and spouse’s identity documents (green book or ID card)
  • Certified copies of birth certificates of children
  • Proof of income if working, e.g. salary slip

You will be asked to fill in a housing subsidy application form and will then be registered on the National Housing Needs Register or your Municipal Housing Demands Database. This is a “waiting list”- as projects are finalized and the houses built, individuals on the waiting list will be given keys and a title deed.

Please note:
It is illegal to sell an RDP house before you have lived in it for eight years.
It is illegal to rent out an RDP house.

To check how far you are on the waiting list for a house call 0800 146 873

Note: There is a common misconception that individual ward councillors are involved with the allocation process. They are not! Ward councillors can tell you where to go and who to speak to so that you can register on the housing database, but a ward councillor is not involved in the allocation of houses and you should not pay a ward councillor to take up your case.

Note: The Department of Human Settlements no longer refers to RDP houses but has updated the RDP housing plan, and now calls it “Breaking New Ground” or BNG. Three different types of housing will be integrated – rented, bought and subsidised – and facilities like schools, clinics and shops will be added to developed areas. BNG houses are supposed to be larger than RDP houses, with two bedrooms, a separate bathroom with a toilet, shower and hand basin, a combined kitchen and living room area and electricity installation, where electricity supply is available in the township.

The same conditions apply to qualify for a BNG house as for an RDP house.

Community Residential Units and Housing Programme (CRU)

This housing programme is also aimed at households who earn less than R3,500 per month. CRU housing units are for rent and not for sale. This project is aimed at refurbishing inner city buildings and hostels.

The municipality will charge you rent to cover the municipal rates of the house.

To qualify for CRU housing, you must be:

  • Married or living with a partner or a single person with dependants
  • A South African citizen
  • Over the age of eighteen and mentally competent to sign a contract
  • Have a monthly household income of between R800 to R3,500.
  • Registered on the Municipal Housing Demand Database/National Housing Needs Register

If you have previously owned property, you are still allowed to apply for CRU.

To apply for CRU housing, you must visit your local municipal office and take:

  • Your ID
  • Certified copy of your spouse’s ID
  • Certified copies of birth certificates of children
  • Pay slips and bank statements.

Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP)

This programme tries to provide running water, sanitation, electricity and roads to informal settlements, but not necessarily houses. If your informal settlement receives UISP funding, you can later apply for housing construction assistance through other programmes.

To qualify for a UISP, you must meet all the National Housing Subsidy Scheme criteria (see Government Subsidy Housing above), but also, people who meet the following criteria can apply:

  • Household with income of more than R3,500 per month
  • People without dependents
  • Child-headed households
  • People who used to own property

The following people’s applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis:

  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People who have previously received housing assistance and who previously owned and/or currently own a residential property

You cannot apply for UISP. Municipalities identify informal settlements in their area that need upgrades and then apply to their provincial department’s MEC for funding. After funding has been set aside, your community will be invited to come to planning meetings to determine the needs of your community.

“Gap” housing

If you earn more than R3,500 but less than R22,000 per month (which is the minimum amount needed to qualify for a home loan from a bank), there are some state-driven housing initiatives, which apply to you, such as Financed Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP):
FLISP helps people who qualify for a home loan to buy a house for the first time. FLISP gives you a grant, which can be used to reduce the initial loan amount. This will make your monthly repayments lower. It can also be used as a deposit.

The subsidy rates were amended in 2018, so If you earn R15,000 a month, you can now qualify for a subsidy of R62,304, compared to the previous amount of R20,000. If you earn R22,000 a month you can qualify for a subsidy of R27,960.

Since the 2018 changes to the FLISP programme, if you are a public servant getting housing assistance through the Government Employees Housing Subsidy Scheme (GEHS), you can still qualify for a FLISP subsidy. Contact the National GEHS Administrator to register for a FLISP subsidy.

FLISP grants can be used for both existing houses and to build a new one. It used to be the case that you could not sell a FLISP house before eight years, like an RDP house, but that no longer applies. However, if you sell your house, you may not apply for a second FLISP grant.

Besides getting approval for a home loan and earning between R3,500 and R22,000 per month, you must meet the same criteria as described for RDP houses above.

To apply for a FLISP grant, you must first go to your bank or financial institution and apply for a home loan. For that, you will need:

  • Certified copy of your South African ID or passport/permanent residence permit
  • Copy of your signed Offer to Purchase the house or property
  • Proof of your current residential address
  • Official salary slip or stamped bank statement showing the last three months of income
  • To qualify for a home loan you have to be over 21, have been employed for a minimum of six months, have no defaults on your credit profile and earn above the minimum salary requirement as decided by your chosen bank. If your home loan application is denied, your FLISP application will not be considered.

Once this has been completed:

  • Ask for an “Approval in Principle” letter from the bank.
  • Register on the FLISP website: www.flisp.co.za or go to your municipal offices to register for a FLISP grant.
  • Compile the following certified documents for your application:
    • Home Loan Approval in Principle letter from your bank
    • Completed FLISP application form available from National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) website
    • RSA ID document or permanent residence permit

For more information please contact Manager Human Settlements

Mr Lindile Petuna
Telephone: +27 (0)44 302 6580
Email: lpetuna@knysna.gov.za