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Asking the buyer to settle the amount due to the Housing Department

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Muftionline.co.za

Q: I purchased a house in Lenasia in 1980. A few years later, in 1984, I sold it to another person by the name of Zubair for R75000.00 and I received this amount in full. at that time, I still had R22000.00 outstanding on this house to be paid to the housing department. Zubair had agreed that he would also pay off the outstanding R22000.00 that was owed to the housing department.

We had agreed on this and parted ways. The property still legally remained on my name as Zubair was not able to afford the transfer at that time. However, it was understood and agreed that the house now belonged to him.

In 1985, I applied for land in Durban  and was awarded land. In June 2007, I received a letter from the housing department stating that I am entitled to a discount benefit scheme that was to write off all arrears accumulated and to give transfer of the title deeds of the property in Durban. When I went to apply for this discount, the housing department realized that the property I had sold to Zubair in Lenasia is on my name and they had assumed it to be mine and had written off all arrears on that property which stood at R31929.00 at that time. As a result, I was unable to obtain the discount on the land that I actually own here in Durban and I really need this discount because I still owe 30 000 on this property I have in Durban. When I approached the housing department to explain to them what happened, they said that they cannot do anything about it since the property in Lenasia is still registered on my name (but I sold it long ago!). The housing department advised me that I should sort it out with Zubair. Am I entitled to any recourse and can I claim from Zubair the amount that was mistakenly written off on my name from which he benefited? 

Please advise what are my rights in this situation.


A: You do not have the right to demand any payment from Zubair though he is at fault for not settling the debt promptly.

قال وإن كان في التركة دين على الناس فأدخلوه في الصلح على أن يخرجوا المصالح عنه ويكون الدين لهم فالصلح باطل لأن فيه تمليك الدين من غير من عليه وهو حصة المصالح وإن شرطوا أن يبرأ الغرماء منه ولا يرجع عليهم بنصيب المصالح فالصلح جائز لأنه إسقاط وهو تمليك الدين ممن عليه الدين وهو جائز وهذه حيلة الجواز وأخرى أن يعجلوا قضاء نصيبه متبرعين وفي الوجهين ضرر لبقية الورثة والأوجه أن يقرضوا المصالح مقدار نصيبه ويصالحوا عما وراء الدين ويحيلهم على استيفاء نصيبه من الغرماء ولو لم يكن في التركة دين وأعيانها غير معلومة والصلح على المكيل والموزون قيل لا يجوز لاحتمال الربا وقيل يجوز لأنه شبهة الشبهة ولو كانت التركة غير المكيل والموزون لكنها أعيان غير معلومة قيل لا يجوز لكونه بيعا إذ المصالح عنه عين والأصح أنه يجوز لأنها لا تفضي إلى المنازعة لقيام المصالح عنه في يد البقية من الورثة وإن كان على الميت دين مستغرق لا يجوز الصلح ولا القسمة لأن التركة لم يتملكها الوارث وإن لم يكن مستغرقا لا ينبغي أن يصالحوا ما لم يقضوا دينه فتقدم حاجة الميت ولو فعلوا قالوا يجوز وذكر الكرخي رحمه الله في القسمة أنها لا تجوز استحسانا وتجوز قياسا (الهداية 3/ 257)

Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.