My House Was Not Transferred Into My Name – Can I Lose It?

Clement Dankuru - March 24, 2022

What happens if someone moves into the property before transferring to your name? 

Where a person buys property but fails to take possession and or transfer ownership, it does not mean that where a third party takes possession of the said property the initial buyer is deprived of possession or ownership. The initial buyer in actual fact has no more than a personal right. 


What is the difference between a real and personal right? 

A real right is enforceable against the whole world. Where you have taken possession, or transfer, of the property you have purchased you will have a real right. Before that, you only have a personal right, which is a right enforceable against one person. In this example, you would have a personal right enforceable against the seller. 


Can this claim prescribe? 

Yes. A risk taken by the buyer who doesn’t take transfer or possession, is that their claim will prescribe after three years. That means that if you purchase a property, and it was not transferred into your name and you also did not take occupation, you only have a personal right. If someone infringes this right, you have three years to institute legal proceedings, or you will lose your right to the property. If the house was transferred into your name, then you have a real right, and will be protected.

Clement Dankuru

Clement Dankuru

Senior Associate Attorney