Namibia Reforms Legal System to Protect Houses

By Uaueza Kanguatjivi

THE National Assembly has amended the High Court Act of 1990 and the Magistrates’ Courts Act of 1944 to restrict banking institutions from repossessing and selling houses.
The High Court and Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Acts of 2023 create guidelines on the execution of repossessed houses.

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The Acts will also usher in a new age of judicial efficiency, impartiality, and property rights protection.
Justice minister Yvonne Dausab coordinated these changes, which heralded a new era for Namibia’s judicial system and addressed various legal issues, from property transactions to jurisdictional extension.
At the heart of both amendment measures is a brief description of “a primary home,” defined in the Amendment Acts as a dwelling used as an individual’s principal residence.
The Acts features a clause that stipulates that execution of repossessed homes can only occur with a judge’s approval and under particular conditions defined in the amendments.

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According to the Acts, the sale of a primary home can only occur after a court’s determination that the debtor lacks sufficient movable assets to pay the judgment debt and a court’s determination that the immovable property is eligible for execution.

The Act requires the court to conduct an extensive examination to ensure that the sale of immovable property remains the most prudent method of paying the judgment debt.
When a sale is deemed improper, the court can impose alternative orders.

The debt may be transferred to a willing and capable individual, the repayment terms adjusted, or substitute immovable property attached while the debtor’s property ownership rights are preserved.