There are few things as devastating as losing your home because you cannot pay your debt. But if this cannot be avoided, you’d certainly prefer that your property is sold for the best price possible. Then you can hopefully settle your debts and perhaps have enough money left to start over with. This ideal should now become a stronger possibility for South Africans who struggle to pay back their home loans. A new law, which is due to come into effect shortly, will, for the first time, enable courts to set a "reserve price" (minimum price) at which the residential property of a defaulting owner should be auctioned off. Until now, many South Africans have lost their properties to speculators who snap them up at prices far below market value, but to sell someone’s home for an unreasonably low price is a violation of their constitutional housing and property rights — not to mention the negative impact on their dignity and social well-being. In a paper that looked at a case where a home v...

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