Immigrants and Property Left In Old Country

Recent hurricanes, floods and fires are a wake-up call for immigrants who left property in the old country.  What if your house in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, Asia or Africa suffers the same fate?  Is it insured?  Is somebody doing regular maintenance like giving it a paint job and making sure that land invaders don’t target it?

Immigrants go to Australia, the U.K., Canada or the United States for a variety of reasons: to go to college and work afterwards, to work two jobs to support family and property back home or never to look back because of painful religious and cultural experiences.

It is no problem if they were renting or lived at home in the old country.  It’s a different story if they owned property like land, houses or commercial buildings.  Most immigrants leave property with family members on the assumption that blood is thicker than water, only to be disappointed when brothers or uncles take the property by force.
Children born in Australia, Canada or the U.S. are seldom interested in what happened in the old country and why parents left.  They are too busy proving that they are British, Australian, Canadian or American.

Despite all that, parents should try and take kids back for a holiday to meet cousins and to see family property.  Does it have a title deed?  Is it communal property that belongs to a certain surname or to the local chief?
Property is not houses or buildings.  The value is in the land.  Who has rights to the land while you are in Australia or North America?

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.


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