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Q: A while back my family came under financial strain and fell behind on some debt repayments. As a result, we were blacklisted.

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We have come through the ordeal and are now in a position where we want to apply for a bond. However, the blacklisting is standing in our way. What can we do?

A: A large number of potential buyers are referred by their estate agents to attorneys if they have a blacklisting against them that is preventing them from obtaining a bond.

It is possible for a buyer to rectify a blacklisting against their name but it is an arduous, drawn-out process which differs from one case to the next depending on the circumstances. The first and easiest situation to rectify is a default payment that will remain on someone’s credit record for up to two years.

If the debt is settled, a request can be made by the creditor to the bureaus to amend the listing to reflect that the outstanding debt is paid in full. As a golden rule, when settling an outstanding debt with a creditor that has listed a default against you, obtain in writing that they will amend or remove the listing.

It is also advisable to seek legal advice from a specialist consumer law practitioner who can provide guidance and a clearance service. A judgment, on the other hand, is more complex than a default listing as it is a court order compelling the defaulting party to pay a debt. If the debt is not settled, it will remain on the credit profile for five years before it is automatically removed.

For the judgment to be removed from a credit profile before the five-year period, the new credit regulations provide that the debt must first be paid. Once settled, an attorney can then apply to have the judgment rescinded.

The creditor will need to provide their consent before the judgment can be rescinded. – Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa

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