How SPLUMA will affect sellers

How SPLUMA will affect sellers

MAIN IMAGE: Matthew Ainsworth, Guthrie Colananni Attorneys; Oliver Moorcroft, managing director Seeff Polokwane

All municipalities must roll out their own by-laws in terms of SPLUMA (Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) by October 2020. Find out what is SPLUMA and how this will impact sellers.

What is SPLUMA?

Matthew Ainsworth, attorney and conveyancer at Guthrie Colananni Attorneys, explains that municipalities had five years from the date of the Act’s commencement to adopt municipal by-laws dealing with single land use schemes. Although SPLUMA came into effect in July 2015 its regulations were only published in the Government Gazette in October of that year which means that municipalities have until October 2020 to adopt and approve a single land use scheme for their areas.

How does it impact sellers?

According to Ainsworth, how SPLUMA will affect sellers depends on the by-laws that applies to single land use schemes in their municipality. Take for example the differences between the set of by-laws adopted by Polokwane and Cape Town in terms of SPLUMA.

“If the property is in Polokwane then in terms of section 78 of Polokwane’s by-laws a person may not apply to the Registrar of Deeds to register the transfer of a land unit, unless the municipality has issued a certificate. By contrast, in Cape Town, in terms of Cape Town’s spatial planning by-laws, the seller would only need to apply for a municipal certificate if they were subdividing, consolidating or applying for a change in zoning. The list goes on, but it does not generally apply to a simple transfer of property from one owner to another,” explains Ainsworth.

Oliver Moorcroft, Seeff’s managing director in Polokwane, explains what sellers will have to do to comply with this municipality’s new by-laws from October 2020 going forward. As mentioned above, the national Deeds Office will require a SPLUMA certificate from the local municipality in which a property is located before any property transaction can be concluded.

“In order to obtain a SPLUMA certificate from the local municipality, a seller should have the following in place.

  •  An affidavit signed by the seller and filed at the municipality with an application wherein the owner states that the relevant plans pertaining to the property are in order, accurate and have been filed with the local municipality.
  • All rates and taxes and any other funds pertaining to the property must be paid up to date.
  • Building plans for all buildings (including the swimming pool and lapa) need to be approved and submitted. Should these plans not be compliant, the seller will need to appoint an architect or draughtsman to prepare the plans for lodgement with the municipality.
  • The use of the property needs to be in accordance with municipal zoning.
  • There should be no encroachments over the building lines and property boundaries”, Moorcroft continues.

Moorcroft advises sellers in Polokwane to start with this process as soon as possible as it could take up to three months to apply for a certificate. He adds that the costs associated with obtaining the certificate has unfortunately not been finalised yet.

He continues that the legislation was established in order to create a uniform set of planning legislation in order for municipalities to apply land use control. The reason for the certificate is to ensure that the zoning of the property matches the land use and to determine that all the buildings on the premises are in accordance with approved building plans which should be filed at the municipality.

Polokwane and City of Cape Town have their by-laws in terms of SPLUMA adopted and ready for roll out by October 2020, but the clock is ticking on those municipalities that are yet to do so, adds Ainsworth. “It is, however, unclear in terms of SPLUMA, what will happen in those municipalities where the deadline is not met,” he ends.

For more info on SPLUMA.

Showing 7 comments
  • Andrew Walters
    Reply

    Hi, We deal with predominantly country properties, plots and farms. Many of these properties do not have approved building plans due to the slack enforcement in the recent as well as the historical past.
    In some instances municipalities have had incidents where plans were destroyed by fire etc or just simply lost.
    It appears that SPLUMA will mean that the owners, when they want to sell, will have to have plans drawn up despite that it is not their fault?

    • Matthew Ainsworth
      Reply

      Hi Andrew, as stated, much depends on what municipality the property falls under and what by-laws are adopted there. If providing such a certificate is a requirement and it turns out that there are not valid building plans, then unfortunately yes, the owners would need to have plans drawn up. Where the lack of valid plans is due to the municipality having lost the file or a third party cause then it may, and i say this very hesitantly, may, be possible to claim the costs of the plans from those parties, but it would still mean the owner would have to pay to have the plans drawn up in the first place in order to get the certificate.

      • Rory
        Reply

        Hi I have already had this happen to a client when I sold his property last year it was a requirement from the bank granting the loan.He did have to have plans drawn up and had a second dwelling and this had to have a public notice posted for 21 days.Fortunately he had no objection and it was finally approved.This a realty for all plots and farms.

  • Richard Gillatt
    Reply

    Good afternoon. With regard to sectional title units in Tshwane is it the trustees responsibility to obtain the plans of all the units in the complex or is it up to each individual owner?

  • Mannie Naicker
    Reply

    Dear Sir, Madam, I have an issue at hand where the owner of a townhouse has built a wall, and a garage with its entrance encroaching onto the neighbours property. What can we do about this. There is a managing body corporate but there is no one that can answer that question. Or assist in any way. Is there an ombudsman that we can contact in regards to this?
    Thanks
    Regards
    Mannie Naicker

  • Hilton Greeff
    Reply

    Nothing new if the estate agent has done a proper job

  • Zhorina Isaacs
    Reply

    I’m an architect and we’ve done many such applications in Cape Town. The property transfer will not be completed until the building plans are up to date. We have so many of these kinds of applications it is now the main focus in our business.

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