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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.

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