Community Municipal News

Homeowners, please take note

Michele du Plessis

The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) is a national regulation gazetted in October 2015 that affects those applying for land developments or new sectional title schemes. Local authorities may implement their own SPLUMA by-laws, however, the National Deeds office now requires a SPLUMA Certificate from the local authority before property registrations of this kind can go ahead.

All municipalities must roll out their by-laws in terms of SPLUMA (Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) by October 2020.

Municipalities had five years from the date of the Act’s commencement to adopt municipal by-laws dealing with single land use schemes.

How SPLUMA will affect sellers depends on the by-laws that apply to single land-use schemes in their municipality. Some of the municipalities within the Mpumalanga province have already implemented their by-laws.

According to Amelia Hollier, Senior Estate Agent and Office Manager at Espag Properties in Sabie, it is very important that homeowners know about SPLUMA. “The Act requires that an owner have the following in place to receive the SPLUMA certificate now required on all transfers of land:

An affidavit, signed under oath by the seller, is filed at the municipality with an application wherein the owner states that the relevant plans about the property are in order, accurate, and have been filed with the CMLM. The new SPLUMA 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.

Building plans for all buildings – including the swimming pool / lapa (with roof) – need to be approved and submitted. Owners will need to appoint an architect or draftsman to prepare the necessary building plans for lodgement with the municipality if the plans are non-compliant. The use of the property has to be in accordance with the Municipal Zoning. There can be no encroachments over the building lines & property boundaries. All rates & taxes, as well as other funds due in respect of the property, must be paid up to date.

I would recommend that a seller gets a copy of his approved house plans and compares it to the actual build before it is put in the market. When that in order, they must apply for their SPLUMA certificate in advance as the process of acquiring this certificate can hold up the transfer process,” Amelia said.

The act provides homeowners with additional protection against dishonest sellers. “The SPLUMA requirements give buyers valuable protection as it assures that the property they are purchasing complies with municipal specifications.

It may be a challenging and time-consuming process for sellers to obtain these certificates, especially if physical inspections of the property is needed, from municipalities that are already under pressure. But, it needs to be done,” Amelia concluded.

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