SPLUMA property law

By Nadine Lombard

The regulations for land use rights according to SPLUMA, The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, No.16 of 2013, have been in effect since July 2015. Here at Bert Smith Inc. we have a full understanding of the application of SPLUMA and can assist property owners and developers to comply with the regulations.

Essentially SPLUMA applies to the governance of how land is used, which is significant for developers who are applying for land developments. These would include:

• Township establishment
• New sectional title schemes
• Subdivision of land
• Consolidation of different pieces of land
• Amendment of land use or town planning schemes
• Removal, amendment or suspension of restrictive title conditions

Such applications must be submitted to the relevant Municipality for approval. If the local authority is satisfied that all requirements and conditions have been met, a SPLUMA certificate is issued. Only after this may you apply to the Deeds Office to register the property.

By-laws and SPLUMA certification

While SPLUMA is a national regulation, local authorities have the right to promulgate their own SPLUMA by-laws. For instance, the City of Tshwane introduced a Land Use Management by-law which came into operation in March 2016. Property developers and property owners need to be aware of both the national and local requirements and ensure that they work with an expert conveyancer who understands and can correctly interpret how the law applies to specific property transactions.

SPLUMA certification requirements will vary according to the local authority by-laws – again your conveyancer should be able to advise on what certification you need and which by-laws apply. Without a SPLUMA Certificate from the local authority, the Deeds Office examiners may not register a property for land development.

What can go wrong?

The most frequent challenges are caused by delays in obtaining SPLUMA certificates – which can happen if the requirements are not clearly addressed from the outset. This in turn holds up the registration of the properties concerned.

If, for instance, you want to subdivide a piece of land into two or more portions, or you hope to open a sectional title scheme with “duet houses” or even more units on your land, you have consult your town planner, land surveyor and conveyancer on the matter. Both town planning and conveyancing issues are relevant in the application of SPLUMA and the correct procedures from the start will ensure a trouble-free experience.

For smooth sailing around SPLUMA and your specific property transaction, contact Bert Smith Inc for expert advice.

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