What is the SPLUMA Act and how will it affect you?
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 establish a SPLUMA compliant land use scheme plan within 5 years of the gazette date which is in 2020. According to new legislation all municipalities will have to be compliant with the SPLUMA Act by October 2020.
What does this mean and how will it impact sellers?
From October 2020 going forward the National Deeds Office will now 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.
The process to apply for your certificate should be started as soon as the property is listed as it could be a time-consuming exercise taking up to three months.
Sellers would need to apply for this certificate at their local municipality, but unfortunately the costs associated with obtaining the certificate has not been finalised yet. The legislation was established in order to create a uniform set of planning legislation in order for municipalities to apply land use control.
Before putting a property on the market, I would recommend that a seller gets a copy of his approved house plans and compares it to the actual build. Once all is in order, we recommend that they apply for their SPLUMA certificate in advance as the process of acquiring this certificate can hold up the transfer process.
How will it impact buyers?
For the buyer, the benefit lies in the fact that the new SPLUMA requirements give buyers valuable protection as it provides the assurance that the property they are purchasing complies with municipal specifications
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.
While there are many benefits with regard to SPLUMA for buyers and the city council, it may be a challenging and time consuming process for sellers to obtain these certificates from municipalities that are already under pressure – especially when physical inspections to the property are also needed.
Therefore it is important that sellers start the process as soon as possible.