Ever heard of SPLUMA?
If you are planning on developing or subdividing some land you need to take note of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA). The act requires that when developing land, the registration of said land may not be performed unless the municipality certifies that all requirements and conditions for the approval have been complied with.
The SPLUMA act came into effect on 1 July 2020 with a compliance grace period to October 2020. In essence, it unifies all provinces under one national legislation and aims to provide national, provincial, and municipal spheres of government with a framework for the establishment of policies and systems relating to planning and land use management.
When do you need a SPLUMA certificate?
The act speaks to the development of land as opposed to properties separately registered before and thus a SPLUMA certificate is required where:
- A new erf’s title deed is being applied for or any such erf is being transferred in a new township.
- New subdivided erf’s certificate of registered title is being applied for or a new erf resulting from a subdivision is being transferred.
- New certificate of consolidated title is being applied for or a new erf resulting from the consolidation of two or more erven is being transferred.
- The registration of a sectional title scheme on any property.
- Applications for rezoning
- Removal, amendment, or suspension of restrictive conditions
Currently, in Gauteng, no SPLUMA certificate is required for the transfer of residential properties in normal course.
In the City of Cape Town, a SPLUMA certificate is required for the first registration of transfer of a land unit or to obtain a certificate of registered title for an approved subdivision of a property.
In KwaZulu Natal, the Deeds Office has confirmed that no SPLUMA certificate will be required at this time for residential properties transferred in the normal course.
In Mpumalanga, municipalities are required to issue a SPLUMA certificate before a property can be registered or transferred in the Deeds Office.
For the Mpumalanga municipality to issue the SPLUMA Certificate the following needs to be in place:
- All funds due by the owner in respect of the land have been paid
- All contravention penalties must be paid
- All compliance directives must be complied with
- The land and buildings constructed on the land unit need to comply with the requirements of the land use scheme
- All conditions of approval of any land development application must be complied with
During the approval process, if non-compliant, the seller will be required to appoint an architect to prepare plans for lodgement with the municipality, the property may need to be re-zoned, and with encroachments must be dealt with, which may involve demolition, relocation, the registration of servitudes etc.
It is important to note that the SPLUMA Act requires municipalities to review spatial development at least every five years. If you are not impacted by the “SPLUMA certificate” requirements at this stage, there is still the possibility that you might become subject to the requirements in the future.
Peace of Mind
The SPLUMA requirements give buyers valuable protection as it provides the assurance that the property they are purchasing complies with municipal specifications by requesting the building plans and an Occupation Certificate.
Before buying or selling a property, we would advise property owners to consult with knowledgeable property professionals to assist in determining the following:
- Zoning Certificate: Confirm that the property is zoned for the current use. If not, apply for the rezoning of the property.
- Approved Building Plans: Obtain copies of the previously approved building plans from the municipality. Hopefully, there will be copies available at the Archive department. Compare the approved copies with the existing build structure. If there are discrepancies, an architectural professional registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) should be appointed to redraw and submit the plans to the Local Authority for approval.
- Encroachments: If there are encroachments on the property there are a few options in dealing with the encroachments:
– Structures to be demolished or moved.
– Servitudes to be registered
– Building line relaxations to be applied for.
As is the case with new legislation, there can be some confusion at first, so be sure to start with the process as soon as possible as it could take up to three months to apply for a certificate. If you are overwhelmed, there is nothing wrong with asking for help! We will show you in the right direction.