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. However, while some of the municipalities within the Mpumalanga and Limpopo province have already implemented their own by-laws, others like the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, and KZN are making slower progress to roll this out,” explains Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
According to Maurice Lodewick, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Lifestyle Estates, the Spluma Act – which came into operation for the Mbombela municipality (including former Umjindi Local Municipality) on 15 July 2015 – requires that an owner have the following in place in order 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 pertaining to the property are in order, accurate, and have been filed with the CMLM.
- All rates & taxes, as well as other funds due in respect of the property, must be paid up to date.
- 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 lodgment 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.
“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, I would recommend that they apply for their SPLUMA certificate in advance as the process of acquiring this certificate can hold up the transfer process,” says Lodewick.
Annie van den Berg, Broker Owner of RE/MAX Wildlife Properties in Hoedspruit commends the act for providing homeowners with additional protection against dishonest sellers. “As of yet, though I have not personally had the request for building plans or occupation certificates when registering a property, I find the new SPLUMA requirements give buyers valuable protection as it provides the assurance that the property they are purchasing complies with municipal specifications,” Van den Berg explains.
However, in general, the SPLUMA Act should not have too much of an affect on the buying and selling process. “In short, the only way the SPLUMA Act should affect sellers is if they do not have their building plans up to date and if they are not working through a reputable real estate professional who will inform them of any new processes they will need to follow in order for the transfer to go ahead smoothly,” Goslett concludes.