The impact of the SPLUMA Act on property transfers

The Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA) which came into effect in 2015 was established to provide a uniform system of spatial planning and land use management throughout South Africa in order for municipalities to apply land use control.

Every local municipality is required to develop their own by-laws in terms of SPLUMA, and ensure that they are compliant by October 2020. After this date, the Deeds Office will require a SPLUMA certificate before finalising certain property registrations.

Background to the Act

The establishment of SPLUMA was necessary to remedy South Africa’s planning laws, which were left fragmented and inconsistent as a result of the repeal of many apartheid era laws. It places emphases on the fundamental role municipal planning and municipalities have on effective spatial planning and development.

Who is affected by SPLUMA?

The Act affects those applying for land developments or new sectional title schemes. The Deeds Office will require a SPLUMA certificate from the local authority before property registrations of this kind can be finalised.

The purpose of the certificate is to ensure that the zoning of the property coincides with the land use and to determine that all the buildings on the premises are in accordance with approved building plans.

The seller will have to apply for a SPLUMA certificate and must ensure that all the rates and taxes are fully paid, all building plans are approved and that property use is compliant with municipal zoning. In addition, the seller will have to sign an affidavit stating that the relevant plans pertaining to the property are in order, accurate and have been filed with the local municipality.

Duty is on the seller to comply

Complying with the SPLUMA criteria places an extra burden on the seller who will have to bear the additional costs and time involved. It is advised that this process is started as soon as possible so that it doesn’t delay the property transfer process at all.

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