Building works are being carried out adjacent to a reader’s property and she is concerned about a title deed restriction, as well as the stability of the structure.
The building works are apparently being conducted by casual labourers overseen by her neighbour himself.
This is not a huge problem to her because she has two more pressing concerns.
Firstly, the building works are approaching a portion of his property that has a title deed restriction. The restriction is registered in favour of the reader’s property.
The removal of title deed restrictions requires a process to be followed and often takes place in an application to court. This would typically include notice to the reader, who could then object.
The other concern is that the building is being built to a considerable height and appears to lack the necessary supports and internal structures to ensure its safety and stability.
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Should the structure collapse, whether during building or afterwards, considerable damage to her property may ensue.
She also wonders whether any plans were drawn and, if so, if they were drawn by a professional and whether such plans were approved.
The reader is fairly sure that her neighbour has not obtained other necessary approvals to effect the building works.
One telling factor is that the restrictive title deed condition was not removed.
The Removal of Restrictions Act states that any person who wishes to apply for the removal of a restriction shall submit his application to the administrator.
The application must be accompanied by any documents and particulars which the administrator may require.
In terms of another section of the act, the applicant has to adhere to a number of formalities.
After consideration of the application, the recommendation of the townships board and the objections and other relevant documents and particulars, the administrator may grant the application or refuse it.
The reader has approached the local authority, but she is concerned that, as she hasn’t heard anything for a while, no steps will be taken.
There is nothing stopping her from taking steps to protect her rights.
She is entitled to make application for a court order enforcing compliance with the appropriate legislation, including the relevant provisions of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.
A court order may force the neighbour to cease all building works immediately.
The court may, in some instances, even order the demolition of the building works.
In this instance, and based on the facts presented, particularly if there is a real danger to life or property, the latter order may well be given.
If a building has been completed, a court may still order its demolition.
As it can be costly to go to court, the reader may wish to speak to the local authority to determine what steps have been taken and whether the matter could be expedited.
This is particularly so given the potential dangers posed by the building works.
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