A reader who plans to subdivide a piece of land wants to know how he should go about this and what legislation is applicable to the process.
His idea is to sell one or more pieces from the subdivision to raise funds for the construction of a house, which will be used for residential purposes, on the remaining portion.
The legislation governing subdivision is dependent on whether the property in question is agricultural or urban.
There are a number of pieces of legislation generally applicable to the process in either instance.
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Accordingly, this process should only be undertaken with the assistance of an attorney to ensure the subdivision process is effected correctly.
If the land is agricultural, the first piece of legislation applicable is the Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act.
This states that agricultural land shall generally not be subdivided unless the consent of the Minister of Agriculture is given.
His consent may depend on the purpose for which the land is to be used.
The application to the minister should include plans, documents and information as may be required by him.
As is sometimes the case with agricultural land, it may be situated adjacent to a national road.
In this case consent for the subdivision may be required in accordance with the provisions of the Advertising on Roads and Ribbon Development Act.
Additionally, certain provisions of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act may be applicable.
If land or any part of land is situated in a building restriction area, a surveyor-general may not approve the general plan of division unless the agency has given its approval in writing.
A building restriction area is defined as the land situated within 60m from the boundary of a national road or within 500m from any point of an intersection.
If the land is of an urban or in-city nature, two main bodies of legislation are applicable.
These are the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (Spluma) and the by-laws applicable in that particular municipality.
The by-laws may differ from place to place and the reader should take advice as to the particular content of the legislation in his area.
Spluma states that all land development applications must be submitted to a municipality first.
Land development means the erection of buildings or structures or the change of the use of land.
This includes township establishment, the subdivision of land or any deviation from the land use permitted in terms of an applicable land-use scheme.
The act further provides that the Municipal Planning Tribunal has to take a number of factors into account when considering an application.
These include public interest, constitutional transformation imperatives and related duties of the state.
Also to be considered are the facts relevant to the application, rights of those affected, impact of engineering services, social infrastructure and open space requirements as well as any factors that may be prescribed, including timeframes for making decisions.
The by-laws will generally outline the process of applying for subdivision, the manner in which it should be submitted and what documentation is required.
The reader may also be required to pay a fee with the lodgement of the application.
This fee may be non-refundable and, again, emphasises the role of the attorney in ensuring that the application is correct and complete prior to submission.
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