Often in areas such as the Bo-Kaap, Woodstock and Salt River, houses were built in rows on one erf and even though they comprise a few semidetached houses, they are jointly owned. Owners may have over the years installed separate electricity meters but usually experience difficulty in managing the joint accounts of rates and water. They are unable to bond individual units and the management problem is exacerbated when one of the co-owners dies and the property is bequeathed to various heirs, thereby increasing the pool of owners.
The properties are able to be separated by a process of subdivision. The steps are set out below:
- Appoint a conveyancer to attend to a search to establish that there are no title deed conditions prohibiting subdivision;
- Once you have the conveyancers certificate, a land surveyor must be appointed to survey the land to draft subdivisional diagrams and to submit an application to the Municipality;
- The Municipality will, after a process of inspection and referral to various departments and if they approve the subdivision, issue conditions of approval;
- The land surveyor will then submit the diagram to the Surveyor General’s office for approval;
- The councils conditions need to be complied with prior to the Municipality issuing a Section 137 clearance which is required in order to register the subdivision;
- Some of the usual conditions relate to separate electricity meters, separate sewerage and water connections, the building of party walls as a fire prevention, and the renumbering of houses. This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other conditions. There may be a development levy payable and all costs related to complying with these conditions must be borne by the owners of the property.
- Once these conditions are complied with, each of the relevant departments signs a clearance form which will enable the section 137 certificate to be issued.
- The Conveyancer will then draft a Partition agreement between the owners in terms of which each owner agrees to the allocation of the individual houses to specific owners.
- The subdivision and partition transfers are then registered at the deeds office creating an individual erf per owner.
Please call us to assist you with the process and to advise you of the costs involved.