Answer to a question from a reader

Can I sell a portion of the municipal land that I bought?

The short answer

Consult the municipality about what the minimum size for subdivision is in your area.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

I bought a property from the municipality. The property is ± 706m² and I built my house on about ± 300m². Can I sell the remaining land? If so, how?

The long answer

The first thing is that all municipalities have their own bylaws about subdividing property. These include the minimum size of a subdivided part of the property. The firm Benatars says in an article about subdivision that most plots across South Africa cannot be subdivided to less than 3,350 square metres, which would seem to indicate that it would be difficult to subdivide your property which is 706 square metres in total. So perhaps the first step is to consult the municipality about what the minimum size for subdivision is in your area.

If the municipality agrees that you can subdivide, they will only issue you with a Section 137 clearance certificate, which you would need to register the subdivision when you have complied with their conditions. These conditions include issues like separate sewerage and water connections and separate electricity meters and renumbering of houses. You would have to pay all the costs related to these issues.  

If that process goes ahead, you would have to appoint a land surveyor to draft subdivisional diagrams and submit an application to the municipality. If the municipality approves, it will then submit the diagrams to the Surveyor General’s office for approval and registration.

You would need the approval of your neighbours and you would need to notify them by registered letter of your planned subdivision. You would also have to put an advert in the local newspaper so that people can object if they wish to.

When you have complied with all the conditions, each relevant department in the municipality must sign a clearance form that will enable you to get the Section 137 certificate.

It would seem to be a lengthy and probably expensive process to subdivide your property. But again, you should start with finding out from the municipality if a property of the size of yours is allowed to be subdivided.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Oct. 15, 2021, 2:36 p.m.

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