In the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Property owners in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropol, which includes Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage & surrounding areas, have been frustrated by delays in the submission & approval of Building Plan Applications, due to restrictive Title Deed conditions. If a property owner wants to develop a property, or extend a building beyond the stipulated building lines, restrictive conditions in the Title Deed may have to be removed. This process can take up to a year, delaying construction. This came about through changes introduced by the Local Authority, in 2011.

The background to this is that, due to a dispute regarding the relaxation of property building lines, the process followed by the Local Authority when considering and approving these applications, was challenged. Prior to this, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal considered applications for the relaxation of a building line, based on the conditions stipulated in the applicable Town Planning Zoning Scheme. However, historically, the properties Title Deed contained all conditions applicable to the property. These Title Deed conditions take precedence over the Town Planning Zoning Schemes. As a result of the legal challenge, it was clarified that before the Local Authority could consider an application for a relaxation of the Town Planning Zoning Scheme, the relevant Title Deed conditions had to be removed.

Prior to a Building Plan Application being submitting, the application for the removal of the restrictive Title Deed conditions has to be submitted and the process completed. No Building Plan Applications will be accepted, if there is a pending application. The application for the removal of the restrictive Title Conditions is a separate application, which must be submitted to the Nelson Mandela Bay, Land Planning & Management Division.

The process to remove the restrictive Title Deed conditions consists of a pre-consultation and then the submission of the application, including the required documentation. The application is processed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Land Planning & Management Division and it includes advertising and notifying neighbouring property owners. There is a fee for the application, which includes the cost to advertise in the local press. Once the application has been processed and if approved by the Council, the owner must arrange for the publication of the notice of approval in the Provincial Gazette and arrange for the endorsement of the Title Deed with the Registrar of Deeds. Property owners in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area must be aware that in some suburbs, written consent must be obtained from the Fairview Suburban Estate Company and if the property is bonded, written consent must be obtained from the bond holder: