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

Has your neighbour built their thatched lapa against your boundary wall, with the roof overhanging, so that the rain washes away your favourite patch of rhododendrons? Or are your tranquil evening G&T’s, shattered by the noise and smoke of their raucous braais? Perhaps you’re the one upsetting your neighbour with your illegal lapa.

A Lapa or Entertainment Room can be built on the boundary, if the necessary permission is obtained. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will grant a relaxation, or waiver of a building line, if there are no restrictive Title Deed conditions and you get the affected neighbour’s written approval.

Before submitting Building Plans, you should check that there are no Restrictive Conditions in the Title Deed. Properties in older Port Elizabeth neighbourhoods such as; Mill Park, Newton Park or Walmer, usually have conditions regarding; Building Lines, height restrictions, or the permitted use. These conditions must be removed, before the Municipality will consider a relaxation of the Building Line. For the removal of Title Deed conditions, refer to the article posted on the 3 February 2020, Removal of Restrictive Title Deed Conditions.

To get the affected neighbour’s approval, there is a Municipal Form, which the neighbouring property owners must complete. If they approve, they sign to confirm, “I Do Not Object’, or if they have an objection, they sign, “I Do Object” and give the reason for objecting. In the case of a relaxation of a side Building Line, the owners on each side of the property, must approve. For the street Building Line, the owners on each side and the affected owners opposite, must approve. If a neighbour objects, the Municipality will consider whether the objection is valid and make a ruling.

If there are no Restrictive Conditions and the affected neighbour’s approval has been obtained, then Building Plans can be submitted. The proposed building must comply to the National Building Regulations. Look out for roofs that overhang the boundary wall, or discharge rainwater onto a neighbouring property. Also, windows are not allowed within 1.0 m of the boundary.

For assistance, property owners can contact me for advice, or the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Building Control Officer, Mr. Reza Boltman:

Tel.:                 041 994 1206