Investigate regulations and restrictions when considering buying a property
BEFORE committing finance to property transactions, buyers should be aware of any restrictions that may be imposed on the intended use of the property.
Considering that you may not use property for purposes other than those for which it is zoned, this particularly applies to buyers who are thinking of buying residential property to use as business premises.
Peter Gilmour, chairman of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says although some areas may allow owners to use a small percentage of their house for business, they are unlikely to make exceptions, to avoid residential properties from becoming completely commercial.
“Only around 20 percent of your home could be used for business without infringing on any land use regulations,” he says.
The zoning system, which is used by local governments, is a mechanism of land-use planning.
Zones are generally categorised as residential, commer- cial or industrial and may be use-based where the uses to which land may be put are regulated.
Gilmour says it is possible to apply for rezoning of residential property.
In this case, rezoning applications giving reasons must be submitted to the local authority, with written confirmation from neighbours that they have no objections.
“In fact, the offer to purchase can stipulate that the property is subject to the local authority’s approval of the rezoning, subdivision or the consent to use the property in a certain way. The details of restrictions are set out in the title deed of the property and can be established by obtaining a copy from the Deeds Office, or from the bank or financial institution that holds the bond,” says Gilmour.
Gilmour advises that the best option would be to consult a professional town planning consultant or other professional, such as a land surveyor or a lawyer.