Property subdivision and consolidation are referred to as cadastral surveys. Many local authorities support the concept of property subdivision to densify the existing urban areas, prevent urban scrawl and improve economic thresholds. Homeowners find property subdivision a useful way of reducing debt by disposing of portion of their land. Other benefits of subdivision include:- improved security as a result of more confined living, costs savings in having a smaller yard to maintain and reduced property rates.

A brief outline of the procedures involved in subdividing a property into two or more additional portions are as follows:-

  1. Firstly the land surveyor obtains the relevant information from the various authorities in order to prepare and submit an application to the local authority and to the various statutory departments to request permission to subdivide the property.
  2. Once the statutory approvals for subdivision have been granted the land surveyor places beacons to demarcate the subdivided portions and any servitudes that might be required.
  3. The subdivision approval referred to in paragraph (1) is generally issued subject to certain conditions that are imposed by the authorities. The developer or client then has to comply with these conditions of subdivision. Typical examples are extending the sewer line, building a sewer inspection chamber or dealing with stormwater management of the site.
  4. On completion of the field survey the land surveyor prepares a survey diagram or general plan which depicts the subdivided portions of land and also provides details on the dimensions of the boundaries, the extent of the land and shows the servitudes.
  5. The survey diagram or general plan and the land surveyors records are then submitted to the Office of the Surveyor General who examines the technical aspects of the land survey process to ensure that all the statutory approvals are in place and to check that the survey has been done in accordance with the Land Survey Act (8 of 1997).
  6. Once approved by the Surveyor General the individual properties can be registered at the Deeds Office and this process is dealt with by a conveyancing attorney. The attorney attends to the registration process and transfers the subdivided portions to a purchaser but can only do so once the conditions of approval referred to in paragraph (3) have been complied with.
  7. Kindly contact should you require any additional information. To initiate the process forward us a copy of the title deed of the property and we would then prepare a fee proposal to attend to the planning and land survey aspects of the property subdivision.

Answers to frequently asked questions on property subdivision are as follows:-

Who do I approach to investigate the possibility of subdividing my property?.
Approach a Professional Land Surveyor or Town Planner to assist in the process of preparing a subdivision application.

Am I able to determine whether my property is large enough to subdivide.?
The zoning scheme regulations determine the minimum erf size requirements and real rights for portions of land within the area of the scheme. In terms of the zoning scheme Residential erven in suburbs such as Nahoon, Berea and Vincent are zoned Residential III Density Zone B with a minimum erf size requirement of 500m2. Suburbs such of Vincent Heights and Bunkers Hill are classified as Residential Zone III Density Zone C were the minimum erf size is 1200m2 and in areas of Amalinda and Haven hills with a Density Zone A the minimum erf size is 300m2. If your property is equal to or greater than double the minimum prescribed area then subdivision is possible. The position of an existing dwelling on the property is however an important factor to take into consideration.

Where do I find out the size of my property?
The title deed of your property will have reference to its extent. If your property is bonded the bank or building society will hold your original deed as security but a copy can be obtained from them. Each land parcel is also depicted on a survey diagram or general plan and these documents available from the Surveyor Generals office or your local Land Surveyor will show the extent and dimensions of the property boundaries.

My property diagram has dimensions in Cape Feet and the area is shown as Morgan. How do I convert these to metric units?
Your local land surveyor will generally assist you with these conversions. To convert cape feet to metres you multiply by a conversion factor of 0.31485557516. Some web pages have conversion calculators that might be of assistance and you could try or to see if they have the appropriate conversion available.

I would like to subdivide my back yard, is street access required.?
Yes street access is required and this is usually achieved by creating a panhandle erf. The panhandle access must be a minimum of 4,00 metres wide. If separate access cannot be achieved on your property then a possible solution would be to create a sectional title scheme.

The title deed of my property has a clause that states the property may not be subdivided. Does this mean that I have no chance of subdividing the property?
No the restrictive condition will however have to be removed from the title deed and this procedure involves additional administrative costs and generally creates additional delays in getting subdivision approval.

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