Buyer Beware: What Are the Property’s Restrictive Conditions?

Many buyers have purchased their dream home, only to realise that the plans they had to add another story, or to sub-divide the property can’t be realised because of restrictive conditions they weren’t aware of. 

“The majority of buyers ask questions about the condition of the plumbing, the maintenance conducted and so forth, but completely forget, or don’t know to ask about the restrictive conditions attached to the property”, explains Bruce Swain, “It can not only cause frustration, but could lead to legal and financial ramifications if the new owners make structural changes that are not in compliance with the restrictions listed”. 

What are restrictive property conditions? 

Essentially restrictive conditions, listed in the property’s registered Title Deed, limit owners’ use of the property in some way – in order to protect the amenity and character of an area. Common restrictive conditions include: 

·         That the property can’t be subdivided

·         That there is a set height limit, i.e. the building may not be more than two storeys tall for example

·         Buildings in residential areas may not be used for business purposes

·         That only a certain percentage of the erf may be covered

·         In the case of heritage properties or areas only certain colours may be used on exterior walls and/or only certain kinds of fences and boundary walls may be erected

“Title deeds are normally retained by the mortagee so buyers often never see it. However, they are within their rights to obtain a copy of the Title Deed from the Deeds Office or from the bank or financial institution that holds the bond”, explains Swain.
Can the restrictive conditions be amended? 
It is possible to get restrictive property conditions lifted or amended – be prepared for a fairly complex, legal procedure. “Even if the proposed developments/alterations don’t require rezoning or the complete removal of the restrictive conditions, it’s still necessary to obtain the local Council’s permission (a Consent Application will need to be completed) and I’d advise buyers / new owners to get a professional’s guidance to ensure the process is technically and legally correctly completed”, says Swain. 
There is a cost attached to the application. Below are the costs levied by the City of Johanesburg, these may vary from province to province – the exact fees can be obtained from the local Council: 

Relaxation of Building Line




Second Dwelling



R425-00 plus 
R17-00 per portion over 5

Division of Land

R3 217-00




R3 757-00


R3 757-00

Site Development Plan


Removal of Restrictions


Simultaneous Rezoning and
Removal of Restrictive Conditions

R2 000-00

“Information remains a buyer’s greatest resource; while it’s possible to get restrictive conditions repealed or altered it’s a time consuming, complex process, it would still save buyers a lot of trouble down the line by simply finding out what restrictive conditions pertain to a property before purchasing”, advises Swain. 

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Whenever changes in the political ecosystem of a traditional property market create uncertainty, smart investors begin to look elsewhere for new opportunities. Property experts at IP Global have analysed the trends and crunched the numbers to find new markets to explore in Europe and the United States.
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Energy and water self-sufficiency are increasingly important factors in home buyers’ choice of property – especially in Cape Town where the extreme drought of the past few years has made municipal supply costly as well as uncertain.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      During the last decade, rampant development has progressively transformed Cape Town’s property landscape with densification being the order of the day, but there are still one or two hidden gems like Scarborough which have retained their original character, offering an inimitable lifestyle and an attractive investment opportunity.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      The rental market is a cut-throat sector of the real estate market that waits for nobody. According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, first-time renters need to be fully prepared before they even start the process of looking for a place to rent in order to avoid the disappointment of losing out on their ideal property.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      Choosing to buy your first home instead of continuing to rent is a big decision that will usually take some time to put into action, but the sooner you can save up a sizeable deposit, the closer you will be to reaching your goal.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      Selling your home is no small task and as you will quickly find out, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Gerhard van der Linde, Seeff's MD in Pretoria East lists the top 5 misconceptions when you are selling your home.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      The Cape Town municipality is now installing water-management devices at properties that have been non-compliant with the new level 5 water restrictions and there are talks of fines between R5,000 and R10,000 for households that use too much water.
    • 17 Apr 2018
      The recent interest rate cut has stoked the coals in the first-time buyer’s market. At least for the next two months until the next interest rate announcement, homeowners are guaranteed lower monthly instalments than in the previous quarter. But, is it wise to take out a 100% bond just to enter the property market while interest rates are low?
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us