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
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Cape Town’s popularity as a world-class tourist destination has resulted in a spike in the number of homes available for holiday lets and fuelled investor demand for sectional title units with short term rental potential.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      Sappi, one of South Africa’s oldest global companies and a leading global supplier of sustainable woodfibre products, has moved its global and regional headquarters to a new site on the corner of Oxford and 14th Avenue in Rosebank.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      There’s an old saying in real estate that you should seek to make a profit when you buy, not only when you sell – and a large part of succeeding at that endeavour is buying a home in an area with desirable features that will enhance the resale value of your property.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us