Understand Important Issues Regarding Consent Usage Rights and Rezoning Applications

For consent use and rezoning applications in South Africa, you will want to make use of experienced town planners to ensure correct procedures are followed and to minimise the risk of delays because of the lack of information when submitting documents.

If you apply for an application for consent rights on a property in South Africa, you will do so at your local authority that will provide the consent to use the land in a specific manner. Note that you can only apply for consent of use if the town planning scheme governing the particular property states that one can apply for consent rights. If the town planning scheme does not make provision for such an application and the current land use rights on the particular property don’t make provision for the particular type of development you have in mind, you will then need to apply for rezoning of the property.

You will certainly benefit from the expertise of The Practice Group’s town planners regarding the issue of rezoning in South Africa, as this can be a complex process which, if not handled correctly, can take years to conclude. With the rezoning application, you will apply for a change in the zoning that applies to the particular property. A change must be made in the town planning scheme to allow for application for consent use rights or to allow for the particular land use you have in mind.

An example regarding application for consent use will be if you live in a residential zoned area where there are limitations regarding building size, coverage of the stand and usage of the buildings. If you want to make your current residential abode a bed & breakfast establishment, you will have to apply for consent use. The house is currently only for private purposes, but you will want to use the house for partial commercial purposes and for such consent use will be needed.

If, however, you want to convert your home into a business office, you may need to apply for rezoning of the property as the activities performed will not relate to residential at all. With the bed & breakfast scenario, the town planning scheme may allow for usage of the property for such because you will only need to change it from private use to partly commercial use. The town planning scheme would not normally allow for conversion of a residential dwelling into a commercial business office without change in the scheme. You will thus need more than consent use and for this, the property will be rezoned to business.

You will need to make use of town planners, familiar with the land use rights management laws of South Africa. The law is complex and the town planners understand how the application process works and how to structure the motivation for the necessary change in the zoning. Keep in mind that you cannot simply decide today that you want to use your entire house as a commercial office and expect the application process to be completed within a week.

It is thus essential to plan ahead. Such an application can take anything from 90 days to 18 months just to get approved. If there are restrictive title deed conditions, you are looking at about 90 days just to get such restrictions removed. A consent rights application, if not complicated by objections, takes around 6 months to be approved if it is a straightforward application. In the case of rezoning, you are looking at a minimum 18 months for a relatively straightforward and unopposed application to be approved.

If there are objections to your rezoning application, the process can take anything from two to four years. As such, first consult with town planners such as The Practice Group regarding the particular land use rights currently on the property and what steps are involved to have such changed.

If you plan on buying a piece of property with the aim to use it for a different process than it is currently zoned, it is best to first seek guidance from town planners to determine whether the property can be rezoned, whether you will only need to seek consent usage rights, or whether you can expect a lengthy process because of the probability of objections by interested parties.

For information about rezoning in South Africa, call our town planners today.