Not ensuring your home complies with building regulations could cause issues when you put it up for sale.

A recent judgement handed down by the Western Cape’s High Court has highlighted the importance of making sure that the improvements on your property comply with national and local building regulations.

It could cost you a lot of money if they don’t.

In the case before the court (Allen v Scheibert (14136/2010) [2015] ZAWCHC 37), the seller of a property signed a guarantee that stated that alterations done to the buildings had been approved by the local authority – but the buyer discovered after the sale had been concluded that a second dwelling on the property hadn’t been approved, and that it was therefore illegal. She sued, and the court found in her favour – and she was awarded more than R 217,000.


Nick Brits – a principle at Gauteng’s Evolve Architects ( – has recently had personal experience of buying a house for the first time.

“When we began negotiating, I asked the seller to provide us with a copy of the title deeds and a set of plans from the local authority so that I could make sure that there were no contraventions of things like building lines and servitudes, zoning, coverage, and density,” he said.

“It’s also important to look at the town planning scheme so that you understand the stipulations for your area, which could cover things that wouldn’t come up in the title deeds – like the maximum heights of roofs.”

Nick said that when he first saw the property, he noticed that a store room had been built next to the boundary.

“That immediately rang alarm bells, because it stood outside the 2.5 metre building line – so there would have to have been an application for a building line relaxation.”

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