Ramifications of selling a home without municipal approved building plans
If you are in the process of selling your home, and don’t have any or up to date approved plans, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.
If you are buying a house, and don’t ask whether the seller has approved and ip to date plans, you might end up inheriting some very expensive problems.
Every homeowner is required by law to have house plans drawn up to certain SANS and NBR standards and specifications, and house plans must be approved by the local authority in their area, it stands to reason that every house will have plans. However this is not always the case, and a lack of approved house plans is clearly a major problem for many people buying and selling houses and other buildings throughout South Africa.
In some cases the owners only discover that there are no plans years after they have bought a property, either because they eventually want to do alterations, or because they want to sell. In other cases eager buyers find at the point of sale that a house they are buying does not have any approved plans, and they want to know whose responsibility it is to have “as built” plans drawn up.
The reality is that if alterations and additions have been carried out on a property without municipal (local authority) approval and the property is then sold, it can become quite a complex legal matter.
Possible issues and problems that can surface
The lack of updated and approved plans could lead a municipality to refuse to allow any further renovations a purchaser might have had planned for the property. In some extreme cases the municipality could order that illegally built structures or additions must be demolished.
Other courses of action include the reduction in purchase price or a claim for damages. In some cases an offer to purchase a house will dependent on the purchaser obtaining a home-loan from a bank or other institution. And in most cases, the financial institution will want to see updated and approved building plans before finance will be granted. If the building plans submitted to council don’t match the building as it stands, then the sale could fall through and set the seller’s plans back for lengthy period, together with additional expenses to have updated building plans drawn up and approved by the local municipality.
The local municipality can also impose fines on any building work that was done without the proper approval.