Property and building advice

kilobits

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Hi All

Quick rundown.... family bought a house in Plumstead. Next door to this house is a dilapidated and neglected house and property. It has been derelict for close on 10 years, ever since the owner died. It is in a trust that has been approached numerous times to either do something about it or put it on the market, to no avail.

Family members have approached the trust, estate agents and even the local councilors to have something done about this, as it was becoming a vagrant magnet and fire hazard. They have tried to purchase the property and have received little or no feedback or co-operation from any of the parties.

Today there are builders in the neglected property. They are preparing to demolish the structures and lay the foundations for the new double story being built. The new owners of this property are the previous owners of the house purchased by my family. There have been sheriff's of the court and debt collectors seeking these people calling at the house they used to own... now this.

My questions are thus before this becomes tl;dr...

Is permission not required from the neighbours for any new multistory residential development / building ?
What can be done about ascertaining the legality of this sale and development ?

The thought of months of building and noise and dust and rubble as well as a double story going up right next door is giving the family some stress, not to mention the irritation of not having been given an option to purchase as they have been attempting to do for the past year and a bit.

Any thoughts, info, comments most welcome.
 

KaMoS

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As long as the building plans have been approved by the council it's OK. The only time it could be a problem is when the adjacent property is being affected (Vibracrete, Fences, perimeter walls, etc) but even then the council will request the builder to get permission before approving the plans.
 

MickZA

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Here in PE you need to give the immediate neighbours sight of the plans so they can object if necessary.

Best to contact your local Building Inspectors Dept and see if they are aware of what's happening.
 

kilobits

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As long as the building plans have been approved by the council it's OK. The only time it could be a problem is when the adjacent property is being affected (Vibracrete, Fences, perimeter walls, etc) but even then the council will request the builder to get permission before approving the plans.
Hmmmm... thanks for that. She is going to look into the planning part.

It is just that in their previous house, they needed their neighbours written permission before they could have a room extended above roof level. This was needed prior to the plans being submitted to council. Perhaps JHB is different to CPT? Or perhaps they have been misinformed in JHB.

They are attempting to get sight of the plans and permission for this new house next door.
 

kimimaro

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As long as the building plans have been approved by the council it's OK. The only time it could be a problem is when the adjacent property is being affected (Vibracrete, Fences, perimeter walls, etc) but even then the council will request the builder to get permission before approving the plans.
+1
But do people always have to complain about everything.
 

Honey Badger

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Neighbours need to sign the plans off as well. Someone is doing something fraudulently. Go to the cousil offices and ask to see who forged your folks' signature.
 

kilobits

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Here in PE you need to give the immediate neighbours sight of the plans so they can object if necessary.

Best to contact your local Building Inspectors Dept and see if they are aware of what's happening.
That is what I would have thought. It would seem that as long as it does not encroach within 1 and a half meters of the boundary wall, anything can be done provided it has council approval.

+1
But do people always have to complain about everything.
True... but perhaps if it directly affects personal health, wealth and such - some input would be expected.
 

lucifir

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so you had a problem when it was neglected and now that they are fixing it up, you still have a problem because they did not sell it to you??
Its their property, they should be able to do what they want as long as it does not affect the neighbours, would you like your neighbours telling you what you can or cannot do on your property??
 

kilobits

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Neighbours need to sign the plans off as well. Someone is doing something fraudulently. Go to the cousil offices and ask to see who forged your folks' signature.
LOL... apparently according to the local CPT council, as long as the plans for the building fall within the 1 and a half meter boundary wall, there is zero neighbourly input required for any plans, no consultation or permission is required and there is nothing that can be legally done about it if it complies with council building regulations... no matter how much it imposes on privacy, security or property value.
 

Cool E

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The thought of months of building and noise and dust and rubble as well as a double story going up right next door is giving the family some stress, not to mention the irritation of not having been given an option to purchase as they have been attempting to do for the past year and a bit.
stop complaining and accept that they failed to make the right offer
 

kilobits

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so you had a problem when it was neglected and now that they are fixing it up, you still have a problem because they did not sell it to you??
Its their property, they should be able to do what they want as long as it does not affect the neighbours, would you like your neighbours telling you what you can or cannot do on your property??
The problem with the neglected property was one of safety. For a year and a half there were letters, phone calls and even visits to the trustees, local councilors and estate agents trying to get something done about limiting access to the property to vagrants and criminals. Eventually the neighbours bricked up the entrances, cemented the broken windows and installed gates on the missing doors and razor wire along the walls.

Yes, not having dagga smoking tik heads storing stolen goods in a fire hazard next door should be welcomed.

The objections here are to a double story building being built.
This affects privacy as well as the view and sunlight into yard / garden etc.

Build another single story house without any objections... really, go ahead.
 

kilobits

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stop complaining and accept that they failed to make the right offer
It is not about the right offers. It is about the reluctance to get any dialogue going with the trustees for the past year and a half to actually decide what they were going to do about it.

The gripe here really is about a double story house going up in a small property.

EDIT: If the previous buildings owned by the new owners, and their state of neglect, are anything to go by, I suppose one can only hope it is a build-to-sell development. Sequestrated owners sought for bad-debts by many people and sheriffs of the court will undoubtedly be exactly what everyone desires as a neighbour. I guess perhaps one cannot rule out a Lotto win as just how a sequestrated, debt-ridden entity can purchase new property is not in the least a tad worrying.
 
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noxibox

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It's possible they don't have approved plans or are not building according to the approved plans, which is not uncommon, so that would be the first line of attack. In addition to that the municipalities are supposed to rejects plans that would lower surrounding property values. Don't recall privacy being mentioned, but it could well be a factor if there is some constitutional protection thereof. Unfortunately once the plans are approved and if they're following those plans, then your only recourse is to go to court.
 

Colin62

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Go to the council and ask to see the plans that have been passed. If the plans do exist and have been passed, try to lodge an objection, but I suspect it'll be too late and you'll need to go to court to have that changed.
 

F1 Fan

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This could be a lose lose situation. If you try and oppose the building plans and lodge a complaint, which then gets dismissed, your future neighbours would know you tried to stop them from building. May cause bad blood.
 

kilobits

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I think the thought of having the back yard in shadow in the afternoon, the little bit of a mountain view being replaced by a wall+windows+roof and having the entire side of the property now visible to the neighbours are the big primary concerns.

It s not about wanting to just stop all building... it is perhaps much to do with how it has been approached and executed... as long as it is legal.

As said before... demolish and re-build the house as a single story and there will be not even the blink of disapproval.
 

Drunkard #1

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This is going to sound really insensitive, but boo-****ing-hoo.

You don't own the neighbourhood and your rights over your neighbours' properties are extremely limited. No-one has a legal right to a view (as confirmed by the highest courts), nor any rights to impair their neighbours [legal] development. The guiding principle is caveat emptor. When you buy into an area it's your responsibility to examine the LSDF, the zoning laws, and all other by-laws and restrictions you deem relevant, and take an interest if they change. If you want to guarantee your view/privacy/light, you should have secured the neighbouring properties before committing to buying yours because unless you own all the properties around you, you have no rights over them, or any development on them.

You're not the first person, (nor will you be the last person) who wants to live on a 10 000m² property, with jaw-dropping 360° views, with no noise or disturbing neighbours, but all for the price of a bachelor flat and yet close to all amenities and highways. That property doesn't exist; deal with it. Realise that your neighbours have as much right to maximise their property's usefulness as you do, and every concession you're asking from them (without even offering them compensation) is hindering their rights. Rights that are public knowledge, so you are deemed to be aware of them.

So in short, no, council has no responsibility to ask your permission to approve a development that complies with the specifications you've tacitly already agreed to.
 

kilobits

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This is going to sound really insensitive, but boo-****ing-hoo.

You don't own the neighbourhood and your rights over your neighbours' properties are extremely limited. No-one has a legal right to a view (as confirmed by the highest courts), nor any rights to impair their neighbours [legal] development. The guiding principle is caveat emptor. When you buy into an area it's your responsibility to examine the LSDF, the zoning laws, and all other by-laws and restrictions you deem relevant, and take an interest if they change. If you want to guarantee your view/privacy/light, you should have secured the neighbouring properties before committing to buying yours because unless you own all the properties around you, you have no rights over them, or any development on them.

You're not the first person, (nor will you be the last person) who wants to live on a 10 000m² property, with jaw-dropping 360° views, with no noise or disturbing neighbours, but all for the price of a bachelor flat and yet close to all amenities and highways. That property doesn't exist; deal with it. Realise that your neighbours have as much right to maximise their property's usefulness as you do, and every concession you're asking from them (without even offering them compensation) is hindering their rights. Rights that are public knowledge, so you are deemed to be aware of them.

So in short, no, council has no responsibility to ask your permission to approve a development that complies with the specifications you've tacitly already agreed to.
Cold hard reality indeed.

Their intention appears to be one of housing two extended families in their development.
Double-story house and granny flats, all in a 40m x 40m little square in a Plumstead street.

You are indeed correct tho', rulez iz rulez on the playground.
 

ToxicBunny

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Cold hard reality indeed.

Their intention appears to be one of housing two extended families in their development.
Double-story house and granny flats, all in a 40m x 40m little square in a Plumstead street.

You are indeed correct tho', rulez iz rulez on the playground.
Doesn't stop you from seeing if they have approved plans.

Yes, if everything from a plans point of view is above board then you are SOL on this, but from my own experience, alot of people start building without approved plans, or they get plans approved that do not match the end result in the slightest.
 

noxibox

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Doesn't stop you from seeing if they have approved plans.

Yes, if everything from a plans point of view is above board then you are SOL on this, but from my own experience, alot of people start building without approved plans, or they get plans approved that do not match the end result in the slightest.
Unless you want to take it to court. While you may not intrinsically have a right to a view, if that view is part of your property's value, you do have grounds for complaint. Based on past rulings the court may well rule in your favour, but it isn't cheap.
 
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