Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  25 May 2010

PROPERTY: New Legislation For Developers


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Cape property developers, often criticised for insensitivity and for riding rough shod over public opinion, are likely in the coming year to hit back through what is known as ‘vexatious legislation’, says Paul Henry, MD of Rawson Developers.

This particular piece of legislation allows the developer to take action against any objector to his scheme who has caused him financial loss (usually by holding or denigrating a project) if it can be shown that he has used groundless or specious arguments to make his case,” says Henry.  “The relevant legislation has very seldom been used - but it could well be implemented increasingly because objecting to new property developments has become something of a South African national pastime, even when there are absolutely no grounds for doing so.”

More and more South Africans, says Henry, are using their constitutional right as supposedly interested or affected parties to object to and hold up property developments - but, in his view, they are often in a weak position because what they are objecting to has, in fact, been condoned many years earlier by the zoning applied to the property concerned.

The fundamental problem,” says Henry, “is that people buying into high density areas like Cape Town’s Southern or Atlantic Seaboard suburbs do not check the zonings of the erven close to theirs.

When the developer, who has seen the potential for a multi-unit or a large-scale project on the property but who may have waited several years to press the button, finally goes ahead with his scheme, the residents are shocked and dismayed.

This is because in some cases they may find their views impaired or traffic congestion in the area increased or the character of the precinct altered.  In other cases the objections are far less serious.  However, the residents, in fact, have no one but themselves to blame because they have ignored the basic rule in any purchase, caveat emptor.

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