Subdivision - an option?

The following practical matters need to be assessed when you consider subdivision:

  • Is your stand large enough? The general norm for densification in Johannesburg is 10 homes per hectare, or a minimum stand size of 1000m²,  with allowed diversions from this norm specified for each area. In Linden, the minimum stand size is 700m² - this includes the panhandle access, which is often necessary. The position of your house on the property may prevent you to achieve the minimum size requirement.
  • Will you be able to provide panhandle access of at least 4m wide to the subdivided portion? Previously 3.5m was allowed, but now 4m is the minimum requirement.  If it means that an outbuilding will have to be demolished, the cost of demolition and replacing the demolished accommodation must also be taken into consideration.
  • Will you be able to provide a connection to the municipal sewer system?  If the slope allows you to connect to the main sewer line in the street in front of your property, you will be able to allow the sewer line to cross the front part of your own property. But if the back section is the lower part of your property, it may be necessary to ask a neighbour if he will allow the sewer line to cross his property. In most instances, there are no standard servitudes for this purpose registered on properties in Linden, with the result that your neighbour is not legally obliged to allow such a connection to the municipal sewer line. Some sewer lines run in the middle of blocks - between your property and the neighbour,  and this then solves the problem of an uncooperative neighbour. If a sewer connection is not possible, you are wasting time and money by trying to subdivide.

The process of subdivision  takes about 8  to 12 months.  Firstly this involves a town planner, who assesses the possibility of subdivision, prepares the application and submits it to Council on your behalf. It is a legal requirement that a notice be put up in front of the property and that the neighbours be notified of the application in writing.  Any person can object to the proposed subdivision. Most objections are raised by neighbours who fear that the erection of a double-storey home on the neighbouring property will impact on their privacy. If objections are raised, the matter will be heard by the Town Planning Committee. It is unlikely that a subdivision will be refused if it is applied for in terms of  the Council's guidelines for densification, but an objection may lead to certain restrictive conditions, such as a larger than usual building line.

After the Council has approved the subdivision, a surveyor needs to mark the  boundaries of the property and create the official subdivision diagram which has to be submitted to the Surveyor General's office for approval.  Once the approved diagram is available, and all the other  subdivision requirements such as the installation of the new sewer connection and  payment of services contributions to the Council, have been met, a Regulation 38 clearance can be issued and transfer to the buyer affected.

Financial layout for the complete procedure  will be approximately R60 000 to R80 000 - the big variable being the cost of the sewer installation. At the moment, stands in the Linden area sell for R600 - R800 per m². The proceeds of the sale can amount to a nice figure to settle the bond, do some renovations or take that dream trip. Best of all - you have a smaller stand to maintain, pay less on rates and taxes and the value of your existing home is unlikely to be much lower than before subdivision.

If you consider subdivision and would like more information, contact Eduard on



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