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Barend B.
Barend B., Legal Consultant
Category: South Africa Law
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Experience:  BLC LLB (Pret) LLM (Augsburg)
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Certificate of Occupancy 1) We built a house from approved

Resolved Question:

Certificate of Occupancy
1) We built a house from approved plans 1995 and took occupancy with Municipal permission on 29 August 1995.

2) We extended the house with approved plans in 2000 and receive our Certificate of Occupancy from the Municipality on 3 October 2000.

3) We extended the building again in 2007, but received no certificate of occupancy as our engineer and electrician both emigrated before completing the relevant paperwork for us, and due to a dispute with the fire chief over the interpretation of the NBR.

We have received notice to cease occupation from the Municipality, and wish to know the following:

1) Given the two previous occupancy certificates, are we required to cease occupying the entire building, or merely the part for which the occupancy certificate has not been issued?

2) Assuming we are not allowed to occupy any portion of the building, to what extent could we be said to have satisfied the Act if we live in temporary accommodation (a caravan) on the property while seeking to complete the steps required to achieve the said certificate, given that we own the land upon which the house is built?

Your help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks
Stephen
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Barend B. replied 2 years ago.
Good morning,

If the notice does not state that you have to cease occupation of the whole building, it means that the cease notice only applies to the portion for which you do not have a certificate of occupancy.

The same applies to your next question, if it did say you must cease to occupy the whole building but not the whole property, it applies only to the building.

The reason for this is that legislation must be strictly interpreted and not given a wide meaning, and similarly notices issued under legislation.

The cease notice is furthermore an administrative action and you are guaranteed fair administrative action in the Constitution. Should you wish to fight this notice (alternatively the denial of the certificate of occupancy), you could take the municipality to court in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.

I hope my answer has provided some assistance.

Regards,

BB
Barend B., Legal Consultant
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1287
Experience: BLC LLB (Pret) LLM (Augsburg)
Barend B. and 4 other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, Barend

A reading of the document shows the following:

 

1) The Notice section specifically refers to Approved Plan No.: OW1010/06, which plan relates to the latest extension (so based on your answer we would then only have to evacuate the extension).

2) A claim is made that a site visit was made by the Inspector on 20 February 2012. The claim is unsubstantiated by evidence - there were two persons at the premises all day that day, nneither of whom remembers such a visit, and no calling card or other document was produced.

3) The document is not signed

4) The contact telephone number given for the relevant inspector is incomplete

Given the deficiencies listed above, is this document even legal?

 

If not, I assume I could ask them to visit the property again in person at a pre-arranged time to properly serve the notice, whereupon the 30 days compliance would run from the second visit - would that be correct?

 

I can post a picture of the document or email a PDF if that would be useful.

Thanks

Stephen

Expert:  Barend B. replied 2 years ago.
I don't think those are material deficiencies to render the notice invalid, but might be ammunition if they continue to give problems. But it is nonetheless a good idea to request them to conduct a new inspection in your presence.

Regards,

BB

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