Building lines on Plan

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  1. Kiddon van der Merwe sê:

    Hallo Janek
    I need some advice please. I live in Cape Town and recently bought a house in the northern suburbs. I have a double garage 10m from the street and 1.2m from the boundary line. The garage is part of the main house. The garage is 4m in height. On top of the garage is my braai area which has an existing thatch roof over it. Now I want to replace the thatch roof with a tiled roof. So my architect mentioned that the city planning department will reject the plans as it is within the 3m restriction zone of the boundary wall and thus we cannot build higher than 4m in this area. Please can you advise me if this is correct as I dont see the logic because there is already an existing structure?

  2. Sujith Bithan sê:

    Hi. My neighbour has built 100mm away from his beacon. Can I erect a wall against his wall or should I leave 100mm that he claims still belongs to him. What happens to dirt and water filling up in between the 2 buildings? Please advise

  3. Hi. I own a plot with a right of way for a neighbor at the back , as in a pan handle, it is measured and noted on my Deeds at 3m.
    1. Am I allowed to use the same as my driveway with a side entrance from the right of way portion?
    2. Am I allowed to build a wall on the 3m right of way boundary allowance closest to my house to allow for security and privacy.

  4. 1.What is the distance between segments of a boundry wall as per the buiding regulation?
    2. When dit this rule come into effect?
    3. If a wall was built in 1984 , what were the regulation at that time?

  5. Colin Sayers sê:

    Hello. I’m building a house. I see that a portion of the rear boundary, from the neighbours has no fence/wall. Do I require a plan to complete this missing section between the neighbours existing vibracrete wall? One section runs partially along this boundary, while the other is a corner post.

  6. Hi. There’s open bush area behind my property. Can i ask to extend my boundry fence in that space a few meters.

  7. Hi .please help me here. My neighbor has built his backyard rooms on our boundary wall and his sewage pipes pass on the boundary wall. What should I do in a case like this. Please help

  8. The National Building Regulations apply to all of South Africa’s provinces. You need plans for any freestanding wall that is more than 1,8 m high. Some local authorities will insist on plans for lower walls too.

  9. Seeing the plans isn’t going to help you because of the timelines, but have you asked the local council if you can access them? Maybe talk to the local building inspector and ask him/her to do a site inspection. What you can do is to check for encroachment by having your property surveyed. Even if it isn’t encroaching on your property, if it is affecting the integrity of your wall you have a case of some sort against the neighbour. That said, unless they are willing to rectify the problem, you will probably need to take legal action which might cost you more than stabilising the wall structurally… if you are to do so.

  10. Every municipality has bylaws that specify how far from boundaries you are allowed to build. For example, it might be two metres from side boundaries and three metres from the back and front. Phone your local authority and ask to speak to a building inspector to find out if they submitted plans.

  11. Every municipality has bylaws that specify how far from boundaries you are allowed to build. For example, it might be two metres from side boundaries and three metres from the back and front. If they have built on your boundary they would have had to have your written permission (if you owned the property at the time) as well as council approval. Phone your local authority and ask to speak to a building inspector.

  12. If there is only one boundary wall, you only need one plan.

  13. Hi there, in a semi detached property, can the owner which is the grandpa submit one building plan for the boundary wall across the semi detached house where the grandson lives next door, or should 2 seperate buidling plans for boundary wallls be submitted.

  14. Hi, please advise.
    My neighbours are encroaching on my property. What is the legal distance between 2 properties in the Germiston area. Their flat is attached to our boundary wall. Who do we speak to regarding this matter.

  15. Dean van Straaten sê:

    If the neighbours built a storage room next to me/their wall and their house, about 2.5 meters , is it legal or not.

  16. Karen Jacobs sê:

    Hallo Penny,

    We have an issue with a neighbour in Ekurhuleni involving an encroachment issue. We have sought the advise of a lawyer but are not fully satisfied with the response. The building in question has apparently been there for 30 years and so we have NO legal rights. We apparently cannot view the neighbours house plans but suspect that the structure standing does not represent what is on the plans. Our biggest issue apart from the encroachment, is that their flat is attached to our boundary wall and affecting the integrity of our wall.
    Please can you advise us.

  17. Zameer Bux sê:

    I have a property and I want to build a wall around it made of blocks about 2.5 metres in height. Am IL allowed to go that high and do I require a plan for this type of job. I’m based in KwaZulu Natal

  18. Reginald Steer sê:

    I live in a city of Cape Town area.My neighbour is building on my boundary wall and a double story.They have not approached me for permission and I am not sure if there will be a window installed overlooking my property.
    Are they allowed to have a window overlooking my property or should there be glass bricks?

  19. Candace van Rensburg sê:

    Afternoon. We share a drive way with our neighbors. The trees in front of their house pushed down the wall between our shared driveway and the other neighbors for the 2nd time who is responsible for the cost?

  20. Mohsin Ebrahim Amra sê:

    I’m looking for information on a single free standing wall that just provides shading for a patio and is not an enclosing wall. It goes about a meter past the building line but is a good 6.5m from the boundary. Would this be allowed?

  21. Hi,

    We live in a panhandle. The neighbour in front of us wants to extend their garage to the front of their property which will take the garage extension to be setback 0.000m in lieu of 1,5m of street. Is this legal and will this have a impact on my property value?


  22. Please advise if shipping containers are allowed to be placed on a boundary in a 2m building line on a permanent basis for storage ?. Can a building inspector order their removal and if ignored are there other remedies ?

  23. Hi there, Just want to check before I do anything……. We own a property in Northcliff with an amazing view.

    Our neighbor is on a subdivided property – both stand are attached to our border. The property higher than both stands had a pool next to our boundary wall – no problem. They have now drained the pool and erected a 2 story cottage – with space for 2 residents – on top of the foundation of the pool – the structure is only 70 cm from the boundary line / fence – with windows overlooking our property. The owner did speak to us before construction but said that all windows on our side would be frosted glass…..this has NOT been done.

    There is the main house, this wooden 2 story structure PLUS the staff quarters with an additional cottage above the garage.

    The lower property was sold recently and the house re-developed. With this they realized that the above staff quarters / cottage was sliding down the mountain and the new property owner added extra foundations to keep the structure ‘safe’ …… one of the pillars to do so was built onto our property over the border line – nothing was said…..or NO request to do so.

    Would just like to know………what is our rights on this?

  24. Goeie dag

    I am about to purchase a property. They cannot provide me with the building plan, they did build a flat on the property and said that is not on plan as yet. But I think the garages is also built newly and close to the border line and not on regulation. They cannot provide me with the title deed or building plans. So I don’t know how safely the building is done because I don’t know if it was inspected or not.

    The bank did finance all and want to proceed with registrations. I don’t want to proceed because of the extra building that is not on plan. they only mentioned it to me AFTER I have signed the offer to purchase.

    Please help, what is my rights and how can the bank proceed without them seeing the plans?


  25. Our neighbours have planted hedge trees on our boundary. Is there a height limit to hedge “walls”? Can we request the neighbour to maintain the hedge at the height provided by the municipal bylaws for brick walls?

  26. Laila naidoo sê:


    Please can you kindly assist, I live in an estate and our neighbors have extended their property to 1m away from the boundary wall to us and they have installed sliding doors and windows which we were not aware of thus impacting our privacy and noise levels. Is 1m away correct? And what can I do regarding the doors and windows facing us.
    The area is Sunninghill johannesburg

  27. Brad Gooding sê:

    Hallo Penny
    I have I have a client who had a contractor build a single brick boundary wall between his property and that of the neighbors property, when boundary lines were checked it was found that the wall encroaches by 700mm into the neighbors property, the neighbor has no issue with this , client has asked me to break the wall down and rebuild according to his boundary line, so the question is is it necessary to remove this wall and rebuild or could it be classed as a joint boundary wall between the two properties?

  28. Lefetsa Johannes Sehlabi sê:

    Hi i am asking on behalf of my sister she’s staying at Protea Glen ext 29 at the back of her yard is the road to randfontein she wanted to build a house the yard is 11by 30 now the problem is the plan was not approved cause they say she must leave 16m away from the wall at the back what i don’t understand is neighbors build rooms leave only 2m from the wall but for her is not allowed they say is risk can you please help me on this matter

  29. I have a boundary wall which was built without a plan as my dad was advised if the wall is less than 1,2m high no plan is required. I was advised now by a Building Inspector whom checked these boundary walls that I need a plan fir these walls as they are Boundary walls.

    Please confirm if a plan is required now or not.

  30. Dear Sir ,
    We had a very bad wind storm and damage my Prefab walls and now the insurance only want to pay out 25% of the total cost and stated that the offer of 25% is out of good will and will not cover the total damage ,are there a specification for prefab wall and are the insurance correct to pay only 25% out of good will. The wall is build on Boundary.

  31. My neighbour has built a tiled roof over their garage which sits on the boundary wall between us. Is this allowed? With the recent rain the water is now coming down my wall even with the gutter installed.

  32. hi. Can I put a 1m Pallisade fence on top of my existing Boundary wall?

  33. Hi Terri,I have the exact problem with my neighbour,please can you tell me what steps you took,I’m in durban

  34. goeie dag,

    I want to build a koi pond in yard. the size is 2.5m x 1.5m with a depth of 1m.

    1. Do i need the pond on my building plan?
    2. how close can i build the pond to my building line.

  35. Good day I’m Dwayne.

    Can I build a garage on my boundary wall separating me and my neighbor’s property?

    My house foundation is a meter from the ground and I would like my garage to also be this hight. This will mean that the wall of my garage that is on the boundary will be considerably high, will this cause a problem?

  36. Hi All.

    I want to build a braai against an existing wall on our property. Which is in a complex. I have submitted a request to the trustees, and this was their response. Is this correct, as coming from a building back ground i have never heard of a 1.5 m away from a structure rule to build a chimney-less braai.

    “The matter was referred to the board of trustees and their feedback is as follows:

    According to the municipal guidelines it is all about fire hazard. An open braai (without a chimney) must be a minimum of 1.5m from ANY structure (patio canopy/carport or brick building). In this instance a plan does not have to be approved by the municipality and only trustees’ consent is required.

    “Should the braai be closer than 1.5m to any structure described above, the braai must have a chimney which must be at least 1m above the height of the nearest roof structure height and/or a minimum of 1.5m from erf boundary. In this instance a plan will have to be drawn up and approved by the municipality.

    In your case, with the braai against the garage (or closer than 1.5m), the trustees will first have to approve your application and then a plan must be submitted to the municipality for approval, and the braai have a chimney that complies with the abovementioned specs. ”

    Just to highlight what the law actually says: Whatever you construct on your property needs plans, unless it is defined as “minor building work”. Even so the Act states very well in Part A: General Principles and Requirements (this was previously Part A: Administration), that any structural building work that is defined as “minor building work” requires approval by your local authority’s building control officer before you can commence with any work . So long as you make an application to get the proper approval from the local authority, you DO NOT NEED PLANS . But the law is also very clear in terms of compliance with the regulations; minor building work must adhere to the regulations.

    But nothing on a 1.5m rule

  37. Good day, i live in cape town i see you are speaking about changes in the by laws. Just to get it correct, so i do not need my neighbors consent to build a garage 1 m away from the boundary wall? . Another question, what rights do i have concerning the “pavement in-front of my property, can i lay paving without asking the municipality?

    Byvoorbaat dankie.

  38. Hi Janek.
    Can you please let me have the link for the sample letter of consent from a neighbor to relax the building line? Many thanks.

  39. Riaan Du Plessis sê:

    Hi, this is now a brilliant site..
    Question : Timber Play Structures for children i. e. Tree House, Playhouse, Jungle Gym (I do not like that name/frase), what are the regulations stipulate… same as per Tool Shed…

  40. Hi, I have 2 Questions. Are you allowed to build a pool over the building line? And the same for Pergolas?
    Or will you have to apply for building line relaxation in these cases?

  41. Hi I live in tabel view cape Town and I who’d like to now what is the distances that a naber can make a fire from the bondry wall to me

  42. Leslie McCarthy sê:

    Hi what can be done if my neighbors have a very big Wendy house against my wall which I paid to be put up and this is a eyesore no matter which way I look . And I am trying to sell my house and cant because of this . And I also dont know how the plan was passed to have all windows looking over my entertainment area. As all the housing in my street have total privacy on the entertainment side . What can I do as I cant sell my house on these 2 reasons. I have approached, but he says he loves it the way it is .

  43. Hi im over 1 brick to the boundary but now my neighbor has a problem because our column is next to hers we are not obstructing anything there what can i do now . I want to know if i can apply from the mucipality that portion to be mine because i have tried to talk to her before building but she refuse to come out

  44. My house and boundary/perimeter wall was built in 1990. Wall is single layer bricks 1.8m high. Insurance Assessor visited premises to ascertain value for insurance purposes in 2005. Pay insurance based on property value ever since. Nothing was mentioned regarding the wall being out of scope. The boundary wall has now collapsed (fallen over). Insurance does not want to pay for damage. They claim it should be a double layer brick wall. Please assist with building regulations for boundary walls in Pretoria.

  45. Hi

    I am not sure if this website is still active but I have a question.

    I reside in Tshwane, faerie glen in a complex. In the complex we have a 5m servitude that runs inside the complex. 10 metres to the right of the servitude we have our boundary wall with an additional 2 metre servitude.

    I know no permanent structures are allowed to be built on the servitude, but can internal walls run across the servitude legally? Can walls run parallel to the servitude as long as they are not on it? These walls pretty much demarcate exclusive areas and separate the gardens from one unit to the unit next to it.

  46. Hi, my neighbor has built very close to my boundary. My question is – is he obliged to cement & paint that part that’s almost on my property? He has cemented everything else.

  47. The rule: to have a window or door 1000mm away from the common boundary in single residential – does it apply to perpendicular walls or only those facing the boundary?

  48. Good day, my neighbour has shifted his wendy house from where it stood in the back of his property to the wall right next to my bedroom window. I know its his property but I now have no privacy to my bedroom. How close to the vibracrete wall is he allowed to construct this wendy house where people actually live in? Im so unhappy right now but don’t want to fight with a longstanding neighbour.

  49. Fowzia Brandt sê:

    Hi I would like to make my yard more secure , so I would like to build a privacy block wall right around at 2.7 meters in height in my yard on my property do I need a plan to enclose this as well?

  50. i have been staying in my place for 36 years, house was built in 1952, there was a municipal servitude for the waste removal- bucket system – those years back but the previous owners have devided the servitude up between themselves, my neighbour has the front half and I the back half where pool pump etc is fitted.Does my neighbour have any claim to the back piece of land?there are no sewer or service pipelines there, and do the servitude rights expire in such a case , unused for over 40 years or more.He is claiming my piece of garden is creating damp inside his lapa, but the lapa roof is resting on top of the boundry wall, rain water runs directly down the wall, thus he is causing his own damp – please advise


  51. in a complex where properties have been built on boundary. 1stly who ownes that wall.that is a part of neigh ours struxture? 2ndly i have an ivy plant growing up the wall on my s8de. Can the ne8ghbour force me to rem9ve the plant

  52. My neighbor visited me an requested me to sign the site plan that I have no objection to her extension of bathroom suit. She did not disclose to me that her extension will come to the boundary line, hence my house is already on the boundary because of limited land. I have signed on the site plan having no objection for her to expand her house since she is having enough space but I was not aware that I was signing relaxation of building lines because there was no letter stating that she just provided me house plan extension and showed me the place where m I supposed to sign.

    I am not happy because she put the bricks on the wall and the municipality is claiming that we are sharing the boundary and I have signed the site plan. What can I do to revert this problem

  53. W. Van Dyk sê:

    My neighbor built his lapa against my brick wall fence which is now collapsing. The lapa was built without my consent. They want to erect a new double brick wall but for my account?


    This is closest connection to my query so posting here.

    I would like to place a shipping container on my buildings boundary line, well actually in the space between the boundary line and the building. I cannot find any regulation forbidding this.

    Can anyone assist?

    Dankie by voorbaat.

  55. Morvonne Marvonne sê:

    Hi I got a corner plot is there any regulation regarding me building right on the pavement boundaries

  56. Hi Anne, The short story is whatever restrictions are the most limiting must be followed. In other words if the regulations say a building line is two (2) meters and the title deed says three (3) meters then the three (3) meter must be followed. On the other hand, if the title deed says one (1) meter and the regulations say two (2) then the two (2) takes preference. I hope this explains. So yes, you will need permission from your neighbour if you want to deviate.

  57. Anne Darling sê:

    My deed stipulates that the building line is 1.5m on the lateral sides of the property. I believe the building code states 2m.. which takes presidence as I had my design done due to my deed and now apparently I need permission from my neighbour. Please advise thanks

  58. I live in Pretoria and want to build a loose standing carport, how far from my neighbors boundary wall should the structure be ? i assume i need to draw up some new plans for that ?

  59. Petrus Peyper sê:

    What are my rights when my neighbour uses my half brick boundary wall built within the boundary line of our property, i.e. the outer brick face is within our boundary, and on our property, for purposes of a retaining wall approx. 1.1m high, to dispose of builders rubble and in the process changing the fall and contours of the land, our wall, the half brick boundary wall with supporting columns at 2.8m centres, with expansion joints, is already showing horizontal cracks and water damage to the plaster / flaking of paint, your advice and comments please

  60. Aveline Terblanche sê:

    Goeie dag,

    I wonder if someone can assist with how your title deed and municipality regulations tie up?
    We built a 2nd dwelling on our property 2m from boundary.
    Our title deed states that we can build 2m from boundary.
    Long story short, we gave the plans in at municipality and applied for relaxation in 2007.
    Seems our plans and relaxation letter gone missing at municipality.
    Now that we want to sell we have to draw up new plans and get approved at municipality.
    Municipality wants us to break down 2nd dwelling because according to them we are over the boundary line which must be 5m.

    Does the title deed count for anything?



  61. Shaun Ulyate sê:

    My neighbor has built on top of my existing 1.6/1.8 precast wall. It is now 3m and looks totally unstable and unsafe. Further to that he damaged my existing wall.

  62. grensmure
    how far apart are the expansion joint.
    free standing wall piers , what are the requirements

  63. David Velayadum sê:

    Hi, just want to fi d out if my neighbor is allowed to erect a windy house right against my wall. Do you need a plan for a windy house. Thanks

  64. Hi my neighbors wall is our boundary wall can I use his wall to put up a walk in closet or must erect my own wall please advise

  65. Hallo Penny
    We have a property which is quite old and was originally part of a huge plot which was subdivided and pieces were sold off starting in the late eighteen hundreds and our portion was the remaining homestead which was the last final piece. The subdivision of the pieces did not include attaching all the common passages to the pieces sold off so what it has left is our piece having all these passages attached. Although they all flow into each other there are 2 which are quite a distance from our main property. We would like to extend our home to include the ones surrounding our property and the remaining two which are quite wide but are located between 2 other homes we would like to turn into storage garages. Will we be allowed to do something like this? These passages run from our street in front of our home to the street behind us and between the neighbours immdiately behind us. We have consulted the local building inspector who informed us that there is a bylaw which gives the coct the right to annex our passages because they run from one street to another. I find this very hard to believe I have tried finding this bylaw but I can’t. Can the city claim these lanes if they are part of my erf? I have no restrictions on my titel deed either with regards servitude etc.


  67. Shirley Heuvel sê:

    Good evening,just want to know if it is right from the neighbours to put loose roof shelves against our wall? There is no space between their Wendy and our wall,and there is a lot of damage against our wall

  68. George Whiteside sê:

    I have a carport which is 30cm from my boundary wall facing the street.
    Due to a recent theft of my motorcycle I want to enclose the carport using corrugated iron sheeting on three sides and a motorised gate at the front.

    Is there any legal reason why I can’t do this?

  69. Cymon Charnley sê:

    We are purchasing into an estate development in Cape Town and am querying the building lines and garage structures.
    The developers have indicated a 3,000mm building line to our properties boundary line (common building line), yet in the plans whilst the house outer wall is within the 3,000 mark, from this point a pergola roofed carpark extends up to the property boundary line (to be wall), which I am told can be enclosed at a later stage (at my cost) to create a garage
    Questions :
    1/ Is the 3,000 common building line correct, as your example above suggests 2,250
    2/ What are the building restrictions within this (3,000 – 2,250) area – the pergola legal, will I have challenges after purchase when I chose to enclose the pergola carport into an enclosed garage

    I thank you for an informative site.

  70. Gray Brunton sê:

    My neighbour has installed an air conditioner on to house wall which is actually on the boundary of our properties. I would like to know if this is allowed. He never asked if this would be fine we us. Besides being an eye sore to look at it also makes noise.
    When I informed the neighbour about the unit being on my side, he answered that “unit is in the air”.
    Please advise what I can do to get it re positioned.

  71. My neighbor has excavated his property in front of his house, problem is not only are they hitting the water pipe every week.this afternoon i came home to find my property wall completely gone and its about 1.m in. and you can see the sand is not stable is there a constant flow down.and the height from the our level to the excavated bottom is over 4m high. And to top it of the front wall has a large crack which is about 2fists put together apart( you can clearly see its about to cave in. when i confronted him he said it wasnt his problem. cause there is no foundation under our wall. , this is a boundry wall no more than 200mm high kinda like a step up from ground level call it decor which has been there for the last 35 years, since we built the house we have had no notice been given nor informed of any possible stability issues. When i asked about plans that are approved and if i should have been notified or have signed approved plans. he said thats not needed anymore, neighbors dont need to be informed,i must speak to the property owner if i have issues. PLEASE HELP IM NOT A LAW BOFF NOR A BUILDING INSPECTOR- and the property owner is over seas this is his holiday house.

  72. I’ve had a house built. They have built the garage wall on the boundry, should there not be a space between wall and boundry ? Also there is no access to the back of my property from front to back. Surely there has to be a code that states there must be allowance for access to round the building?

  73. David Thomas sê:

    Good day. Please can you advise if there are any regulations for the construction of boundary walls, such as the reinforcement by inclusion of brick force?

  74. How high can I go with Devils fork fence?

  75. Hi Rene, Up to one meter is OK, in fact most municipalities allow 1.8 meters and you do not need plans.

  76. Hi Pule, You must contact the building inspector from your local municipality planning department and report it to them and they must inspect the build.

  77. My neighbours have builded their house over the boundary line (a fence between me and him) without my consent..what must I do?

  78. I really didn’t know about the regulations (as the chairperson of the trustees said it would be no problem) and I didn’t on purpose want to do anything wrong, so I have already organized for the extra panels to be removed. Luckily it is a very short fence. I have lost some money, but at least now I shall be more aware concerning such regulations. Thanks for the helpful website!

  79. You will need to contact the local authority as it is all to do with bylaws rather than building regs. Also it is linked to the zoning

  80. Contact the local authority because he will need approved plans from them as well as permission to build multiple structures and/or buildings he plans to rent out. If the building line of his property doesn’t allow him to build that close he will need your permission – which you can of course refuse to give.

  81. If it is a bylaw issue then you will need to talk to the council. Only they will be able to answer your question.

  82. Hallo Penny,

    I need to ask a qeustion relating to the 2m boundry line. We live in a complex and our living area is a bit packed. So we looked at some possible ways of opening up a bit. We found that we like the new aluminium and glass structure. We started enquiring with the Body corporate as it is a sectional title scheme. They approved it. So we started enquiring about the plans and we were informed that due to the fact that we are on the boundary wall. We will be entering in to the 2m section as per our by laws.

    The qeustion here is.

    Is it possible to obtain permission from council to enter the 2m section?



  83. My neighbour is building a rental structure (flats) about 2 meters from the border line, of which my house is 3 meters from the border. This will prevent me receiving enough direct sunlight especially in the mornings. Is he within his Rights to build so close to the borders and what is the regulation regarding rental structures in the neibourhood? Do I have a right to complain?

  84. Hallo Penny

    I would like to build a double storey unit on my land in Hillary, Durban.

    I understand that we are allowed to build multiple units as it zoned for such.

    I would like to build atleast 120sqm per storey living area (240 in total) so I would need to maximise land.

    My question to you is, what is the allowed distance to build a double storey unit from boundary walls without special resolutions?

    Also, what is the legal height boundary wall can I build without any plans?
    I would like to start something so long and just add to the plans later.

    Thanks in Advance

    I am trying to avoid special resolution because of the cost implications.

  85. 1. You not only need permission, you also need approved plans.
    2. I’m afraid so.

  86. Hi
    1: i hv build a garage in a front boundary wall 1meter in the boundary wall then extended my balcony 1m outside the boundary…do I hv to get permission for dat?

    2:is it possible to be fined R 40 000 for my above situation without being given a notice to rectify de mistake. ?
    tanx …!!
    regards Gift

  87. If the bylaws and/or title deed require building to be 1500 mm from boundaries, then you will need a waiver from council to build closer. Usually there is a set percentage of linear metres that people may build along a boundary. But there is no standard length. Contact your local authority (municipality) to find out if they can give you this information.

  88. Sometimes and sometimes not. There are usually bylaws that specify building on boundaries and what percentage of the boundary may be built on. You will probably find this in the zoning plan for your area.

  89. Cobus Nieuwenhuizen sê:

    Goeie dag,

    We have a small plot of 235m2. As far as i know the house has to be 1500mm from the boundry walls. But can the garage actually be build right up to boundry walls or close than the 1500mm?


  90. Andrew Ardington sê:

    Hallo Penny

    I assume from all the examples i see that you can get permission to build your garage on the boundary line?

  91. Good heavens – and you are a conveyancing attorney! I suggest you contact the planning dept at the City of Jhb and ask what their requirements are. It can be done in the right circumstances. People often change entrance points.

  92. Goeie dag.

    I need some help/clarification on a property that my client is selling.

    The property is about 2.5 hectares, and leads up to the hill.

    This is where the clients want to build the house from, for the view etc. The surrounding houses/complexes next to the Erf are also built from the top side of the hill overlooking the area.

    I have been advised that the property entrance to this specific erf is at the bottom, which is not going to be favorable to the new buyers.

    The Sellers have advised that they can apply from the JHB council to get the entrance approved from the other street (hill side) and make that their entrance point to the property. What type of application is that and how can they go about in applying for permission to change the address / entrance. Can this be done?


  93. It depends on zoning and your title deed. You will of course also need to have plans drawn.

  94. Your best bet is to complain to the local authority.

  95. Many hardware shops sell gates. Go shopping!

  96. I’m not sure but assume it would need to be in the title deed. A lawyer would be able to advise. Someone at your local municipality might also be able to advise.

  97. You can try objecting to council, or have a look at the PAJA legislation.

  98. If you don’t want to approve the relaxation of the regs then don’t!

  99. I have no idea what you mean by the “Gautrans” servitude line … however all servitudes are marked on title deeds and this will show exactly where it runs from and to.

  100. 1) Who owns the wall? If it is on the boundary it could be joint ownership – if he, or a previous owner of his property erected it, chances are he owns it. Have a look at the section on Ownership of Boundary Walls and Fences in Hierdie artikel. If you own the wall or it is owned jointly, then you have the right to either refuse permission for him to do this (force him to remove it) or if jointly owned, you both have to agree.
    2) Check with local authority regarding the by-laws. There is a chance you will find that coiled razor wire is not permitted.
    3) The height of the wall may also be a factor in terms of the by-laws or general safety, if low.

  101. Hi,

    I hope this is the appropriate place to ask this question.

    My neighbour recently erected an unsightly (also quite low quality workmanship – unpainted welded steel with coiled razor wire) structure on top of our joint boundary wall. The structure contains steel and galvanized razor wire. No consent was obtained from me prior to the erection of the structure. The position of the alteration is right in front of our main living area and I would dearly like him to consider an alternative. I requested him to find a mutually acceptable alternative, but he is however adamant that this is his solution to his own security and I will remain as it is. Do I have any recourse? Some background: he had a recent housebreaking incident.

    I don’t know where to start. Advice would be appreciated!

  102. Thank you for the clarifications!

  103. All walls over 1,8 m must have plans so report this to the municipality. Point out that the foundations are inadequate. The council has the right to demand demolition.

  104. Any walls over 1,8 m require plans.

  105. These structures cannot be erected legally without plans. And certainly not used for living. Contact the City of Cape Town and ask them to send out an inspector. If they don’t, take photographs and submit a written complaint.

  106. Yes you do – and you need approved plans

  107. a) Your local municipality will be able to advise if there are restrictions.
    b) If the screens make the walls higher than 1,8 m then you might need plans.
    c) There are several articles on this site that deal with elektriese heining. I have given links to two of them.
    d) I have written quite a lot about this, I think mostly in the comments relating to fences … You can ask them to cut the branches – you can also trim those that are on your site. It is always best to discuss this with your neighbour first.

  108. We are in the process of purchasing a property with a panhandle driveway of about 50m. We have a few queries we need some clarity on. Can we:

    a) put a swing gate at the front of the property? And if so, any restrictions or rules we need to be aware of?

    b) can I add modesty extensions on the interior property walls? Basically screens to improve visibility as most of the neighbours can look into our yard due to the slope? Approximately 65cm increase in height of the standard wall.

    c) can I put electric fending on the wall (without lean into the neighbours yards?

    d) if trees overhand into our yard, what are the rules? Can I ask the neighbours to trim and remove the cuttings?


  109. Yes you can – and if they refuse to pay you can take steps to force them to demolish the wall.

  110. I’d hate to accuse anyone of bribery and/corruption! Put your complaint in writing and take it personally to the head of planning at the municipality. Send a copy of the letter to your local newspaper.

  111. The previous owner should have a copy of the correspondence – and so should the council.

  112. There is nothing to force him to do so, providing the wall is not on your property!

  113. Council would have to give special permission.

  114. The only thing you could try is to get an independent report from one or more reputable building contractors, or better still a building specialist (perhaps an engineer) who works as an arbitrator in the industry. However, since you’ve been in the house for a decade, chances are these problems are due to wear and tear. Also, check the small print in your insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover so-called “acts of God” then don’t bother paying for reports etc.

  115. Devan Nair sê:

    Hi I am currently having various problems regarding the property we purchased in 2006 .

    Firstly we had a problem with swimming pool , were we had leaks in a fixed pool built into ground as a fiber glass lining .We had a few pool specialist come out , including one from the Bank and we were told the cracks were due to wear and tear and due to ground movement . Claim as rejected .

    Second and third problem, was due to recent flash flooding from about a month ago :

    – roof leaks which resulted in ceiling collapsing – bank sent out 1 assessor who basically reprotd it as wear and tear and claim was rejected
    – rock feature wall which goes from parking to pool , after heavy rain’s a section of this wall collapsed when we tried claiming we were told that this wall was built to NBR standard’s

    I am basically highly annoyed with Standard Bank , because all the areas wer pre- existing . When it came to bonding and insuring property they sent out their assessor’s who should have inspected and advised if there was any concerns as to items which weren’t up NBR standard . I have no clue when this wall was built , however , it was there when we purchased and insured property .

    Please kindly advise if you can assist with any suggestion to challenge Home owner’s Insurance .

    Vriendelike groete
    Devan Nair

  116. Sounds like a false declaration! Hope this worked out.

  117. If the fence is over the boundary line and your neighbour is planting over the line – i.e. on your property – you can force him/her to remove the trees and plant them on his/her side of the boundary. I suggest you peg the boundary and string a line to show accurately where it is!

  118. Sounds like fraud! The problem is that you are now the owner and so liable. You would need to take legal action against the previous owner.

  119. The legal distance you can build will be governed by the local bylaws and possibly the body corporate. You probably need to get legal advice.

  120. Deon Labuschagne sê:

    Best Penny
    We are faced with an awkward situation. We purchased a ruin in a sectional title. The building was extended and previously approved by the Governing Body and the Mdoni Municipality on the South Coast. The owners were sequestrated and the property was never completed. We bought the damaged property on an bankrupt auction form the Body Corporate. After our purchase we had the property surveyed on request of the Body Corporate and discovered that a one corner of house encroached with the neighboring land. (approximately 2.46m) We requested permission from the neighbor for encroachment. The gentleman agreed to sign for an amount of R 25 000.00. We discovered that his land was divided but never registered as such at the Deeds Office. The land is baron and has no access. It is between a highway and our complex. Due to complications and costs we decided to demolish the encroached corner up to a meter from the boundary line and apply for relaxation. The owner refuses to sign. 1. What are our rights? 2. Who is responsible? 3. What is the legal distance that we may build from the boundary line? If we demolish 6 meters it affects the original, registered building. We need assistance because we have little assistance from the body corporate. Kind Regards. Deon

  121. Michael Long sê:

    Haai daar,

    Thank you for this drawing. I have already printed it out and stuck it up in my study at home (where all the creative building plans tend to be concocted).

    May I please ask. I have one of those houses whereby the garages are set back about 1 car length from the road with no gate in front of the property. As such you can drive off the road onto you in front of garage parking and enter the property from either the garage or the side gate that is on the boundary wall. (really hope this makes sense). I would like to put up a gate now along the boundary line (such that the cars now sit in front of the garage, but behind a gate). However as the garages were built a little closer to the road than i would have liked, the gate will literally be set back 1m from the road line. This is significantly closer than my current boundary wall is to the road line, about 2 meters i would guess.

    Would this be allowed or perhaps special permission given or am I perhaps barking up the wrong tree and would never even be considered. I have even thought about maybe making it a floating structure in order to say that nothing is bolted to the ground post the allowed building limit.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.


  122. hi my neigbour has put a boundry wall between mine an his property but did not plaster or paint my side

  123. Hallo Penny

    my house is a double story on the other side and i need to add more rooms ontop of the garage as well, do i need municapl authority to do that

  124. Goeie dag Penny,

    i purchased a house about 3.5 year ago. about 6 months back i got a letter in my post box from the building inspector saying to call him regarding plans that are not approved…

    To my shock, he said that the plans for my entertainment area is not approved. From further research, i discovered that the building plans was withdrawn 3 month before i purchased the house, but the previous owner did not tell me that the plans were not approved…nor did he indicate that there are any faults.

    can you advise?


  125. Hi my neighbors erected a 6m×3m wooden wendy 30cm. from my boundary wall.As a result the rain from the sloping roof pours onto my property. There is no gutter.The roof itself is a mismatch of broken pieces of chipboard and plastic banged together. The. long side of the shed runs parallel to the wall so we have to see this unsightly work whenever we come outside infront. We are in cape town. mitchellsplain. What would u advise,as the neighbors aren’t concerned about it.My other fear is that it could be a fire hazard as there are now 3 of these sheds on their property all being used for human occupancy.

  126. Esta Dreyer sê:

    My neighbour build a “afdak” against the wall by our swimmingpool. It looks terrible as it is in our eyesight at our entertainig area at the swimmingpool. He also hang stuff their against the roof of this “afdak” which is visible from my bedroom window. This construction of his is buildt with sink plates and does’nt look nice and there is no space between this construction of his and our wall. Please help!

  127. Hi, we bought our house 4 years ago, however we are having endless problems with the neighbour ! He has had the building inspectorate at our home, claiming there are discrepancies with the boundary wall. We contacted the previous owner and have been advised there was a “SPECIAL RELAXATION” signed by the neighbour for this as the neighbour has built a block of flats and our previous owner signed a “SPECIAL RELAXATION” for this, hence they bascially both sorted out their building problems this way … however now our neighbour seems to have forgotten about this special relaxation hence we need to know how we obtain this letter and provide this to the building inspectorate, we live in Umdloti KZN … we do not whom to contact in this regard

  128. Goeie dag
    I have a question,
    what if I put up a wire fence between my property and my neighbors but the fence is a good foot in my boundary line, and my neighbor plants small trees against my fence which threatens to damage it. Can I complain?

  129. Hi Penny, neighbor subdivided his property into 4 plots across from me,the main house which sits on the corner of two rd’s and the only driveway /servitude to access the other three plots are in the same rd but the owner of main house just closed existing driveway and opened another one in my rd.surely he had to obtain all his neighbours permission first, also the one plot which faces me only had a very old broken down building about 20 square meters on it, the new owner just started building this into a small house, this building is about 2 meters from boundary/road fence, surely this is against the law. The building inspectors turn a blind eye to all this.

  130. Hi

    my neighbour in front has erected a 8 slab high wall obscuring and completely hiding my house basicly. My house is direct behind his house. is that a legal height. i have absolutely no view of the road in front.Neither do i have a vision of my front door when i approach my house at night, cause it poses a danger for someone to hide, house has been broken in just after the wall was erected.

  131. Hi

    I recently purchased a property in Craighall Park. On surveying the property for subdivision purposes I found that the neighbour has built the boundary wall well into my property due to the fact that a sloot runs along the boundary line. They then covered the sloot and have effectively gained themselves extra land.
    Can I claim compensation for this?

    Vriendelike groete

  132. Goeie dag
    My neighbour had a garden shed built on the erf boundary. The original wall was 3 meters heigh measured from the foundation on my side. They have now raised the wall by 1,8 meters without my permission. In the process my view on the neighbouring hill is taken away. I have raised the matter with the metro who indicated that there is nothing they can do about it except that a building plan would be required. The foundations were not strengthened either. Is there any way I can force them to break down the wall to the original height of 3 meters? It is a double brick construction.

  133. Haai daar,

    Where does the Gautrans servitude line starts being measured? Is it from the road or the erf boundary wall?


  134. Arshaad Cassim sê:

    Good day. I want to alter my double garage into a double storey entertainment area and would like to know what distance away from my boundary lines I need to be to affect such and extension? I am based in Durban.


  135. Hi Penny, we just received an letter from a developer that bought our neighbours house at the back of our property and he is going to build a 3 story complex. The developer want to apply for relaxations of the building lines on all sides , the relaxation to the street we have no problem with but all the other sides we do as our little freestanding units will have no sun. Our units faces South with most windows and glassdoors facing north for warmth and sunshine. Our units was built 18 years ago. Can i write a letter to say that we not having sunshine is the reason we are objecting? Will that be taken in consideration?

  136. Hi Penny, I would really appreciate your opinion, I have an empty 1500m subdivided stand adjacent to mine in Pretoria East, and the developer & now wants to erect a double-story house 3 meter away from my boundary wall. This is all fine, but the problem is that his side faces my front view & the ground slopes upwards in a northern direction (my house faces north). He is cutting and filling on the side facing me & his ground level will start around 3meters higher than my house’s highest ground level? His house’s total height will be around 8.5m to the roof. As he is uphill from me, the 12m construction (3+8.5m) will totally block the sun from reaching my northern facing house until at least 11:30 in the day for a large part of the year. It would be like changing my house from being a north facing house with sun, to experiencing a south facing (shaded) temperature effect. That goes without even mentioning that that will devalue my property or that we have to stare into the side of his house “a 12m block” which also has the entrance to his domestic quarters? Thx

  137. Hallo Penny,

    When buy a plot of land, who’s responsibility is it to point out the boundary beacons.
    I’ve made an offer on a plot. On the declaration that was sent to me it states that he is able to point out the boundary beacons, but when i asked him to do so, he says that i as a buyer will have to verify this?

    Please advise if you can.


  138. Hi Ronnie, firstly you have to establish who owns the wall. Check your boundary pegs and see who’s property the wall is on. You might need the services of a surveyor for this. If it is on your property then he has no right to build on your wall. Conversly if the wall is on his side then he can build on it and you cannot damage his property. If the wall is directly between you both then common law says that you must draw up a legal agreement between yourselves about who can do what to the wall.

  139. ronnie govender sê:

    Hi Penny , I have boundary wall my neigbour raised my wall for his safty. Do I have s right to demolish the wall at any given time if I need to build.


  140. We are currently in the process of buying our first property. How long will it take to get plans approved from city

  141. Hallo Penny,

    Our neighbour of our neibouring plot in an estate in Cape Town has asked our consent for relaxation of the 3m building line to 2m. We are happy to give him this consent, granted he gives us the same.

    What are our options to make this formal and binding? Can we ask him to attach a contract to his title deed? We are not sure when we will build yet, and he might have sold the property by then. If the contract is not attach to his title deed, would the contract become void once he sells his property?


  142. Good DAy

    Can u help, im looking on information on a back yard gate on our property.

    we have a front gate, but we want to put in a back gate for walking to the shops, as its faster, than to walk around the block


  143. It depends on the existing height of the wall. Any freestanding wall over 1.8 m requires plans. So if it’s under 1.8 m you don’t need permission from anyone though you should notify the local authority of your intention to raise the height. However, in the interests of good neighbourliness, perhaps you should discuss the matter with your neighbour.

  144. Your local authority will be able to advise – it depends on their zoning by-laws.

  145. I would say no! If the council and a land surveyor have verified your claim, there is no reason why the supreme court shouldn’t … and it will cost your neighbour a lot of money as they are likely rule that he pays your costs and moves the wall. I hope for your sake I am right. Good luck – let us know what happens.

  146. Neighbours house and wall partially built onto our plot. He refuse to move the wall even after land survey confirmation and confirmation from City of Cape Town. Case is now in High Court. Are we wasting our time?

  147. Goeie dag Penny

    I am from Belhar Western Cape, please confirm how far from the boundary can I build a carport.

  148. Melissa van Tonder sê:

    Do I need permission of my neighbors on a duet erf if one wall of my single story house is on the building line(previously approved) and I wish to raise that wall with 300mm for waterproofing purposes?

  149. RENE VAN WYK sê:


  150. I’m not sure Rudi. From what I know The South African Heritage Resources Agency took over the function of the National Monuments Council and they are now the national administrative body responsible for the protection of South Africa’s cultural heritage.Founded: April 1, 2000
    Address: 111 Buitenkant St, Cape Town, 8001 Phone: 021 462 4502
    You don’t say where you are, but the various local authorities do have there own guidelines and requirements as well. You might find some useful info hier.

  151. Hallo Penny,

    We are however caught up in a real predicament and all we have is an engineers report that state the property we bought is over a 100 years old. There are NO plans that the municipality have on file and they want us to demolish the property. There were 28 structures demolished in the name of the group areas act in the town and what we want to do is restore and preserve this structure that we found served as the power station for a period after WWI to run the main street lights for 3 hours at night. We do not know what else we can try and do to hang on to the preservation the old property ? How do we apply for a restoration permit if there are no plans on file and the building runs 35 cm from the border of the subdivision ? Do I get an architecht to draw up new plans with proposed changes and try to submit these even if they are totally against modern building guidelines ?

  152. It depends on the zoning for your area. Your local authority will be able to advise.

  153. Walls and fences up to 1.8 m do not require plans.
    You need plans for any type of home except a caravan which is mobile. Park homes are NOT mobile homes.

  154. Gavin those are all questions you will need to ask the local authority. Different local authorities have different by-laws regarding building on road boundaries, and zoning of your property will determine how close to the corner you can go.

  155. That’s an interesting one Alan. I would think it should be covered by Part F of the NBR … but the info here is scanty. I think though that if an area has been filled, this must be shown on the plans. Quite how you can police it I’m not sure.

  156. Liewe Penny,

    I stay in Oakdale (Bellville – Western Cape) and am considering building a double garage on my property. I am situated on a corner plot, without a splay (90 degree corner). However due to limitations within the erf (pool, pool pump, etc.) I am wanting to build the garage in the one corner of the property, with the front of the garage facing the boundary (cadastral line). The garage doors will be roller type and not swing, which means the doors will be located approximately 300mm inside my cadastral boundary.

    My questions are thus: (1) Can I build the garage onto the road boundary (with the door or doors fronting onto the sidewalk area, (2) How close to the corner of the property can I go (all the way?) seeing as how my one vehicle will then effectively be accessing the garage almost on the bellmouth and (3) alternatively I could rotate my garage so that the left and back walls get constructed as my boundary walls and I make the entrance of my garage parallel to the boundary wall.



  157. Chances are you didn’t have any right to see their plans. As far as a screen is concerned, as long as you erect it according to the regulations they can’t stop you from erecting it. See more hier. This means that as long as it is no higher than 1.8 m you don’t need plans. To cover yourself, notify your local council in writing that you will be erecting the screen from whatever you plan to use, and give the height. Your neighbour has absolutely no right to remove anything that you erect. If they object they will have to go to the council or an attorney – which is why I suggest you cover yourself by notifying the council.

  158. I would simply remove the screen. If you are determined to have the screen, you will need approved plans. As far as the leaves are concerned, this is nonsense! Nobody in law enforcement will take your neighbour seriously – ask him what law he is trying to enforce! Let him sue you if he wants to … it’ll cost him a lot of money and be thrown out of court.

  159. You require approved plans from your local authority – end of story. If they won’t approve your plans you can’t build. You will have to have them redrawn to comply otherwise should you go ahead and build, they have the right to force you to demolish the structure.

  160. Goeie dag

    I’m residing in Malmesbury Cape Town.
    Just want to know what I could do to build a room on top of my garage on the boundary wa,my neighbour approved this howewer the town plannning from swartland. Municipality rejected my plans as either I. Go a meter away. From the boundary which will limit my space and force me to do a concrete floor where I would have made use of a wood floor. Or the only way they allow it if me and my neighbour build the same. House similar look. Me and my neigbour went in person to see town planning and they gave us the above story however I’ve seen around cape town similar double storeys on the bounder. I can do with some useful advice kindly help Thanks Hilton

  161. Hallo Penny

    Thanks a ton for answering all these mails!

    I’m in Sunset Beach, Cape Town and last year, after a lot of moaning from our neighbours I had many of the branches of the 5 conifer trees situated 1m from my (2.1m) boundary wall, between us, removed so as to reduce the number of leaves that fall on both our properties. Removing the tree branches resulted in his balcony being easily visible from our entertainment area and swimming pool.

    This year, with the start of the SE wind (the end of winter) he complained again about leaves. He also said that the leaves were a nuisance and that he had contacted law enforcement about this. So, in an effort to have this mitigated and also in order to restore our privacy we attached a 2.4m bamboo screen on top of our boundary wall (total height +/4.5m) along the section where the trees are (about 15m in length, the total boundary wall length is about 30m). The trees are about 6-8m high.

    At some point I had a discussion with the neighbour and said that whilst I would rather not have the trees removed, that if he wanted he could have them removed at his cost. I had a price of R 2500 for the removal. he said that the trees were mine and that I had to remove them.

    The bamboo screen rests on top of the wall (the wall is on my property and I own it) and is attached to about 8 vertical timber beams screwed into my side of the wall and cross-braced with 2 horizontal battens. These timber items extend about 1m above the height of the boundary wall. The timber elements are visible on our side only as when we started attaching it to the wall the neighbour complained that they would be visible to him, so we had the screen installer place the bamboo on his side.

    A few days later I had the building inspector serving a notice on me, not because of leaves, but now because, according to him I have no prior permission to build. Apparently this was motivated by the neighbour.

    So, can you give us some advice.

    One option is to submit a formal plan, that requires a formal drawing for this “structure” and then to see if the City approves it (apparently this has to have a formal drawing). One option is to sink some poles into the ground 300mm or 500mm away from the wall and then to put the screen on these (same height). Another is to cut the bamboo into panels and to attach brackets to our wall so that we can lift and move these easily (they are not heavy) – this might then be classed as a temporary structure.

    We are tired of the on-going drama and it seems that no matter what we do it is never good enough – what is the most practical solution here?

    Baie dankie


  162. Hello Penny, My neighbours to the back of my house have build a real eye sore and I want to put up a screen to cover it. The screen will help plant grow to a desired height to cover it. They built their house very low as the terrain is descending on their side so I have a direct view of their roof and water heater not to mention their poorly built house. They saw me putting up the screens and have threaten to take them down as it will block sun from going into their property which is not so. I could never build anything high enough for that. Can they take any legal action? I never consented to their building plans of their house which was finished 1 year ago.I was never even asked to see or approve their plans. I would have definitely said no. Please help.

  163. Alan Burrow sê:

    My neighbour is building a house in front of mine (site A), and is excavating and disposing the excavated earth on the neighbour’s property adjacent to him (site B), which is also partly in front of our house (presumably with the owners permission). How will this affect the calculation of the maximum height of any building on site B in the future. Thanks in advance.

  164. Julia you need to contact the local authority for info about building lines. It will be in their zoning regulations.
    The building regs are available from he SABS – either from their offices or online.
    And yes you may very well have problems if there are no updated plans.

  165. Your local authority will be able to advise.

  166. I don’t believe there is one.

  167. If it’s going to slide across his property you do need his permission.

  168. You need plans for the wall, not relaxation of any regs.

  169. It will depend on the complex rules and regs. Check with them.

  170. This will depend on the zoning of the property. Your local authority should be able to advise.

  171. Better to get a land surveyor Gerhard.

  172. Are you saying that they have blocked off the panhandle so that you can’t access your house? If so that is totally illegal and the municipality MUST take action against them. If they refuse to you need to go to a lawyer … I’m not sure what you mean by having to park 2 km “for safety”?

  173. Hi penny, hope you will help, my neighbour erected fence over a panhandle boundary and we informed the concerned parties but no one is helping, we have to park our car 2km away for safety.

  174. Good Morning,

    Can any land surveyor confirm that my boundary walls is previously built correctly?
    Or do you have to get someone from the local council?


  175. mashikinyamdr sê:

    Good Day. I live in Soshanguve north of Pretoria. our houses are built less than 6 meters apart. I want to know what is the limitation on the distance between houses that is allowed. Where can 1 go to get the information about such matters

  176. Hi Good day
    I just bought a empty stand in KZN South Coast. I just want to find out if I want to put up a wire fence what is the max hight that the wire fence can be with out building plans. I want to clear the land and close it up before building. Since I am doing every thing cash, I can not do every thing at ones but need the place to be secure. Also if I build a log home or put a park home on the stand which is not a fixed structure do I still need building plans,

  177. I stay in Cape Town in a complex and would like to build a braai (with the correct fire bricks etc) on my side of the garden. It is a very small space and I would like to know if it is legal to build it on my side of the boundary wall? Or must I leave a space between the boundary wall and my braai? Thanks

  178. I want to build a boundary wall and i would like to know what is the legal height that i could erect the wall without a plan?

  179. How close can I build to my neighbours wall in berario randburg

  180. Does one need to get “building lines relaxed” to build a boundary wall higher than 1.8m all around the inside perimeter of a property boundary or does this regulation only apply to the buildings?

  181. I want to put a sliding gate on the outer side of border of my drive i need permission to put this gate up and also the gate will slide allong side the neighbors wall,this will also be on the back side of his border.His wall is very hight and he will not be able to see the gate as it opens and as i said it will be on the outside of his border.Do i need his permission aswell?

  182. What is the minimum building line restrictions which is exempted but local authorities.

  183. Want to build sê:


    I need to submit plans for relaxation. What all is required?


  184. Hallo Penny

    Thanking you in advance. Id like to confirm if the standard building line for residentual homes in Randburg are as follows; 5m from the front, 2m from the sides & 3m from the back. ( there are no building lines on the plan that I got from council)

    I’d also like to find out where I can buy the building regulations from?

    If I have bought a house and there has been new additions to the house with no updated places submitted to council, will I have a problem when do alterations to my home?

    Thank you,

  185. Thank you for your help. The fact that CT has relaxed these laws seems astonishingly unfair.

  186. Absolutely not! There is not law (or obligation) that states walls must be built between properties other that those in estates.

  187. Yes, CT has changed its zoning scheme and you no longer require neighbour’s consent to build on a boundary, providing all the regulations are adhered to. There are restrictions in terms of how much of the boundary they can build on plus they can’t have windows looking directly onto your property +++. Once they have their plans approved they can go ahead and build. You can probably delay this by waiting until the last moment to lodge and objection. You can also look at the PAJA Act…this can sometimes help.

  188. My Neighbour has agreed to subdivide her property and allow somebody to build a house between their house and mine. They just informed me that they plan to build on my boundary wall. I strongly object to this. They were unfazed and asked me to sign that I object “to speed up the application process”. I live in Cape Town. You mentioned in one of your previous replies that “Cape Town is the exception”. What does that mean? Can they go ahead with this building without my agreement? I will never agree to that. Thank you.

  189. Thank you so much Penny, will contact the Kwadukuza Municipality tomorrow and advise their feedback!

  190. If I find that my neighbour had already erected a perimeter wall between my plot and his, am I supposed to pay him some money as a later contribution to the wall I found erected?

  191. First question – if it was their wall then yes they can increase the height without your permission, but not without approved plans from council. Only walls up to 1,8 m are considered geringe bouwerk and so MAY not need plans.

  192. Every servitude is different – so you need to find out what was registered. There should also be some guidelines in terms of what can and can’t be done on the servitude. I doubt that landscaping would be an issue.

  193. If you read the info on this page you will see that it spends on certain factors, largely council zoning and the building lines on your title deeds.

  194. To force you to “fix” the wall he will have to take legal action. To force him to pay 50% might be how you resolve the issue IF he takes legal action. To play devils advocate: You are not obliged to provide a wall between your property and his so you could always threaten to simply demolish it if he doesn’t pay 50% – or if you are not prepared to “fix it”. However, if the wall falls over and damages his property you will be liable. So weigh up everything. There are also regs in some municipalities regarding how close to a wall you can plant trees, but you would then have to take action against whoever planted the trees in the first place which is hardly viable.

  195. He must be able to give you a reason? I would go ahead and plaster it. If you are improving it he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. But I can’t be held responsible if he objects.

  196. The building line will be on their title deeds and are probably the same as yours. Contact your local authority for assistance.

  197. Janine it is very likely that the trees and irrigation system are the problem. If so, they could be held liable for damage – though you might need to get an attorney involved. Even if this was a garden wall, you can hold them liable for damage.
    To ascertain how the builder got permission to build the house with a wall of the house on the boundary, you need to approach the local authority and ask to see the plans. You might find that a) it’s isn’t on the boundary, or b) it might have located incorrectly.
    I would also check your title deeds and ascertain exactly where the pegs for the property are located.
    If all was done legally, to adjust a boundary line you would either have to come to an arrangement with your neighbour to buy a strip of land from them or to have a servitude registered. Both will require their acceptance, and since they won’t allow you to access their property, it’s unlikely they will even consider these options. So in this instance you might just have to take action to force them to give you access – and hold them responsible for damages.

  198. Contact your local authority and lay a complaint. State that you demand they break down the stoep. Not having seen the structure it’s impossible to say whether it would be classified as geringe bouwerk, but a 4-meter wall certainly isn’t and would require plans.

  199. It is absolutely NOT your responsibility to retain the bank Fiona. Apart from anything else ALL keermure of any type – and “structure” that is intended to “resist the lateral displacement of materials” (which is what they are using the sandbags for) need plans – because of the implications of the retaining soil collapsing onto your property. As an aside we had a similar query a couple of weeks ago – where a developer built up the land alongside a vibrecrete wall and built on the fill. Not surprisingly the wall collapsed and the builder is facing charges in court. I have no doubt that he will be forced to pay all damages and remove the fill.
    In terms of boundary lines, as I understand it, when an estate is developed, they get permission from the local authority to develop in a certain way. Boundary lines would be approved at this stage. But if any waiver is required I am pretty sure that neighbours’ approval would be required, and quite probably approval of the local authority. So you need to find out what the approved rule (in terms of the development) is regarding how close to boundaries people can build. As a property owner in the estate, you have a right to demand to see the approved site layout for the estate (i.e. what was originally approved by the local authority). I would also appeal for assistance from your local authority.
    Laat weet my wat gebeur.

  200. They are using your wall as a retaining wall which is illegal. End of story! Contact the local authority and ask them to step in and help.

  201. Start by contacting your local authority

  202. Sean the quickest and easiest way to resolve this is to contact the planning department of your local authority and ask them to investigate. Put your case in writing and email it. Anything that connects to your boundary wall is likely to need permission from you. Plus it is probably that he will need plans.

  203. If the wall is on the boundary it might belong to the person who erected it – or it might be common property and owned by both parties – i.e. the neighbours on either side of the wall. A lot has been written about this on our web site – feel free to browse

  204. Hallo, ek besit 'n panhandle-eiendom op 'n landgoed. Langs die kant van my panhandle-oprit het die buurman minder as 'n meter van die grenslyn gebou. Die grond het teen die panhandvatsel skuins geloop, hierdie eienaar het sand langs daardie grens gevul om 'n platform te skep om so naby aan die grenslyn te bou, aangesien hy 'n klein erf het en ek veronderstel wou gebruik maak van alle grond wat hy kon. Ek het dit met die boedel bevraagteken en is meegedeel dat hulle hom toestemming gegee het om dit te doen. Maar my groot probleem is dat hy sand op daardie grens gevul het om sy huis te bou en dit met sandsakke behou het en 'n bank geskep het. As dit reën het daardie sandsakke in die verlede in my eiendom ingeval, en elke keer sit hy die sandsakke terug. Hy sê nou dat dit my verantwoordelikheid is om die bank wat hy geskep het te behou aangesien ek die “onderste buurman” is wat geen sin maak nie. My verstaan is dat as jy sny, dan behou jy. As jy vul, dan behou jy. Kan u asseblief adviseer wat die werklike regulasies hieroor is. Hy het hierdie bank met die toestemming van die boedel geskep en nou het hulle my eiendom in gevaar gestel en my in 'n posisie geplaas waar ek moet betaal vir 'n bank wat hy geskep het.
    Hierdie ou is 'n ontwikkelaar en probeer stoom oor my rol. Kan u asseblief die reël met betrekking tot boulyne en die verantwoordelikheid van bewaring adviseer.

  205. If you are planning to live in it you need plans and approval. Board of Agrément South Africa is a body that operates under the delegation of authority of the Minister of Public Works and allows for certificates that confirm fitness-for-purpose of a non-standardized product, material or component or the acceptability of the related non-standardized design. If you want to place a container on your land as a temporary structure, you will need permission from council.

  206. Mark the National Building Regulations regard “any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,” as geringe bouwerk – which does not require plans. However, as you will see on that page, even minor building work requires authorization by the local authority’s building control officer before you can commence with any work. So technically you do need permission to build a 1,2 m high boundary wall. Ultimately it is up to the council to decide. So you’re going to have to contact them or risk being told to demolish it at a later stage.

  207. I’m afraid you will need to involve an attorney for this one. I’m pretty sure you can claim damages against both the estate agent and the seller. And on the surface it looks as if you have an open and shut case – but it’s going to cost you. In retrospect you should have asked to see the approved relaxation docs before proceeding with the sale. Double check that the plans were followed to the last letter; there have been cases where neighbours have not built totally to plan and they have been forced to demolish the structure.

  208. This is a duplicate question that I have answered already – elsewhere.

  209. Flakie, All properties have building lines – and these show how close to a boundary you can build (3 m is common, but they do vary). Chances are there building lines are in keeping with yours. In most areas, if anything is built closer to the boundary than allowed (as per the building lines), then they need permission from neighbours as well as from the council. Cape Town is an exception. If they aren’t prepared to move the structure, then you will need to complain to council.

  210. Flakie Potgieter sê:

    Hi Penny, thank you for all your great answers. Unfortunately I still need your advise regarding car ports – how close to a boundary wall may a carport be erected? (We live in Jozi.) The reason for asking is our neighbors’ car port is built within 10 cm of the boundary wall between us. Due to this the electrical fence ‘leans’ across the boundary wall. I would appreciate your feedback since we would like to have the structure moved further away from the boundary wall.

  211. Bert it may be possible, but your best bet is to contact the council. It will depend largely on the zoning regulations of council.

  212. Thabile I don’t understand what your neighbour has in fact built in place of a carport. If you look at this link, you will see that carports generally do not require plans because they are considered to be geringe bouwerk – as long as they are no bigger than 40 sq meters. The definition of a carport, according to SANS 10400 is:
    “building intended to provide shelter for a motor vehicle, caravan or boat and having a roof but having walls on not more than two sides”
    I am also not sure what “relaxation application” you signed. Was this for the wall? Unless you gave permission for her to put the steel bars into your wall, she cannot do this and you have the right to make her remove them.

  213. I stay in Secunda my neighbor has built a wall that joins our houses ( as I have built my garage’s wall on the boundery). She had built a wall from her house to my wall that’s on the boundary, she claimed to be building a carport and in addition to that also erected still bars that attaches from her house to my house. Basically our houses has become one house. Is this allowed? On the relaxation application which I signed it stated carport. What is definition of the carport? When applying for relexation isn’t the neighbor suppose to signal of building plans too as an indication that it has been clarified what they are signing for and what is the role of municipality?

  214. I reside in Tulisa Park and would like to add a out building to my existing garage and convert it into a granny flat. this will take the new addition 1.5 meters away from my palisade fencing in the front of the house. Is it possible to apply for a building line relaxation from the council.

  215. Ek bly in 'n kompleks in Roodepoort. Dit is 'n deeltitel. Ek en my buurman het mure wat 1,5m hoog is. Ons wil dit graag uitbrei tot 1,8 m vir bietjie privaatheid. Ons het albei daartoe ingestem, maar die huidige muur is 'n enkellaagmuur met goeie fondasiepilare (2 baksteenlaag). Kan ons verleng tot 1.8m met 'n enkellaag of moet ons planne kry en 'n dubbelsteenlaagmuur doen

  216. We recently bought a property and our seller disclosed that he had given permission for the neighbour to “build a double story within the 3 meter building line”. I was told by the estate agent that the renovations would be on top of the garages infront of the property and that we wouldn’t see it at all. The seller did not disclose that he had given permission to have the boundary relaxed from 3m to 0m and that the building would be at the back of the property, infront of our garden and entertainment area. Due to the relaxation being down to 0 meters, the neighbour is building the double story on my boundary wall! I have been to the council and got the approved relaxation documents and approved plans, all signed by my seller. In the last 10 days they have put up a huge monstrosity right infront of our pool and entertainment area. We now look onto a huge brick wall. The roof will be put up soon, do I have any recourse at all?

  217. Good day, just like to know if “walls” and “fences” are the same . In Tshwane you need approval from Tshwane to build a 1,8 meter boundary wall. But do not need Tshwane permission if you build a boundary wall for 1,2 meter.

    My question: can i build a 1,2 meter boundary wall and add 60cm of electric fence on top of this wall or spikes without permission since the wall is onlyn1,2 meter, or do they look at total 1,8 meter (1,2 meter wall and 60cm fence)?

    I am living on a plot, and all my other sides of property is 1,8 meter electric fence

    Thank you fir this great website

  218. My neighbour built a stoep that is built directly onto my dividing wall. Flush to my wall and overlooking my garden? They want to build a 4 meter wall now but i want them to break down their stoep. what are my rights?

  219. My house is built along the boundary between my property and my neighbour’s property (The developer built all the houses in the area in this way. I bought the property a year and a half ago). The wall serving as the boundary wall is the external wall to my bedroom and my spare bedroom. I have developed a damp and mould problem along that wall. The neighbours have refused to give me permission to access their property to assess the damage and determine the cause of the damp, or to treat and paint the wall. I am also concerned as the neighbour has very tall trees growing against the wall with an irrigation system to water the trees – this could be the cause of the damp. My questions are: How did the developer get permission to build the house along the boundary wall and can I have the boundary moved to give me access to my house; is the neighbour allowed to have trees and high shrubs growing directly against my wall; what rights do I have to access the neighbour’s property for the purpose of maintaining my home.

  220. Hi Shakier, I am not sure how you managed to do this as it sounds illegal. If you have occupied the piece of land for some time then you must put a request in writing with photos and reasons to the council to consider selling it to you. The only problem would be if it is a registered “servitude” then you will have very little chance.

  221. Hi Hennie, This is more of a legal matter than a building regulations issue. It all depends on how your HOA agreements are set. My undrestanding of an estate is that the owners only have title to the building/dwelling that they live in and that all other surrounding land including walls, fences, driveways are “common ground” unless agreed to in writing by the HOA. This you will need to check up on. Further, is the claim made by the neighbour substantiated by any agreement in writing. And are the boundary/site surveyor pegs still in place that prove that this is so. If it is no to both the above then, firstly it is up to the HOA to allow the wall to be raised and secondly you might have to get the HOA to get the boundary between yourselves surveyed and pegs put in and see if it is on his side. What ever happens get an agreement in writing done between you and your neighbour so you both avoid future misunderstandings.

  222. I recently purchased a property in a HOA complex. Our perimeter wall between our neighbour and ourselves is ±3 rows of bricks lower than 1,8m and we need our privacy. The neighbour claims that the wall is entirely erected on his side of his property and will not allow us to raise it higher. After how many years does that wall legally become a 50/50 ownership in order to attach a gate or raise the wall. The wall was erected during 1999.

    Thanks for your assistance – I have read many of your replies and they are very informative as well as valuable.

  223. Hi i stay in mitchell plain cape town and the house we bought,the vibacrete is 1.5 meters over the boundary line.can i buy that from the coucil??

  224. Hi,

    I have a piece of land that I want to develop in future…. however, in the mean time I want to get a container home and place it on the property,,, what are the restrictions on that… do I need to get plans… and so on?

    Vriendelike groete

  225. Haai daar,
    I was hoping you could assist me, my neighbor has started building an “Afdak” that extends pretty much completely round his house. However on the side that joins to my property, he is extending it right up against our boundary wall.
    Further more it seems as though the corrugated roofing which he intends to put on top, will end up either on the boundary line or over the wall.
    Also because the erf slopes down, the structure rises up above my wall, looks hideous…!
    Now from reading around, I see if properties are below 500sqr metres, buildings may go up till the boundary line, so Im a little concerned.
    Including that fact that he did not even consult with me.

    Three questions;
    What do the regulations say about such extensions?
    If it is in fact illegal, what regulations do I state in a letter to him and the municipality?
    Would he have needed to building plans drawn up for this?

    Dankie vir jou tyd.

  226. Hi, I would like to know who owns a wall which is part of a building right on the boundary line. The wall of the neighbouring house faces into my property.

  227. Hi,

    Our neighbour is bulding right up against our boundary wall, literally 1 brick space between the walls. Is this allowed? Who can I contact to find out where the building line is?


  228. Goeie dag

    I stay in Port Elizabeth the suburb of Blue Water Bay. My neighbour is buildin a flat on his property, the space between the flats wall and the boundry wall of the two properties is about one meter. I was never consulted on the matter and I am not happy with this as I feel it is going to devalue my property.
    What can I do in this matter.


  229. Hi,

    I lve n durban , and my Neighbour refuses for me to plaster the side of the wall that FACS my property. He has bag washed my side and it looks untidy. Is there anything I can do about it?

  230. Hi,

    We recently bought a property in Cape Town, Western Cape. Due to the long Palm Trees we never noticed one side of the boundary wall seems to have shifted from its original position (due to the roots of the tree) over to neighbours side. The boundary wall in question is shared by our neighbour as well.

    We inquired from the original owners they said when the wall was built they had steel/metal support installed in the wall so the wall will not fall easily.

    Our neighbour is forcing us to fix the wall and we only moved into the property just over a year.

    When i look at the wall it does seem to be leaning to the naked eye. However when i inquired from surrounding neighbours (in a walking pass discussion, Hi/Hello) they told me the wall has been such since years and the neighbour (who is forcing us) complains all the time. Its like an annual thing for him.

    My question is can he force us to fix the wall? Also because it is the only boundary wall separating his property and our property can i expect him to pay 50% towards the repair cost?

    Adviseer asseblief

  231. Hi, I need to ask what the distance from a stormwater servitude to a building is and also need to know if it is allowed to create landscaping on a the same servitude?

    Thank you,

  232. Sabelo Kunene sê:

    Good Afternoon,

    I would like to know how far towards my fence can my neighbour build his house garage?
    Is there a regulation and clause number you can refer me detailing this?


  233. Nicole Penny sê:

    Our neighbours increased the height of the pre-cast boundary wall to 2.1m (from 1.8m) without our consent. While doing this they destroyed our beautiful hedges which covered the ugly pre-cast wall. Would this be allowed (ie are they allowed to raise it without consent)? Your hep would be much appreciated!

  234. Jay I think that the measurement must be done on the lower side of the wall – so if it is higher than 1.8 m on his side then you would have required plans. Since it is your wall there is nothing to stop you attaching a trellis to the wall and growing plants and creepers over it.

  235. The NBR states that “any freestanding wall built with masonry, concrete, steel, aluminum, or timber or any wire fence that does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil,” is geringe bouwerk and does not require plans. However you do need to let the local authority know you are building and the have the authority to call for plans if they believe it is necessary.

  236. Vicki Wagner sê:

    Please could you advise. My neighbours are busy completing the building of a new house. They have also landscaped their property and while doing so, have raised the ground level. We have a precast concrete panel wall between us (six panels) and they have raised the soil level on their side by two panels with the soil packed against the fence. Our property is already situated about 2 meters below theirs and I am afraid heavy rains and the added weight of the soil could destabilise the wall. What are my rights? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

  237. We are going to be doing an article on this topic soon but in the meanwhile here is a table that should help:
    Tree distance from walls

  238. You must inform them (your neighbour) in writing that there is an illegal discharge of water on to your property and they must rectify this immediately. At same time you must put it in writing and take this, together with a copy of the letter to your neighbour, to your local council planning department and give it in and get a reciept. They must send an inspector and he must advise the neighbours that they are breaking the law.

  239. Pieter Kruger sê:

    Hi Sir
    I stay in Bloemfontein where my neighbour has installed a wall right on the boundary to connect two buildings with each other. They also installed a roof with the over hang on to my property where all there water run off flows into my yard. What can I do and what is my rights.

    Help asseblief.

  240. Lindsay taylor sê:

    Goeie dag

    Kindly please help me with guidance, how far from your boundary wall should the trees be planted from the boundary walls according to the National Buildings Regulations.



  241. Hi

    i want to build a boundry wall infront of our house, there are currently very low vibercrate.. will i need a plan to put up a wall

  242. Sorry for the spelling NHBRC someone by the name of gary was emailed.

  243. I recently extended my boundary wall between grumpy old neighbor with out planning permission as we live on hill his property is lower and wall looks higher on his side.. He has reported me and now demanding I lower wall to 1.8 m first question is this measurement obviously taken from my side ?

    Second question am I allowed to attach trellace onto a wall that is 1.8 and have it extend above the 1.8m and grow plants / creepers ?

  244. I stay in Dinwiddie (Germiston) and our new neighbors are building a boma with the wooden beams of the frame resting on and hanging over our boundary wall. I’m worried that it would affect the integrity of the wall in the future. Is this allowed?

  245. You are not allowed to have anything that goes across the front of any of your neighbours. You could get their permission and the council permission as well. There are other type of gates that open inwards and are made for driveways like yours and avoid this problem.

  246. Hi, Depending on the type of soil that is being built on the foundation wall should be a cavity wall but the cavity must be filled with either mortar or concrete. Brickforce must be used as well. The finished level will be the level of the foundation brickwork and the concrete floor slab. The cavity wall built above this must be a cavity wall with a minimum 50mm gap and with wall ties.

  247. This sounds totally illegal. Contact your local council building inspector and ask them to investigate.

  248. It depends on the zoning by-laws in the area and on the size of the erf that the house is built on. Mostly properties that are under 500 sqm are allowed to build up to the boundary but the best is to call the local council planning department and ask them about your property.

  249. Karan le Roux sê:

    Hi there, I live in Benoni Gauteng and I have recently seen buildings being built directly onto the boundary wall facing the street. Is this now allowed? I hope so, because I would like to build a granny cottage and this would give me more room on the limited area I have available to build.

    Thank you and kind regards, Karan

  250. The National Building Regulations state that walls and fences to a maximum height of 1,8 m are regarded as “minor building work” and do not need plans. Read this article grens-mure-en-heinings

  251. You might be ok, check these two articles, the first on swimming pool plans if you are in the JHB area and the second about carports and minor building work.
    1) jhb-swembaddens-grenslyne-planne
    2) geringe-bouwerk

  252. Goeie dag,

    We recently moved into a new house in Pretoria – we have a long driveway which is part of our property, we want to install a sliding gate but this means that it will have to slide past the neighbours boundary wall facing the street (are we allowed to do this ?) – the neighbour has a lot of reeds planted next to the boundary wall facing the street and if we install the gate some of these reeds will get damaged – can this cause problems for us, if the neighbour does not want to allow this and we go ahead and do it anyway? Is the reeds planted next to the wall on the street side not part of the municipality ground?

  253. Hi

    I have your book,but all is not a cavity wall,should the foundation have a cavity to be filled later or not necessary.and should I use wire ties every 2 courses but what about brickforce?
    lookink forward to your reply


  254. Hi, I have a common vibracrete wall which separates my property with my neighbours. They now raised the vribracrete without consulting me and in addition to this they have also cut holes and put windows into the vibracrete wall. These windows now look directly into my property. Are they allowed to put windows on a boundary wall which in also a common wall?

  255. Pieter Hugo sê:

    Hallo Penny,

    I’ve received a letter from the municipality regarding my objection and they’ve dismissed my objection.

    They regard the 900mm pavement as sufficient for pedestrians and the unplastered cement brick retaining wall as aesthetic acceptable.

    Can I (i) appeal against this finding or can I ask (ii) that the case to be referred for arbitration?

    What is the correct procedure for the two options?


    Pieter Hugo

  256. Samantha I really don’t know what you mean by “5 inch insulation and 1 inch rendering” – render is plaster and this should not be applied in layers that are more than half an inch (0.5 mm) thick. So that implies two layers of plaster. Insulation? Is this an existing wall?
    Anyone if whatever it is they are doing is encroaching on her property it is illegal. If there is guttering involved then it sounds more like a building than a freestanding wall, in which case they MUST have approved plans from the local authority. My suggestion is for you to go to the local authority offices and ask them to send a building inspector to investigate asap.

  257. Hannes I know a fair bit about the National Building Regulations, but this falls outside of this particular law. There must be some law that governs this type of thing though I imagine it would be the Roads Agency – the dreaded SANRAL. If you click on my skakel you can download the Act. Alternatively go into your local authority office and see if anyone there can give you some good advice.

  258. Fences that are up to 1,8 m are considered by the National Building Regulations to be minor building work – and therefore do not need plans (although some municipalities do call for plans). So if the fence is lower than 1,8 m you can add to it without plans. BUT – this is only if the fence is yours. You need to ascertain whether it is on your property or theirs – or exactly on the boundary. You should also find out who paid for the fence in the first place. Our current neighbours did something similar though we have a vibrecrete wall in-between the two proerties; they cut down a gorgeous fruit-bearing plumb tree because it had thorns! Doesn’t worry us cos they overlook our washing line – but we can see right into their garden now. As you say – stupid 🙂

  259. We have a palisade fence between properties. The new neighbours have cut down all the foliage on their side of the fence and we can now see completely into their property as we are slightly raised. Are we allowed to attach trellising to this wall and grow plants etc up it.

    It is such a stupid thing they have done as we can see everything that goes on including their patio and into their house.

  260. Goeie dag,

    I stay in La montagne, Pretoria. Simon vermooten road is right behind my house. The municipality decided to widen the bridge. This caused the bridge to move closer to my back wall. It also cuased the wall to be lower on the outside of my yard than it is from the inside. If you stand on the outside, it is about 1,6m tall and should be 2m or a bit higher.

    Is there any liability on the municipalities side to extend my wall so it is higher again to about 2m when you stand on the outside.

  261. Samantha hart sê:

    Hiya my nan has lived in her house for over 70 years and has a neighbour who wants to put up 5 inch insulation and 1 inch rendering on the wall of their property which is then coming over my nans property they even have the guttering close to her window and the builder says he is allowed to do so. I don’t think this is allowed as my nan is now losing 5 inches of her property? Could you advise me is this allowed? Many thanks

  262. Brett Nell sê:

    I bought a house with a carport and a swimming pool for which no plans were approved, the carport is against my neighbors wall obviously over the boundary lines. I want to rectify this and get everything legal. Unfortunately I never asked for plans and are staying in the house for more than five years. My concern further is that the plans might be destroyed when Monatoria burned down.

    Please advice.



  263. Johannes Matthee sê:

    Do I need to submit plans for a galvanised tubular fence in front of my house 1.8m high ( several panels of 2m each connected by a post cemented into ground – total length 12m). How far back from the street must the fence be. I am in Cape Town, Northern suburbs.

  264. Hi Neen, As long as the fence is inside your property you will not need permission. The average height of a fence allowed without plans is 2.1 m but some bye-laws relax this so you should just contact your local municipality and check with them on the height allowed.

  265. Neen Hollick sê:

    We have a boundary with the National Roads Agency. They erected a wire fence on the boundary which we have maintained and made higher. We also placed an electric fence on our side of the wire fence for safety. With the new rules of compliance, we looked to erecting a palisade fence. Must we obtain permission from the Roads Agency to upgrade this fence? We have found a supplier for the electric fence who is certified to give us a COC.

  266. Willie, in terms of the structures, plans would have been required and while you don’t care about the previous arrangement, if these were approved then you will have to live with them. So first off check what was approved. There is a possibility that the garage was built illegally. The carport is a different story because it is classified as geringe bouwerk.
    As far as the drainage is concerned, all property owners have a legal obligation in terms of the Nasionale Bouregulasies, to take care of drainage – have a look at the page on stormwater drainage on our sister site – link provided. It’s such a common problem it is scary, but you certainly can take steps to ensure that your neighbour channels his/her stormwater in a proper way. If the local authority is not helpful, you might need to go to an attorney to enforce this.

  267. Willie van Rooyen sê:


    I recently bought a house in Krugersdorp.

    The house adjacent to mine has a garage and carport built directly on the boundary wall.

    The wall erected for the garage on my side is not maintained and is looking really bad in my opinion.

    Secondly, as the carport is built on the boundary wall, the drainage pipes of the roof is leads down onto my property,through drainage pipe through a hole in the boundary wall. This leads to all water etc coming from the roof pooling down to my property leaving waste on my property.

    Now, I don’t know what the arrangement with the previous owners was, but this is not acceptable to me.
    Do I have any kind of recourse?

  268. Rolf you will need to take up the finish issue with the Home Owners Association – they need to force your neighbour to comply with this. For any walls over 1.8 m plans are required in terms of the Nasionale Bouregulasies. You should take that issue up with the council.

  269. Rudo in terms of the City of Cape Town zoning regulations which you can download from our sister website, neighbour’s consent is no longer needed for building on a boundary, provided council approval has been obtained. This applies not only to walls above 1,8 m (up to 1,8 m is considered minor building work by the NBR and so plans are not normally required – anywhere in the country) but to buildings on the boundary as well. There are though a number of conditions that may be complied with. You will find these in the City zoning document.

  270. Hi Bennie, We are not legally qualified to answer a civil case matter and you should consult an attorney. Having said that it is our understanding that the onus is on the present owners to sort this out UNLESS they can prove that this was a “latent defect” with the property that you as the seller was aware of before you sold the house. It is not clear when the “after a few weeks” was, before the property was sold or after. If it was before the sale then it might be for you to rectify this. As I said earlier possibly consult a lawyer about this.

  271. Rudo Stoltenkamp sê:

    For above query, I am situated in Cape Town.

  272. Rudo Stoltenkamp sê:

    I recently approved a carport my neigbour wanted to put up between our properties which was also approved by the council (only approved car port no wall extensions). The carport is on the boundry between his house and the boundary wall. My neighbour then went further by raising the vibracrete wall to 2.9 metres to enclose the carport (technically making it a garage now). This has completely taken away all the sunlight that I receive on this side of my house as my house is build on the building line.

    When contacting the building inspector he indicated that the plans was approved by the council for the wall extension.

    My question thus, how can the plans for a wall extension to 2.9 metres be approved without the neighbours consent. In theory the approval is for a garage extension which is what this is now What are my options from here to get this rectified and get the raised wall to be lowered to the original 2.1 metres and only have the carport as agreed upon.

  273. Rolf Zeller sê:

    My neighbour has decided to build a two meter wall next to the existing 1.6 meter wall that has been on the boundary line between our two properties for the last fourteen years. We live in an Estate where all construction has to be approved by the HOA. . The rules state that boundary walls have to have a maintenance-free finish facing the adjacent property. None of the above have been complied with. What I wanted to know is, whether my neighbour needs Tshwane Council approval for a two meter high and twenty meter long boundary wall and what are my options now regarding the maintenance free finishes on my side.

  274. Goeie dag

    We bought a house (halfway build) on auction in an Estate in Pretoria. We completed the building process and sold the house. Aftre a few weeks we were informed by the estate agents that th enext door neighbour (vacant stand, measured its stand and the boundary wall (which was already there when we bought it) was roughly 400mm on his property and that we should move the wall. We tried to speak to the owner (of the vacant stand) but he wants it moved. A few questions now came up
    1) Up to what point are we responsible for moving the wall as previous owners as we bough tthe house as is as did the current owner of the house.
    2) Should it be rather sorted between the 2 current owners
    3) What is our options if the vacant stand owner are not intersted in coming up with a solution
    4) One option is probably to break down the wall and leave it to the 2 current owners to sort out

    Tour advice would be appreciated

  275. Wendy – first of all I am confused because you say this is your tenant but he got permission from the owner to build. Are you renting out a home that belongs to someone else?
    As far as boundary walls are concerned, in terms of the building regulations, they can be single walls, provided piers are provided as per the tables given in the regs (specifically in Part K of SANS 10400 – Walls). However there may be additional rules laid down by the complex that any owners have to abide by – and a double wall on the boundary may be one of these. Whoever the owner of the house is should have all the documentation of what is and is not allowed.

  276. Haai daar,

    I want to know my tenant built a wall in complex on his side. He had the go-ahead from the owner. It took him over a year to build this as he is not always at home. He works for a contruction company and used the workers to build this. Now the Body Corporate is putting pressuring on me saying this needs to be a double wall and not a single wall. Also this complex is full title.

    Can you please tell me if a boundary wall needs to be double of single?

    Dankie by voorbaat.


  277. Sharon, the City of Cape Town no longer requires permission from neighbours in terms of building on a boundary. So you cannot refuse permission – though you could lodge and objection. However, there are limitations in terms of windows that are contained in the City’s zoning scheme. You can download this free from our sister website. Also read the article about PAJA legislation on that website.

  278. Dries, yes that is the way it works if you want to make alterations to the property.The person drawing your plans will indicate what is already built and what you intend to add to the property or alter. The legality of the granny flat is anybody’s guess if the plans were destroyed. Chances are the previous owner would have had to get permission from the neighbour to build on the boundary, and in the circumstances it appears that this may have happened. As long as the building complies with the National Building Regulations it is unlikely, in these circumstances that you would be ordered to demolish it.

  279. Hi have bought my house 7 years ago (Newlands, Pretoria). I never checked if the plans were approved. After about two years i wanted to make alterations to the property. I went to City of Tshwane and requested plans. They only had a plan which was very old. The house was completely changed by the previous owner. The Lady at Tshwane told me that the plans could have been destroyed when Munotoria was destroyed by fire. She then told me to submit as built plans. Does it work like this and what is the procedure. I also bought the house with a Granny flat which are connected with the neighbor’s back perimeter wall. Will i be able to get the plans approved or do i have to demolish the Flat.

  280. Hallo Penny
    My neighbour has asked for permission to extend the existing flat roofed double garage and family room (existing windows in the garage no windows in the family) by adding a guest wc/a bathroom and a bedroom. About a 8m extension. The original garage and family room is built 95cm from their boundary. My main bedroom and second bedroom are approx 2.5m away from my boundary but opposite the garage and family room. They want to put two 60cm width x 1200 windows in the family room and windows in the guest wc and bathroom. The double storey house is built on a 880 sqm plot located in Cape Town. I am worried about noise and privacy. Can I refuse permission for the windows in the family room? Can I refuse permission for the extension?
    What rights do I have?
    Thanks Sharon

  281. You should definitely lay a complaint – or report him to the local authority. He will have required plans to do the extension, and if he didn’t have plans then the building is illegal. There are usually bylaws that prevent openings in walls that face neighbours at a certain distance – so you can also check this with the local authority. You could also lay charges of harassment and public nuisance with the police.

  282. Dunken, the local authority needs to check and approve all foundation trenches before building can commence, so they would see immediately that things were not right – which is what you say. If they made a mistake you need to take it up with them! You don’t say whether building has started or not so it is difficult to give you advice.

  283. Barend if you can make a plan and box it you’ll probably be fine, but what bothers me is the claim by the developer that he can simply put drains wherever he choses. Why don’t you phone the Institute of Plumbing and ask them? Alternatively contact the local authority.

  284. Hi
    Im planning to extend my living room, drawn up plans and was approved. Ive discovered that the new extention trench, will partialy fall over a drain (not the lid). This drain is not situated outside the building line area, as indicated on the original plan.
    What can be done? Can I go on with building and “box it out” or must I move the drain. Who is responsible for this? According to the developer, these drains can be placed anywhere on the property and not nessasary as what the plan indicates, therefor the homeowner is reponsible for the moving of the drain. Also, as long as the lid of the drain can be opened, it should not be a problem to build.
    Please advise urgently.

  285. Hi Guys i don’t know anything about building that’s why i hired professionals to do it for me, my 1st builder could talk but everything he did was a mess fortunately i bought a tape with me to do the measurements on the raft foundation, the sizes on the plan and the foundation is totally 2 different things and the slap is not straight. The garage was moved in front right inside the building line, i don’t know what to do my new builder is a professional he picked all the mistakes up. During the foundation before they could pour concrete the inspector came also said everything is alright, other wise i could have not agree to cover it up and i have the proof of inspection. What can i do i cant move the house backwards please help.

  286. I’m recently starting to have problems with a neighbour that extended his house closer towards the boundary walls of our property a couple of years ago. My fiancé travelled a lot back then, time before I met her, and he built this extension without consulting her or asking for permission from her. The extension is less than 2 meters from our boundary wall, and he installed a large window and sliding door on the side facing our bedrooms and converted it to his living room where he will receive friends and have his movie nights at top volume. Every time he moves or makes a loud noise on his side of the fence, because it is so close to the walls my dogs start to bark. He constantly yells over the walls for my dogs to “voetsek” but I just have to keep quiet when I can hear every word he says in his house or have to listen to the loud sounds of his TV. Yesterday he even threatens my fiancé at our gate that he will shoot us all… Can I still lay a complaint at our local municipality regarding his building or should I take the matter further with local authorities?

  287. Etienne, The moisture may also be from the sea, it’s difficult to say. And it’s just as difficult to say whether a new soakaway-type channel would help your problem. A structural engineer might be able to advise. There are also geotextiles that one can use in channels – certainly easier to work with than rocks and rubble. The secret is to identify the cause. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. BTW if you are looking for building info, have a look at our sister website, Bouregulasies.

  288. Liechelle, A freestanding wall [(that is not a retaining wall) without lateral support] up to 1.8 m is considered to be geringe bouwerk. However there are general building rules and regulations for freestanding walls that should be followed. For instance, they have to be designed and constructed in terms of the National Building Regulations (SANS 10400, Part K, Mure), with piers where required, depending on the bricks or blocks used to build the wall, and the height of the wall. There also need to be control joints. Brickforce is essential for the brick or block walls of a house, but not really an issue with a 1.8 m-high freestanding garden wall.

  289. Petrus, there are two issues. The one is ownership of the wall. Generally it will be the person who paid for it to be constructed, though if it was built exactly on the boundary the municipality may have ruled that it is owned by both parties. If owned by both parties both will be responsible for repairs. If the wall is yours, then it is your responsibility to maintain it structurally. However, the other issue is the reason for the problem, which could change the responsibility factor. So if your neighbour’s trees and elevated garden are the problem, I guess he should be taking responsibility. In reality, neighbours usually get together and try to sort out these sorts of problems (or wage a war).

  290. Pieter, Apologies, it looks as if you didn’t get an answer to this question. I am really surprised by the municipality’s tardiness in this matter. I doubt that they would overrule you if you objected. After all if someone wants to build on a boundary in most parts of the country it takes only one neighbour to prevent this. You could though rally support from others in the area. I’d be interested to know what the outcome of this is or was.

  291. Magriet, Apologies for taking so long to getting back to you. First of all there is nothing to stop you having a single brick wall on your boundary, provided it was erected according to the National Building Regulations. And presuming it is your wall, they cannot force you to demolish it unless it is falling down or something similar. I appreciate the problem with the electric fence on top, but your suggestion that they extend the height of the wall is a good one, though plans will be required if it is going to make it more than 1.8 m in height. The council could force you to remove the electrified section. Another option would be for your neighbour to erect the pre-fab wall or fence right next to the existing wall. In any event the building inspector is way out of line threatening you.

  292. Randall,
    1. Your neighbour needs plans for the Wendy houses. Chances are he hasn’t got plans, so contact the planning department of your local authority and ask them to investigate.
    2. You can certainly replace broken slabs of (presumably a vibracrete) wall. In terms of making it higher, your problem will be that the upright would need to be extended. In any case, you cannot go higher than 1.8 m without plans.
    3. As I have said, the height you can go without plans – in terms of geringe bouwerk – is 1.8 m, so if you want to build the wall to 3 m you are going to need plans, and you may have to demolish the existing wall to ensure that the foundations are adequate.
    4. Again, this requires plans. The only agreement that would hold would be that the structure could be built on the boundary. So again, ask the local authority if there are plans, and then ask them to ensure that the structure is completed according to the plans – or if there aren’t any, they must take action. Local authorities DO have the right to demand that illegal structures are demolished.

  293. Sam it sounds as if the one neighbour is being unreasonable and I am really not sure what to suggest. However if you are in fact “invading” his privacy, maybe he is totally within his rights. Probably all you can do is talk and see if you can come to some sort of compromise that suits both of you.

  294. William, you’d be better off opening up the chimney and routing the flue pipe through the chimney. It needs to extend upwards, which wouldn’t be possible if you stuck it through a wall.
    However, this is what Part V of SANS 10400, Space heating says about flue pipes:
    “4.2 Flue pipes
    4.2.1 No flue pipe shall be designed and installed in such a manner that it will cause a fire hazard
    to adjacent material.
    4.2.2 No flue pipe shall be connected to a shaft or duct which forms part of a ventilation system.
    4.2.3 No flue pipe shall be installed in a shaft or duct in which services which might be adversely affected by heat are to be situated.”
    As a matter of interest, we had a stove fireplace at one stage and took the flue straight up through the ceiling and roof.

  295. Hi there, I bought an older house which have a chimney, but the actual fireplace is closed off. I want to buy a old coal stove with a metal chimney. Am I allowed to put this in and route the chimney through a hole wall. Thank you

  296. Hi Pierre, The building regulations do not specifically give the height of a foundation wall, they give guidelines and you will have to take at least three of them into account to make the calculation. 1. The depth of the trench in preparation for the concrete strip must be no less than 300mm. 2. The thickness of the concrete strip footing, this will depend on the finished height of the structure, shall be no less than 200mm. 3. The DPC in the wall shall be a minimum of 150mm above the finished outside ground level. I am not sure what you mean by “foundation (ceiling) re to SANS standards”

  297. pierre bester sê:

    Goeie dag,

    My question is what is the minimum required brick force wall before laying the slab foundation (ceiling) re to SANS standards please? This applies to commercial building developments.

    Byvoorbaat dankie.

    Pierre Bester
    cell: 079 6345 734

  298. Hi,

    I am currently getting consent from neighbours to relax the south boundary line (facing the road) from 5 metres to 3metres giving me a 2 metre extra for my garage. The neighbour on the east side of my property (house next to the garage) is objecting. His reasons are due to my garage and balcony (above the garage) invading on his privacy. Already in the plan, we have catered for a wall on the east side of the balcony to provide some privacy for us and the neighbour.

    The house is being built in an estate and has part through the aesthetics council. We just need neighbours to sign off on relaxation for final drawing plan approval.

    All of the other neighbours (north, west and south) have signed off. What can I do further to challenge the neighbour’s objection?

  299. It sounds like a health issue more than anything. The structures may also be illegal. Contact your local authority and lay a complaint.

  300. Edward this issue is governed by zoning regulations/bylaws. Here is a link to our sister website where you can download the Cape Town Zoning Scheme Regulations. You should find all the information you need here.

  301. Vassie contact your local authority and lodge a complaint. Ask them to send a building inspector to investigate.

  302. Tanja I am not sure why you say damp problems would be obvious, or why this will case damp problems on your side. However you should contact your local authority planning department to see if they had plans to build. Also, in most municipalities people need neighbours permission to build this close. As far as I know the City of Cape Town is the only place where you don’t.

  303. Revel I would first go to the municipality and submit and objection in writing. You could also ask for a health inspector and/or building inspector to investigate. If they don’t do anything then go to an attorney – send a letter of demand that he must demolish the dam a) because it encroaches on your property and b) because it becomes a health risk at certain times of the year.

  304. Good Day….

    1. First issue is that my neighbour on my right has Wendy {Wooden} houses erected against our boundary wall, Can he do this, because it was there when i bought the house.{its a bad sight to see every time go into the backyard
    2. My front boundary wall {slabs} is falling apart and broken……can I replace this as i wish, with new slabs, and can i make it higher.
    3. The boundary wall on my left, is too low, people either look into my property /jump over to steal…….can i build it higher with cement blocks., higher as in 3 meters high {currently 1.2m}

    Then a last issue…..the neighbour on my left has a granny flat. The flat is however build so, that it forms part of /acts as the boundary wall. Its unfinished, unplastered, and an absolute disgrace to look at. This agreement was made between the previous owners {more then 20 years ago}….. How do i go about correcting this, and is this expense for my account.

  305. My neighbour is making holes n erecting structures on the side of my building facing his house. They are such arrogant people one cannot talk to them. What are my remedies?

  306. haai daar

    I have a house in Protea Village, Brackenfell, Cape Town, and my neighbour is building the house next door to me. The one wall with a window(bathroom I believe) is probably no more than 1 meter from my vibercrete wall at the back, and I was wondering, is this legal?

    My house is on the market, but everybody that comes to view it is put off by the window.

    Please advise.



  307. Hi. My neighbour in Bedfordview has a few ugly bird cages and sheds right up against the boundary wall. One of the structures actually leans on the wall. On our side we had a hedge that we have now removed because we had a lot of rats, flies and roaches that were housing in it moving between his bird cages etc.. He has piled scrap metal and plumbing on the roof of some of these structures. Our entertainment area looks into this. Is this allowed in Bedfordview. If not how do we go about addressing this issue and getting the council to address it with the neighbour.

  308. Good morning Janek

    I wish to thank you for your clear-cut comments on questions from quests on your forum, I have recently bought a beach-house in Uvongo and was recommended by a friend to browse your site for assistance. I have learnt much already without even posting a question !

    The stand is located 250meters from the beach, it slopes from the front at approx. 11degrees to the rear of the stand(closest to the beach front, i noticed moisture and moss present mostly on the front and rear walls, i assume this is due to the sloping and rain/moisture seepage,
    My question is: Would it assist in any way to biuld a “pre-foundation” boundary wall/channel – below the surface and to fill this with rock/rubble to deviate moisture from the existing building?
    Your suggestions/recommendations are most welcome
    Vriendelike groete

  309. Hi Cindy, we are not builders, we only give help and advice to anyone doing any construction work around the home. We do not reccomend or suggest any builders or companies on this site. Contact the Master Builders Association for a list of registered builders.

  310. We bought a house + – 6 months ago. The house on the left side of us is still under construction, last week the owner came and told us she wants to remove the brick fence between our properties and put up a pre-fab wall, I refused because the brick fence looks the same as my house . .. now the local building inspector threatens us, he said he will make us remove the wall because it is a single wall with an electric fence and it is a danger to neighbors, because her (neighbor) property is about a meter higher than ours (they can touch the electric fence)… W agreed that she can build the fence higher with more bricks but she wants to put up a pre-fab fence, which is going to be a degrading to my property… Our house is more than 10 years old…

    what are my rights?

  311. looking to put up neew walls and need a quote call me on 0741911522

  312. Pieter Hugo sê:

    Hallo Janek,
    My neighbour directly across the street build a retaining wall on his property to level his lawn. According to the surveyor’s posts the side walk in front of the house is 3,100 meter.

    After the retaining wall was completed only 900mm of the pavement was left – the border of his property was thus exceeded by more than 2 meter. The wall was finished without any plans submitted to the local municipality.

    I alerted the municipality about what is happening and they then required that plan be submitted – by this time the wall was already completed (about 12 months ago!) – unfinished cement building blocks on a foundation.

    A plan was then submitted and “preliminary” approved, awaiting a surveyor’s report. The report showed clearly that the retaining wall was built on the pavement.

    We had a meeting with the municipality where they said they will “advertise” the matter asking neighbours to object if they want to. If I’m the only one objecting, they’ll overrule me as being “unreasonable” and approve the plan.

    The retaining wall is as disgrace and does not allow for pedestrians two use the pavement.

    Wat moet ek doen?

  313. My house is about 100 years old in an old part of town. My neighbour has a disused concrete dam (about 60 years old I should think) which is cracked and disused. The dam encroaches neatly about one metre onto my property, protruding through the wall. The trouble is that with the heavy rains water has gathered on the floor of the dam creating a breeding place for mosquitoes. Repeated requests to him to sort out the problem have been ignored. Taking into account that the dam has been there so long what are the chances that I could invoke the fact that the dam encroaches on my property to have it dismantled? Should I go through the municipal council or an attorney to do this? Your opinion would be much appreciated.

  314. Hi Sune, When it comes to unapproved additions/conversions no one can say if they will be approved or not. I would advise you to not even put in an offer in until the additions have been approved by council as you might end up with expenses and fines that you do not want.

  315. Hi Desmond, There should be a site plan together with your plans that are lodged with the council, if you go to your local town planning department then you can purchase copies. Once you have these then you should be able to find the surveyors pegs at the corners of your erf.

  316. Desmond Hodge sê:

    Goeie middag,

    I think I may have a problem similar to that of Theo. My plot /stand is part of a sub-divide.
    How do I establish what the size of my ERF should be.

  317. Goeie dag,

    We are currently in the process of looking for a property to buy in Pretoria. We have a property in mind where the garage have been converted into a one bedroom flatlet. The flatlet however is aprox 10 to 15cm from the wall between the house and the neighbours.
    We are aware thet there is no approved plans for the extenstions. Will this be approved by the council or not?

    Thanks Sune

  318. Hi
    My neighbor has built a cottage /rooms 10cm from our boundary wall, which has now obviously caused a major damp problem on his side and will soon on ours,what are our options?

  319. Goeie dag.

    Im staying in Witbank busy building a 1.8m brick wall.
    The builder did not use brick force. Is this ok like this?
    The one side is 38m and the side is 18m.

  320. Petrus Lombard sê:

    Dear All

    My neighbour has 3 trees 0,5m from our boundary wall as well as a broken drainpipe for rain water. . The problem is that in 2 months the wall is busy falling to my side due to the fact that his garden is 0,5 m hihger than mine. On my side the paving is also lifting due to the roots of the trees. Are we 50/50 responsible for erecting a new wall or is it his responsibility. I must say that the wall (even not build to the best standerds was 100% ok for 12 years.Legal fees and Engineering reports are very costly and to go into a legal battle can exceed the amount of the cost. How are one go about in this scenario.

  321. Hi Dominique, The Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme is on our other site Building Regulations and you can look through it here: dorpsbeplanningskema-jhb

    This is an extract that is relevant to your situation:
    Consolidated Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme, 2011-26.
    11. Where buildings are to be erected within 2 meter from any boundary of an erf or site in any Use Zone, the clearance from the relevant service departments of the Council shall be obtained prior to the submission of building plans.

    If you are wanting an explanation from the council have a look at at our other page “The PAJA” with forms that you can download and submit to council: paja-wet-beskerm-regte

  322. HI

    MY neighbour has built a steel structure shed which is in excess of 10M2 on the boundary wall and I live in Northcliff. I have had the council out and they have indicated to me that because this is not a servitude he is allowed to build so close withour permssion or plans. I have now formally written to the council asking for extracts of the act or regulation indicating where this is shown.

    Where can i find regulation for the Nothcliff area? Or who should i contact to find out about building lines as surely there is a limit from the wall within whcih one can build without your neighbours permission.

    thanks Dominique

  323. I am glad to know he can not put windows there, thanks so much 🙂

  324. Hi Theo, I take it that your “informed him” was verbal, so your next step is to put it in writing to him and set him a time limit to rectify the encroachment. Then if he refuses or ignores the letter then take a copy of the letter to the building inspector of your local authority and report it. You might also inform him that this will harm the value of your property.

  325. Hi Melissa, firstly you are allowed to have a shed on your property so long as it does not go over the building line, this is usually about 3 meters from the boundary. Some municipalities do allow outbuildings to extend into the building line. This does vary with all the municipalities. Secondly you cannot change what the building is used for, for example where a garage is changed to a bedroom then planning permission must be applied for. A garden shed cannot suddenly be changed to an office without planning permission and neighbours consent. And thirdly no doors or windows shall be erected in a wall that is less than 1 m from a common boundary.

  326. Hi Etienne, The national building regulations refers to this specifically in the introduction of SANS 10400-Part A here:
    In applying the National Building Regulations it will be found that, in certain instances, there is an overlap with the requirements of regulations made in terms of other Acts. Some of these anomalies have been overcome by suitable amendments to other regulations, but there are some regulations made in terms of local town planning schemes that it might be desirable to retain.
    In particular, this refers to requirements for building lines and for materials which are permitted as exterior finishings for buildings. The requirements in the National Building Regulations are there for technical reasons, but what is technically acceptable might not necessarily be acceptable for other reasons.
    So with this in mind have a look at our other site here: tshwane-town-planning-scheme-2008
    As a common law right he is not allowed to interfere with or encroach onto your property so you can report him to the local building inspector.

  327. Hi, my neighbour had a shed on the boundary of my property, he has now rebuilt into a home office. The problem I have is now I see he is putting in 2 windows in.There is no fence or anything between our property’s and the windows are nearly inline with my bathroom . Is he allowed to put windows there?

  328. Hi,

    I have an open piece of land in front of my property but which forms part thereof. My neighbour has now erected a vibracrete wall in front of his property. In doing so he went over my front boundary by 2.5m and side boundary by 0.8m. i have informed him about this but he seems to be igniring the issue. What are my options?

  329. Ettienne Deyzel sê:

    I stay in Centurion. My neighbor erected a Wendy house against the boundary wall. The problem is, he recently ‘renovated’ this Wendy and as part of this replaced the roof. The roof is now hanging over the boundary wall interfering with my electrical fence, and is obviously a security concern on my part.
    Wat is die regulasie hieroor? Hoe naby word hy toegelaat om so 'n struktuur aan hierdie grensmuur op te rig? Kan ek hom wettiglik vra om hierdie struktuur verder van die muur af te skuif?
    Where can I find proof of this legislation / regulation and where can I find proof that this is illegal / not allowed. I am aware that this may differ from municipality to municipality, but surely somewhere will be a ‘universal’ guideline.
    I would really appreciate any assistance in this regard.

  330. Hi Dorrin, Yes you can extend your vibracrete wall so long as it stays within your property and the height of the wall is the same. When you say extend the carport I hope you mean by a small amount and not double the size. For most minor changes like this you should not need plans but it would be best to advise the council in writing of the “minor” changes.

  331. Hi Mike, If you had two or three pegs then you might be able to work it out. Builders are notorious for ignoring boundary pegs when building walls so using those as a guide might be way out. A surveyor might be the only way. You could try one of the FET colleges that train surveyors and see if a student might give you a hand.

  332. Hi Dominique, All municipalities have their own bye-laws for each suburb/zone that regulates the distance from boundaries and size of structure. This will also include whether they need neighbours permission or not. But none of them will allow a neighbours structure to overlap into another property. This sounds as if there are no plans for this structure. I suggest contact your local municipality and report this in writing, do not just phone, and ask for an inspector to have a look as soon as possible. There is a “request for reasons” form that you can download on our page here: paja-wet-beskerm-regte

  333. I have a question and am looking for some help. My neighbour has built a structure which has a steel frame and a sink roof and attached it to the boundary wall. The sink roof actually sticks over the wall into my property. What I would like to know 1. Is this structure legal and are plans required for such a structure 2. How far from the boundary wall should this be built 3. What can I do? Thanks Dominique

  334. I have the original surveyor’s map of my plot. It shows the distances of each side of my property as well as the angles from each peg. I can only find one peg. Besides having to get an expensive surveyor report is their any way I can determine the other three peg positions. Some walls exist between myself and my neigbours but these wall are not documented as to on which line they were built.

  335. How do we extend the boundary walls of our house to widen our carport?We need to extend the vibracrete wall of our existing carport so that our car can fit in properly,what rules and regulations do we need to follow to do this within the limits of the law?

  336. Hi Johan, This does not sound right. I have just done an article about the rights people have who own property that are adversely affected by any building or alterations that their neighbours do. It is called the PAJA – The Promotion of Administrative Act. Have a look at this page here: There is a form you can download that you must submit to them, do not try and do this by phone. The article explains the process. Please let us know the outcome.

  337. Hi Mark, I have just done an article on the PAJA on our building regulations site. You will see that, as a member of the public, you have rights that are given to you by law. State employees are “Public Servants” and are obliged to make decisions that are fair and to give you reasons for them. The process is set out as to how to get government/municipal departments to do their job properly and not ignore the concerns of the general public. Go to this link to read more: Please let us know what the outcome is.

  338. Hi Sean, This is a tricky one. I have just spoken to my Building Inspector contact who has this problem come up regularly. Until now they would take the wall as the part of the structure that had to be on the boundary line. But it seems as though these matters will have to be resolved in a civil court and the building inspectors will act as the go-between until the court has decided on each particular case. To date most cases have included the foundations as part of the structure, and even though the foundations are buried underground, the structure including foundations must be on the inside if the boundary. We always suggest that when there is a new wall between neighbours (yours is not just a wall) that an agreement in writing is made between them where they share the cost and the responsibility, and then lodge a certified copy with the local council. I will be getting more legal documents relating to this in the next few days, when I do I will post a new article.

  339. Sean van Schalkwyk sê:

    Hi Penny. If our neighbour builds on the boundry line as now allowed in Cape Town, can the wall to his house be on the line or must he allow for space for the house’s foundations? In other words, is he allowed to use my property for his foundations so long as the wall is on the boundry line? Thanks, Sean.

  340. according to the council the limit is 1.5m have contacted them on many occasions they just not interested even said they checked the distance what rubbish nobody had been to check think there is some bribery once again fairly normal for pmburg

  341. Hallo Mark,
    Each suburb of each town/city in South Africa has it’s own set of bylaws and they are all different. In some areas you are allowed to build right up to the boundary without getting your neighbours permission. In other suburbs three meters is the closest that you can build. Check this with the town planning department in PMB and see what the bylaw says. Then once you know this and if they are closer than what is allowed then you can get the council to stop them building.

  342. Hi Paul,
    This sounds like a real nuisance. You are legally only allowed to put up a fence on your boundary line. The land between your boundary and the road is council land and you will need permission to put up a small palasaide fence. Have you reported this to the council and checked if they have a business licence to run a business with that amount of daily traffic? If they are a public nuisance then that could be a contravention of your by-laws, I would check up on that as well. Let us know what happens so that we can let others know what to do if they have a similar problem. Thanks

  343. Paul Loubser sê:

    Haai almal.
    We have recently moved to a new property and we are having endless trouble with customers visiting some kind of business at the house across the road. We never new anything like this was going on there as we are in a quiet residential area. The customers are parking on our side and in our driveway from early in the morning till late in the afternoon.
    I want to put up a little palisade ( gum pole ) fence to prevent them from parking there.
    How close to the road can I put up this 500mm high fence?


  344. i am trying to find out next door to where i stay a guy is building the wall for the new building is no more than 50cm from my garden wall the pmb council seems not interested who or what can i do about this

  345. hi guys i have an Q my neighbours are Building a new house round their old one my problem is that they are building the new house withn half an meter of the boundry wall it is an bathroom they are building there with an window facing my side another thing is it it look like when they giong to put the roof on that the water will fall in to my yard dont think they are giong to put gutters on as the have not put any on to their garege which is done already so im just wondering if they are allowed to biuld so close and have an window within half an meter of the boundry wall before there was an garage with no windows i live in gauteng also they dit not ask us if its ok dont know if they needed to ask they biuld an garage on the othe side which they dit not ask the neightour on the other side only after it was done because they were told that they were not allowed to put windows facing his yard thanks wiating for reply

  346. Thank you for your reply

  347. I will let you all know about the outcome


  348. Yolanda, If the wall really is mostly on your side of the boundary lines, then chances are the wall belongs to you. But check with the local authority as some have a policy that boundary walls are always owned half and half by both parties.
    Assuming the wall is yours, and you are not requiring any type of waiver for the wall – e.g. in terms of height – then you do NOT need his permission to build a new brick wall. You may though need plans to be passed by the local authority. They will also be able to tell you for sure whether you need to consult with your neighbour on anything at all.
    If he has planted anything on your property you can demand he removes it. If you plan to do the work and then bill him, you will first to put him to legal terms, allowing him a reasonable period of time to clear the vegetation. Only then, if he ignores you, will you be able to bill him… and it would be best to consult a lawyer here to make sure you don’t put yourself at risk.
    As far as lights are concerned, even if they are on his side, if in your opinion they have an aesthetically negative effect on your property, my opinion is that you can force him to remove them altogether. This would certainly be the case if the wall belongs to you!

  349. Edward, You should probably ask your local authority’s planning department for their interpretation of this. I’d be interested to know what they say.

  350. Hi Johann,
    This is a tough one for us to answer as the National Building Regulations are guidelines that local authorities have to follow. They also are autonomous and each Municipality has its own set of bye-laws. From what you have said it would seem to be more of a legal matter as to which law is in force here. If your original foundations are still inplace then you are just replacing what was allowed previously and not building from new. This is a problem that you might have to consult an attorney about. We would like to know the what happens for future reference so please keep in touch and let us know the outcome.

  351. Hi Ronel,
    Your fence is allowed to be built on the boundary line, in your case the 3.72m line, but make sure it is not over, rather a little inside your property to be safe. It is the same as any house with a street front where you are allowed to build a fence/wall on the street front boundary and the house building line is inside the boundary by a distance set down by your local bye-laws.

  352. We have a driveway that services 3 units (Pretoria area) – on the plans there is a servitude of 3.72 meter from the boundary wall (the driveway). Then there is a building line at 4.5m Can we put a fence on the 3.72m mark or only at 4.5m mark?

  353. Hi I have a question problem and hope someone can assist.

    I have an approved plan (2006) with a carport that exceeded the 4.5m building line from the road.
    My house burned down in March 2013 and I moved some wall etc. I drew up new plans, but I cannot rebuild that carport because of my title deed.
    Everything was under one roof from the carport to right through

    I am building om my existing foundations (not bigger not Smaller) except for the walls i moved indoors.

    Does the title deed still come into play in such a scenario since the title deed restrictions only came into play in 2011


  354. Yolanda du Plessis sê:

    Hi there, we have recently bought a panhandle stand and started the development. The boundary wall is actually situated 100% on our property, for most part. We approached the neighbour to upgrade the existing wall (a wooden wall on top of a stone wall) to a proper brick wall. We requested him to financially contribute to the project which he refused. He then continued on to indicate that I would require his consent to errect the improvement.

    I want to check the following:
    Do I require his permission to errect a wall at the same height as the current precedent he set?
    Given that the wall is on my property do I need to consult with him at all if I wanted to replace existing woodend (rotten) wall with a much improved brick wall at my cost?
    Can I force him to remove the vegatation that he acknowledged that he planted, in order for me to errect the boundary wall? Can I remove it at his cost?
    If he has errected lights on top of the wall where it forms indeed the boundary and the light encrouges on my side of the fence, can I request him to move the lights to 100% into his property?

  355. Bev, Generally permissions of this sort are regulated by zoning rather than title deeds. And this is laid down by the local authority. As far as I know Cape Town is the only local authority that does NOT required permission from neighbors – however the City does have other parameters that need to be met. Check with your local authority. The problem with a braai on the boundary is often that smoke ends up in the neighbour’s yard, which might be construed as a nuisance.

  356. What if your title deeds have no restrictions at all. Do you still need permission from a neighbour to build within the building lines? What if the structure is a one walled structure such as a braai with chimney and side ‘tables’ perpendicular to the boundary? There is no roof.

  357. Thank you for your response.

    I was thinking more when one’s neightbour has a 2m building line and the the roof overhangs this by 800mm or so (but obviously within the boundary line)…

  358. Hi Edward,
    If your building line is well within your property, then yes. But building lines can be right on the boundary. The problem comes in when councils do the assessment of land used for rates and taxes. They work out rates on the areas covered by the roof. How do they work that one out when it overhangs your neighbor? Does he pay some of your rates? I don’t think so. If you are not certain then contact your local council and try and get clarity from them.

  359. Wow – everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s the walls – and the the roof can ‘hang’ over the building line…

  360. No Mary-Anne they can’t. Relaxation of building lines is specific. Furthermore your neighbour will require approved plans to be allowed to build on a habitable structure. I suggest you contact the planning division of your local authority and ask them to send a building inspector to investigate. BTW in most parts of SA relaxation of a building line requires neighbour’s consent. Cape Town is the only area I am aware of that allows people to build to the boundary without neighbour’s consent – within certain parameters and without relaxation of the need for plans.

  361. if a building line is relaxed by the municipality to 0m to accommodate a car port, can the neighbour (the applicant) subsequently erect any other structure e.g. a Granny flat? What legal objection can I use? of course I feel it is my right otherwise the municipality wouldn’t have this by-law?

  362. Hi – is the building line defined as up to where the walls can be built to, or the entire structure (including roof overhang?

  363. Does anyone have an example of the letter of consent from your neighbours to encroach on the building line? Thanks.

  364. Tracy as far as I know Cape Town is the only place where it is no longer necessary to get neighbors consent to build on a boundary providing you have plans and abide by the other local authority requirements – this includes a specified length along the boundary that you can build + area of the property. You can check with the local authority whether your neighbour submitted plans and/or was given permission to build. In terms of the National Building Regulations the local authority has the right to allow certain construction without plans. See Part A of SANS 10500.
    You would also need plans and depending where you live, might need to apply for permission to build on or near a building line (in which case you will need neighbour’s consent). But if you do, then your neighbour probably built illegally.

  365. Hallo Jaco,
    This does not sound right. I have not seen the situation so I cannot judge but it does sound as though something not in keeping with the regulations has happened here. If it is a major problem for you then you must contact your local building inspector and ask his advice.

  366. Hi, my drain, kitchen and batheoom outlet is in my neihgbors yard and don’t have access to. The boundary wall stops at my room.

  367. Hi Dave,
    If the wall is definitely on his side of the boundary then essentially the wall belongs to him. You will need to get his consent to attach anything to the wall. You can read more about this here: grens-mure-en-heinings

  368. My (uncooperative) neighbor built a precast wall just on his side of the boundary.

    Am I permitted to secure this wall with spikes on top?

    Attached to my side, but visible to him?

    Attached to my side but invisible to him?

  369. Hi Heide,
    I have been looking trying to find a specitic reference in the Johannesburg by-laws that refers to a “canopy” overhanging the building line but have had no success. The only reference I can find is to businesses having a canopy on the shopfronts overhanging the street boundary line. There are rules relating to the area covered as a percent of the erf size but this depends what zone you are in according to the by-laws. They also refer to any extension or addition adversely affecting neighbours. I do not think you will have any problem, but I would give the local council a call and ask them.

  370. Hi Louis,
    Each municipality has the right by law to make its own zoning areas and by-laws that relate to each zone. So you will need to establish from your local authority, first the zone that you are in and secondly what by-laws affect your area. These by-laws will have all the restrictions thay you are looking for. Contact your local authority, we have a full list on our other site hare: munisipaliteit-kontak

  371. Hi Cheyne,
    It is totally in line with the National Building Regulations.
    This is an extract from the beginning of PART-A of the Regulations:
    (1) The requirements of the National Building Regulations shall be complied with by ––
    (b) satisfying all functional regulations by ––
    (ii) reliably demonstrating, or predicting with certainty, to the satisfaction of the appropriate plaaslike owerheid, that an adopted building solution has an equivalent or superior performance to a solution that complies with the requirements of the relevant part of SANS 10400.

    This means that every Local Authority has the right to enforce their by-laws in terms of the National Regulations.

    The National Regulations 2008 under “minor building work” states (extracts):
    geringe bouwerk
    as contemplated in section 13 of the Act means ––
    a) the erection of any ––
    ix) any free-standing wall constructed of masonry, concrete, steel, aluminium or timber or any wire fence where such wall or fence does not exceed 1,8 m in height at any point above ground level and does not retain soil.

    I see that Penny answered a similar question from you yesterday on our Building Regulations site.
    Cheyne it is the law, you might try and get away with it for a while but I think it will catch up you eventually.

  372. the limit of 1.8m for a solid wall to the front of the property is not enforceable at is not in line with national regulations.

  373. I need to know what restrictions are require before plans are drawn for boundry wall to be build. ?

  374. Hi,

    I live in JHB and need advice regarding boundary/building line regulations.
    I currently have a patio that ends on to the building line – which is no problem.
    The question I have: How far over the building line may the roof stretch. i.e. If I plant the poles of the patio roof on the building line (as currently), can the roof extend another meter, or does the building line impose a limit on the plastic sheeting roof size too? I would like to increase the under-roof area of my patio slightly.

    I would appreciate any feedback.
    Regards Heide

  375. Kyle if you are extending a room you need plans. Furthermore, you may not be allowed to extend right to the boundary wall. e.g. It depends where you live and what your municipal bylaws say in terms of boundary lines. I suggest you contact the planning department of your local authority.

  376. Megan there should have been plans put into Council before the builder did the job. If you have a signed agreement, you can hold him to it – if necessary get a lawyer to write him a letter of demand.

  377. Hi, I have had a double stores building go up behind me. On signing an agreement for the plans with the builder he agreed to build a wooden extension of 1.5m to the existing wall which is 2.5m tall so as limit line of sight into my roof to ensure privacy. The builder has not met this agreement. Is there anything I can do about this and if not am I able to erect my own extension? Do I need council approval?

  378. Hi,

    I am looking for some advise.

    I have an patio/braai room about 3,5 meters from our boundary wall. i am looking to extend the room to the boundary wall to have a enclosed sun room.

    I am aware that doors and windows need to be atleast 1meter from the boundary wall, are there any other issues doing this ?

    Thank you !

  379. Hi

    We have a full title property in a complex in Kempton Park. I have just found out that the neighbours built a garage right on our boundary line i.e. our hollywood garage and their garage share a wall. I have tenants staying in the house that is why I was not aware of it.

    They never obtained any permission from us and the HOA allowed them to build without notifying us. What are the legal requirements with regards to this? Were we not suppose to give permission first?

    We want to enclose the back of the garage and have been informed that we need plans and we would need to apply for building line relaxation. I am now extremely confused as I didn’t even think we needed plans period.

    Please assist.



  380. Hi Victoria,
    Electrical boxes that are alongside the street are the property of either ESKOM or the Electricity Department of your local authority. No you will not be able to include the box inside your property as the electrical maintenance people need access to the box 24/7 for emergencies and maintenance. That box is usually the junction for a few of your neighbours as well. When the box is installed the council should have made sure that the box is sited on council land and so cannot be enclosed. The other thing to note is that some by-laws require a cut-off corner to allow motorists a clear view of oncoming traffic.(see pic below of an electric box and a cut-off corner) You can see these boundary lines on your site plan, if you do not have a copy you can get one from your local authority.
    Corner boundary wall and electric box.

  381. Hi just wanted a bit of advice, I recently bought a corner property with an electric box in the front of the house. I want to place a fence around the front of the house, do I need to leave the electric box outside of the fence or can I include it as part of my front garden? Do I need approval for this?

  382. Hi Louisa,
    I would advise against tamtering with any Council or Roads Department structures without first speaking to them and getting approval in writing from them. But I am puzzled by your note, do you not have a dropped kerb to allow access to your driveway? This should have been applied for when the house was being built so the roads department in your area could put it where you needed it. If you do not have a drop kerb then you will have to apply to the correct department and have them put one in for you.

  383. Hallo Trevor,
    The by-laws in your area state that: “Soliede grensmure mag nie hoër as 1,8 m op straatgrense wees nie, en nie hoër as 2,1 m op sygrense nie.” If you have a look at our other page (ownerbuilding/minor-building-works) you will see that plans are not normally required as a boundary wall up to 1.8m is considered “minor building work” But You must inform your local council of what you intend to do and be aware that they mag want plans but this is up to them. Read more here: grens-mure-en-heinings

  384. Hi
    I want to put up a front boundary wall built from brick and palisade between the pillars. I am not sure if I understand correctly. Will i need plans drawn if it is up to 1.8m excluding the foundation?
    I live in Bothasig, Cape Town


  385. Hi, can you please tell me whether I can make changes to the sidewalk in front of a property, especially to lower the curb in such a way that it does not damage the tyres of my car when trying to access the property. Kind regards Louisa

  386. Prashila I have given you as much information as I can. There is nothing in the Building Regulations that gives one specific height for a second floor balcony. I would be more concerned about the fact that the structure is so close to your boundary. Here’s a link to our sister website where you can download the City of Johannesburg’s Town Planning Scheme. There may be something there that will help you.

  387. Goeie dag Penny

    My apologies to you Penny.

    I might have phrase the question incorrectly, regarding the balcony on the second floor facing the street.
    The question really is what height should the balcony be on the second floor , the side of my yard which is two bricks away from my boundary, and that is invading my privacy.

    Your urgent reply hereto will be appreciated.



  388. Hi Rudy,
    Firstly I must point out that we are not lawyers and do not profess to be, we are only here to help and to point people in the right direction to the best of our abilities. I also point out the “Terms & Conditions” on our site relating to the advice that we supply.

    There are a few laws and precedents in law that relate to your situation.

    The most recent is the case of NDLAMBE MUNICIPALITY vs MATTHEW ROBERT MICHAEL LESTER – CASE NO. 92/2011
    Here is a reference used in the case:
    Extract from Joubert, “The law of South Africa,” Volume 27 1st re-issue (2002) para [317] and the authorities there cited:
    “When a landowner erects a structure on his land he must take care that he does not encroach on his neighbour’s land. This rule of neighbour law is not only applicable in cases where the building itself or its foundations encroach on neighbouring land but also where roofs, balconies or other projections encroach on the airspace above a neighbour’s.
    In the case of encroaching structures the owner of the land which is encroached upon can approach the court for an order compelling his neighbour to remove the encroachment …. Despite the above rule the court can, in its discretion, in order to reach an equitable and reasonable solution, order the payment of compensation rather than the removal of the structure. This discretion is usually exercised in cases where the costs of removal would be disproportionate to the benefit derived from the removal. If the court considers it equitable it can order that the encroaching owner take transfer of the portion of the land which has been encroached on. In such circumstances the aggrieved party is entitled to payment for that portion of land, costs in respect of the transfer of the land as well as a solatium on account of trespass and involuntary deprivation of portion of his land.”

    4. Ndlambe had failed to furnish reasons for the approval, resulting in the presumption under section 5 (3) of PAJA that the approval was without good reason.

    1. What is the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA)
    The PAJA is the law passed to “give effect” to the right to just administrative action in the Bill of Rights. This says everyone has the right:
    • To fair, lawful and reasonable administrative action; and
    • To reasons for administrative action that affects them negatively.

    My personal interpertation here is that the two things that stand out are firstly that the building height that affects the view of neighbours needs to be taken into account when approving plans and that according to the PAJA Act the council is obliged to consult with neighbours when approving plans that seriously affect their neighbours enjoyment of their respective properties. The judge in this case made the suggestion that rather than demolish the structure that compensation be paid to the affected neighbours.

    If there are more neighbours affected by this then you must join together as this will have much more punch. Then I think you should firstly contact the council and point out these facts to them, but you moet also put it in writing. If you do not get any response them you might have to contact an attorney to take the matter up on your behalf.

    I hope this helps. Again, keep in touch and let us know what happens.

  389. The are already at roof height – plans were approved. We however were of the understanding that where they are building so close to our boundary they would need our approval PRIOR to the approval of the plans. Their erf size is in fact 397 square meters – however where it is so right in our face and taking away 90% of our view it appears that we have no right to challenge the approval of the plans!! What is worse – our other neighbour’s swimming pool and entertainment area is now being blocked in by an 8 meter high brick wall – where he had stunning views of the city skyline from that area before as well!! What happened to common decency?? None of the neighbours were approached by either the builders, new owners or municipality in any way – we were just surprised by these walls rising and rising every day!

    The new owners have the right to develop – but we don’t seem to have any rights whatsoever! We feel let down by the system!!

  390. Hi Rudy,
    It all depends on the size of the property. Up to 650sq m then they can build on the boundary without neighbours consent and have a height restriction of 10m to the top of the roof. If over 650sq m then they must be 3m away with a height restriction of 11m to the top of the roof. They are definitely not allowed to do any construction work without council approval. The other thing to check is if the foundations have been designed by an engineer so that they can hold the weight of a double storey. You should contact the City Council immediately before any more building is done and tell them it is urgent. Please keep in touch and let us know the outcome.

  391. Hi Angelo,
    It sounds too complicated a situation to assess and advise in this format. Different zones have different building lines you need to check these. As for the window facing your property so close to the boundary, I don’t think that it is legal. As you work for the City of CT you can call the planning department and ask if they can do an inspection and advise you what you are allowed to do.

  392. Good day! What does the law say about an existing building that was built within 1.5 meters of the our municipal previously – now the new owners are building a double storey house on top of the existing structure obstructing 90% of our view. The outside wall of the main building is well within one metre of the municipal boundary between our properties. Did they not need written permission from us as neighbours to get the plans approved ? – as it is almost directly on the borderline (less than 1 metre) from our garage. We are on the slopes of Table Mountain in Walmer Estate.

    If anyone can please post the regulations specifically related to this situation I would be very grateful!!

  393. Hallo Penny

    Hope you doing well,

    I bought a semi detached townhouse in cape town, and on the on side there is about 2,5m gap from the other house, and 2,2m of that gap belongs to me, but I can’t erect a boundary wall because its to close to the other building as it contains windows on that side…any suggestions as I’d like to use that side and it will increase the value of my property in that area.

    Byvoorbaat dank

  394. Hi Vani,
    I sounds as if you have done everything correctly. And the answer to your question is – no you do not need plans for a wall up to 1.8m, so long as it is not a retaining wall. You can read more on our Bouregulasies site about mure en heinings. It is normally classed as “minor building work” and you can read more here: geringe-bouwerk

  395. Hi, please assist. We live in a full title estate and would like to build a concrete boundary wall that is 1.8 m high and within the required meters away from the communal road within the estate.
    We have obtained permission from the Homeowners association and would just like to confirm we need to submit any plans and require authorisation from our local council? please advise.

  396. Hi Mrs P,
    All properties have building line limitations and they vary with the zone or area your house is in. With smaller properties the inspectors are a bit more flexible with the regulations but you will have to get the consent of your neighbours in writing and submit these with your plans. A word of caution when adding a second storey on to an existing single storey house. The foundations are designed for a single storey only and might not hold the weight of a second storey. You should get a “competent person” to advise you.

  397. I would like to enquire on the buidling requlation for the following;

    Our Property is about 230sqm which is fairly small, we would like to extend to a double storey, are there are any restrictions for building from the boundary wall eg, the back boundary wall.


  398. Hi Keshia,
    As far as I am aware Diplomatic Immunity does not allow Foreign Embassies to disregard the laws of the country where they have their embassies located. If the Pretoria by-laws and zoning requirements say that the building line is 3 meters then they cannot build outside that line. They would have to get permission from council as well as neighbours consent.

  399. Liewe Penny

    I have a question with regards to foreign embassies and building regulations.
    If an embassy of another country wants to build on their premises do they have to strictly abide by the bylaws? More specifically in the Brooklyn, Pretoria area. It has to do with a neighbour who is telling the embassy that there needs to be a space of 3m between the parking garage they want to build and the boundary wall. Is this correct?

  400. Carol you can complain to the local authority – the City of Johannesburg. First of all he is not allowed to build up to the boundary. Second he needs plans. From your description it is totally illegal and the council should order him to demolish the structure. Here are some links to articles on our sister site, Building Regulations, that you might find informative.
    Geringe bouwerk – this explains what you can build without plans.
    Tydelike geboue Must be Authorized by the Local Authority – this will show that he cannot simply put up a structure and claim it is temporary (though there is no indication he has done this)
    Here is a link to the Gekonsolideerde Johannesburg Stadsbeplanningskema, 2011 which you can download FREE.
    It would be great if you give us some feedback once this has been resolved. It might help other homeowners who face similar problems.

  401. haai daar
    Our neighbor has made a make shift shed, of around 6m x 3m joined to his house and connected to the precast wall that separates our properties. It has big corrugated sheets, for the roof, which are angled in such a way that at certain times of the day, the reflection into our house is blinding.

    The job was done by himself and a worker and is finished off in the most untidy and unsightly way. That way is above the precast wall and all the nasty looking finishing faces our side.

    Is this legal and do I have to accept this?

    I am in Johannesburg. Roodepoort area and would like to know if anything can be done about this.

  402. Hi Natasha,
    This is not an easy one to answer as it all depends on the zoning regulations in your area. Roads do not fall under the National Building Regulations but are “deemed to be zoned as Transport Zone 2” (from Cape Town by-laws) and fall under the Department of Transport. Before they widened the road they should have notified you of their intentions and given you time to comment. Where it will affect you is if your local zoning laws have your building line measured from the roadside or the centerline then this will affect your allowed building line. If you were on the limit of the line before, you now might be in “contravention” of the bylaws if they widen the road as your building will now be inside the line but this should be the council’s problem not yours. Check with your local authority what their by-laws say. All the municipal contact numbers are here: munisipaliteit-kontak

  403. HI,
    Please could you assist with an answer to the following question – what is the minimum distance in terms of the regulations that a boundary fence/wall must be away from a street.

    I live in Bedfordview and the council has decided to widen the street in which we live. The street is narrow but only services 10 houses and thus the residents have never really experienced much concern in this regard.

    The residents on the one side of the street have extensive pavements of approximately 4 meters from their perimeter walls to the edge of the road, whereas the residents other side of the street (where I live ) have pavements of approximately 1 meter from the perimeter walls to the street.

    To widen the road the council has excavated and appropriated about half a meter of land from the side of the road which only had a meter to start with, and about a meter from the other side . This effectively means that the residents on the one side will, on completion of the widened road, have a pavement of about half a meter – being the total distance from their boundary walls to the road . Is this legal ? I can’t ever recall seeing a pavement of only half a meter.

    If we turned it around and the road was already there and a resident wished to build a boundary wall I am sure he would not be able to build it so close to the road.

    Many thanks for your assistance
    regards Natasha

  404. First of all SABS standards are now SANS (South African National Standards). And SANS 227 is for the manufacture of burnt clay masonry units – not concrete.
    SANS 2001 – CC2 gives recommendations for concrete mixes for construction.
    If using a class 42,5 cement:
    20 MPa – 100 kg cement + 230 litres building or river sand + 230 litres 19 mm stone + water (about 60 litres)
    25 MPa – 100 kg cement + 200 litre sand + 200 litres 19 mm stone + water (about 55 litres)
    If using a class 32,5 cement:
    20 MPa – 100 kg cement + 200 litres builder’s sand + 200 litres 19 mm stone + water (about 54 litres)
    25 MPa – 100 kg cement + 160 litre sand + 160 litres 19 mm stone + water (about 50 litres)
    All concrete is designed to have the minimum compressive strength at 28 days.
    MPa = megapascals

  405. Alice Botha sê:

    Could you please give me the mix on the following:-Concrete used for footing Minimum compressive strength of 20 MPo sat 28 days.
    Structural concrete shall have a minimum compressive strength of 25 MPo at 28 days
    What is the SABS 227 rule.

    Please help with these questions

    Vriendelike groete
    Alice Botha

  406. Prashila they can only build what is on the plans. If there is no plan for the third storey, and the council is not doing anything to stop them building, I would go to an attorney. In the long run it is likely to be worth spending a few hundred rands to get an attorney involved – and demand in writing that the council forces your neighbour to stop building as a matter of urgency. After all the building inspector has basically told you that they are building illegally. But the local authority will have to go the route of their attorney – who will presumably give them a written warning to stop building. Only the council attorney can actually force them to stop. I know that they have to do things to the letter, which can be a slow drawn-out process. At the end of the day the council can eventually force your neighbour to demolish the building, but if they are dragging their heels now, then one wonders! You do need a formal assurance that the council is taking action – and an attorney should be able to get that for you.
    The boundary lines are another issue, and this is controlled by the city by-laws. I think I said before that if people want to build closer to the boundary than normally allowed, they MUST have neighbour’s consent. The by-laws also govern maximum height of buildings.
    The fire regulations raise interesting questions in terms of safety distances, and perhaps you can use these to force them to stop building (via your attorney). Have a look at the section on Vuur beskerming on our sister website Building Regulations. I have given you the link.
    Unfortunately the building regulations don’t govern privacy.

  407. Goeie dag Penny

    o Thanks for your information on Penny says:
    May 10, 2013 at 8:53 am

    The neighbor have already building a triple story house, close to a boundary. The building inspectors was there and he said there are no plans in place for the 3rd floor.

    Your assistance hereto will be highly appreciated.

    Prashila Mithal 083 228 8993
    Prashila Mithal | Project Administrator | PBB IT Africa Work Requests | Standard Bank Africa | 5 Simmonds Street | 6th floor
    Entrance 5 | Green 2 | Johannesburg | 2001 | : +27 11 631 3127 | : |

    My Questions are as follows:
    1. Are they allowed to build a triple story house. so close to the border
    2. If they neighbor changes their mind, and decide to build a courtyard, are they allowed?,
    3. If they are allowed, what the heights and Safety, Privacy and all the other building regulation of fire, etc.


    Note when the chief inspector when to the site, and he saw there were no plans The inspector then agreed that the 3rd floor will be handled by with city council attorneys., since there were no plans in placed.

    When i phone the inspector and saif they are still building, he said to me he cannot handcuffrf them, but should he not stop the project altogrther.
    What are my rights

    Your assistance hereto will be highly appreciated.

    Prashila Mithal 083 228 8993
    Prashila Mithal | Project Administrator | PBB IT Africa Work Requests | Standard Bank Africa | 5 Simmonds Street | 6th floor
    Entrance 5 | Green 2 | Johannesburg | 2001 | : +27 11 631 3127 | : |

  408. Prashila, I have edited your letter and deleted names and contact numbers – but have them on file. I am 99% sure that to be able to build that close to a boundary in Lenasia you need neighbour’s consent. Check this with the local authority. Also, you say that the chief building inspector has told you that plans need to be approved. The question though is whether this has been done. If they need your signature, they can’t have approved plans and you can insist that the building operation is stopped until they do have proper plans. There is another article on Walls and fences on our sister website, Building Regulations. Scroll down to Comment #4. Pauline and her husband managed to contact the town planner (i.e. they went right to the top), and even though the zoning regulations have changed in Cape Town – and neighbour’s consent is no longer required for people to build right on a boundary line – they have forced the neighbour to increase the height of the wall so that their privacy is retained. Perhaps you should try getting to your local town planner.
    The only other thing I can think of is for you to go to an attorney and have him/her write a letter to the local authority demanding proof that your neighbour has approved plans. It shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred rands. But check the neighbour’s consent issue first – because that would be a trump card.

  409. Note i am not getting any joy out of the building inspectors at all, they tell me they need to submit plan, and the owner will be in contact with the Building inspector and that’s is not happening. The neighbor is continuing with the building, I do not who to speak to. Note building inspector are not making any attempt to check out

    Neighbor building double story house – 2 bricks away from my boundary. According to them there is a shop on the ground floor

    On the last floor is an open court yard – the building inspector Johannes – have spoken to the owner who will need built a wall all around on the top with new plans, and the owner has agreed,
    And also this will not need invade my privacy. Note I have a kitchen and a bedroom.

    Note both building inspectors are investigating / Investigated. My worry if this is done without proper plans? Chief Building Inspector has reassured me that plans needs to passed properly.

    Please can you investigate and advise me

    I need some kind of reassurance from you –, that all is Legit.,
    A document needs to be drawn out so I can have some kind of reassurance..

    Your assistance hereto will be highly appreciated.


  410. Thank you for your reply Penny

  411. Colin, presumably the garage and cottage were built with plans and the approval of the local authority. Generally one also needs neighbours’ consent in writing. Unless you live in the “City of Cape Town” area which recently changed its zoning by-laws and now allows people to build on a boundary without neighbours’ consent (with certain limitations), you will need to ask your neighbours to agree to the extensions. You will also need to have plans drawn up by a bekwame persoon, and approved by your local authority. The limitations in terms of how much of the boundary you can build on will depend on your local by-laws. As an example, The City of Cape Town’s new zoning by-laws state that people living on plots from 200-650 sq m in size may build 3,5 m from the street boundary (except for a garage that may be up to 1,5 m from the street boundary if it is no wider than 6,5 m); then up to 12 m from the street boundary they may build on the common boundary (i.e. neighbour’s boundary) – obviously taking the 1,5 m or 3,5 m allowance into account; and then for 60% of the total remaining linear distance along all common boundaries around the land unit, and 3 m for the remainder.
    NB There are other things that come into account including no windows or doors to face the boundary and the height of the building that is allowed.
    You will need to find out what your local authority permits.

  412. Ntsiki the bylaws governing building-lines and boundaries are different in different areas, sometimes even within different areas within one city or town. For instance the City of Cape Town now allows people to build on the boundary with certain limitations in terms of extent, height etc, based on the size of the property. No neighbors consent is required, but plans must be submitted and approved by the local authority. This is very new and is governed by the City’s new zoning by-law that came into effect in March this year. I am not aware of any other local authorities that allow this; most insist on at least 2-3 m from the boundary. The boundary lines of your property should be marked on the plans and/or the surveyor general’s diagram (completed when the area was zoned for residential or other use). The zoning certificate will state what coverage is allowed – i.e. how much of the land you are allowed to build on.
    To add onto the granny flat, you will, in any case require plans. If the existing flat is not on the existing plans, you will need to sort this out first. The Nasionale Bouregulasies & Standards Act now requires plans to be drawn by a bekwame persoon, and this person has the responsibility of submitting the plans to the local authority and ultimately making sure that the work is done according to the plans. If you don’t have plans, zoning certificate etc. a competent person will assist in getting these before the new plans are drafted.
    In terms of the man-hole, this might have to be moved – which has implications for the underground drains and pipework. A qualified registered plumber would have to do this job according to the plans drawn up by the competent person you use.

  413. The short answer is NO! But there are several issues here. 1) If it is a party wall – i.e. owned by two parties – and the wall is damaged, then both parties are obliged to contribute to the maintenance and repair of the wall. However neither party is permitted to “tamper” with the wall in any way – except to improve the appearance of it on their side. So if it is a party wall, you would have had to agree in advance that the wall would be demolished and rebuilt – and then both pay 50%. 2) If the wall is on his/her side of the boundary, you have no liability at all. Even if it is ON the boundary, if the neighbour owns the wall, then I assume you would have to agree to contribute towards the new wall, because you would benefit. But I don’t think you would be obliged to. And certainly not without proof of all the costs incurred. And since you were not consulted at all, I know what I would say! 3) If you own the wall then your neighbour would not have the right to demolish it at all, without your consent. Your local authority should be able to advise who owns the wall.

  414. I. Weygand sê:

    Can a neighbour demolish a cracked wall, build a new one and require half of what he claims the project cost without any proof (quotation, invoice, till slips etc.) whatsoever? We were not consulted in any decision making.

  415. Hi,
    My property has a garage which is built on part of the side boundry of my property. I also have a cottage which is build on the back boundry of my property.
    Is it possible for me to extend the garage on the rest of the side boundry?

  416. Hi, we’re looking to build onto our granny flat, but this is built against the boundary wall at the back of the house. We bought the house with the existing one bed flat. Now I understand there are laws against building on the boundary wall, am not too sure now how/if we can add onto this current building. Another problem, there is a man-hole next to the granny flat, not sure if this will also complicate the building plans?

    Dankie by voorbaat.

  417. Francois this sounds horrendous, but I think the crux of the matter is what the land is zoned for. This certainly would not be allowed i a residential area. But if your home is in an industrial area, I am not sure what you can do. You probably do need to get legal advice.

  418. Hi Philip,
    It sounds to me from the info you have supplied that it is a “private treaty” entered into between your neighbour (the owner) and the developer. It is not public land that everyone has access to, so it seems as though the developer is correct. If you want access then make a request to them both for “permission” and see what they say.

  419. Francois Smit sê:

    Hi, I stay next to a company which used to be a hundred meters or so away from my house, they have since started expanding, i now have a 6m wall 25m from my house and a plant that will be erected behind this wall which will stand about 30m tall. This is a refinery, they are using hazardous chemical substances, furnaces and such, and there are audible evacuation alarms. They have also built a chopper pad which is behind my house, the border wall of the pad is 5m from my house, they currently have earth moving equipment an peckers working on the site!

    my question is, is this legal, as the erecting of the plant and the current activities surrounding the preparation of this plant is severely effecting the value of my property, what are the legal limits that such a plant can be erected from my residence and whom can i contact for legal advice and possible legal action, or don’t I have a foot to stand on as they claim that they are doing everything within the law!

  420. Philip Sinclair sê:

    Thanks you Janek. The servitude on my boundary was registered with the adjacent landowner’s consent to give access to home owners on a small new housing development, from a further landlocked site through to the nearest tarred road. It is not a servitude that specifies on the deed any particular or specific use. As it is on my boundary for more than 100m am I entitled to exit my property using the servitude without any necessary permission or red tape? The developer says I am not allowed to use it.

  421. Hi Phillip,
    As your comment was posted on our Boundary Walls page I assume that you have looked at the example site plan. I must stress that all properties are different and often have their own limitations written into the title deed. The site plan is just a guide and as a rule of thumb you will see that the building line to the front boundary, onto the road is 5 metres; the side boundaries to the neighbors is 2.5 metres; and the back one, onto a public open space, the same as a servitude, is 3 metres. Servitudes can be anywhere on, under or through your property. If you want or need to build closer, then you will have to apply for a waiver from the council. They may also need a consent form signed by the neighbour/s. We bought a plot once to build on, only to find out later that there was a servitude registered against the property for a new road through the bottom half of the garden.

  422. Philip Sinclair sê:

    A neighbour has registered a Public Servitude which runs directly on the boundary line of my property.

    1. Should there not be space between the servitude and my property?
    2. How close can I build to the servitude?

    Many thanks for any info.