Property Poser: Power Lines put Second Storey in Jeopardy A
frustrated reader would like to add a second storey to his house, but
is prohibited by local authorities to do so.

The reason is that the roof will then be closer than the prescribed
three metres to power lines that were installed by the municipality
after he had purchased the property.

He says he was never approached by the municipality for permission to
install the lines over his house. Due to normal wear and tear, his
current roof needs to be replaced and he subsequently decided to add
another storey.

He wants to know if the municipality may erect power lines over one’s
house without permission and what he could do to obtain permission from
them to build his house to double storey level.

Grant Howard from Kaplan
Blumberg attorneys
in Port
Elizabeth says when
a person becomes the owner of a property his ownership and use thereof
will be limited by the conditions imposed by the municipality in whose
jurisdiction the property falls as well as by municipal bylaws,
regulations and ordinances.

He says these conditions are imposed by the municipality or
administrator of the province in terms of the Land Use Planning
Ordinance with the establishment of the area, and would have been
inserted in the first title deed that was issued in respect of the erf.

For residential erven, says Howard, there will typically be a condition
stating that the owner of the erf will be obliged, without
compensation, to allow electricity, telephone and television cables
and/or wires as well as water, sewerage, drainage and storm water pipes
of any other erf to be installed inside or outside his erf.

According to him, a property owner may follow the prescribed appeal
procedure if he is not happy with the conditions imposed in terms of
Section 42 of the ordinance.

“Most often such applications will relate to limitations on the manner
in which the property may be used or the area on which structures may
be erected,” says Howard. “Consent for the removal of a limited title
deed condition or the departure there from will however not be given in
respect of the municipal services infrastructure.”
This, says PE commercial and residential property expert Warren
means that the owner will be obliged to allow these service
installations on and under his erf insofar as it may be necessary.

He says if a new installation is required or if changes are needed to
an existing installation (for example that it is moved to allow the
owner to make alterations to his property) the owner will have to bear
the costs thereof.

Jack says electrical installations are regulated by the Electrical
Regulations, which form part of the Occupational
and Safety Act.

He says overhead power transmission lines are classified by range of

“Low voltage will generally be used for a connection between a
residential customer and the electrical utility. However, even lines
classified as ‘low voltage’ can be hazardous and could lead to

According to Jack, this is the reason why the municipality would
require the reader to keep the three-metre distance when he makes
alterations to his property.

“The reader may consider approaching the municipality for permission to
redirect or alter the power lines so that he may build a second storey,
but, if permission is granted, he will have to bear the costs of moving
or altering the power line.”

to have
related questions answered

courtesy of Coetzee Gouws from
Stop Communications

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