Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
MBALENHLE Gumede's problem with her cramped kitchen will soon be over.
Gumede bought a house from a seller who wanted to move and live in the suburban Gauteng estates.
On occupying it she realised that the kitchen could accommodate only one person at a time.
She equipped it with a washing machine and fridge, but that left no space for the kitchen unit she had dreamt about.
Gumede could fit only a two-door cupboard in the remaining space. Then she realised she did not have the house plan since she had not demanded it from the seller when they were negotiating the sale.
"I did not know where they had moved to. Their cellular phone numbers were not recognised by their network and their estate agent could not help me get the copy or find them," she said.
Gumede said she was tempted to add the extension without getting an approved plan when she approached Consumer Line for help.
Virgil James of the City of Johannesburg said Gumede's hopes could be realised. He said buyers who did not have a house plan must do the right thing before they decide to extend their homes. James said it was important to get the original copy of a house plan and an occupation certificate from the seller.
"These documents are critical to determine whether the building is built according to the approved plan and that the city had signed it off as 'ready to occupy' on final inspection," he said.
James said all prospective buyers should ask for plans and financial institutions providing bonds or loans should support this practice and ask for the same proof before granting loans.
He said an extract from the surveyor-general's office or Metro Centre in Braamfontein is available to Gumede. This document will give her the exact dimensions of the property.
"Check the property for compliance. Any deviations from the plan should be pointed out to the seller. Avoid buying a property with illegal additions and alterations to the property."
James said it was important for any buyer to have the plan so that she or he knows whether she can make amendments and additions.
"Once the local authority becomes aware of the illegal additions and alterations it will demand that the owner rectify them. It is up to the owner to take it up with the previous owner, which normally results in litigation.
In addition, if there is damage to the property due to a fire or a storm, insurance companies might use the "illegal" nature of the structures as a reason for not paying out the claim.
The other important document is a zoning certificate, which can be obtained from the local authority, he said.
This document also states restrictions such as height and building lines. This is important because one may buy a property that does not permit further alterations due to the restrictions.
Gumede can approach the local authority at Metro Centre in Braamfontein to obtain these documents. She can go to A Block on the 8th floor at Metrolink to see if the City can assist with copies of the approved building plan and the occupation certificate, James said.