How far from the boundary wall must I build?



We get a number of questions asking “How close to the boundary am I (or my neighbour) allowed to build?” The site plan above is a sample and is only a guide to the approximate building lines and distances that the Building Regulations allow a house as well as other out-buildings to be built. All the measurements on the plan are in metres and show the distance from a road at the bottom and at the top, from a public open space. You will also see that the side measurements that go on to the neighbours properties is less than that for the road and the open space.

We must point out that this is just a guide. All properties have their own characteristics and features and the boundary distances may vary. You MUST check with your local authority even before you have plans drawn up to avoid having to re-draw and re-submit the plans again and incur extra delays and costs. There are roads, public open spaces and servitudes that all have their own unique set of boundary requirements. If you want to build within the specified building lines you will have to apply for a waiver to the local planning department. They will, more than likely, require you to get your neighbours consent in writing before you can get approval .

  353 Responses to “Boundary Lines,Walls & Fences”

Comments (353)
  1. 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. Good day
    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?

    • 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!

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    Kind regards

  8. Good day
    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.

    • 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.

  9. Hi there,

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


    • 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.

  10. 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.


  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. Hi 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.


  14. 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.

    Thank you

    • 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.

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

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