Each property in South Africa is zoned for a particular use. This dictates the use of the property, the type of buildings that can be erected on it, and the nature of their use. In other words: the zoning of the property determines the legal use of that property.

The most common classes of zoning here in South Africa are as follows:

Residential 1, 2, 3 & 4
Business 1, 2, 3 & 4
Industrial 1, 2 & 3

For more details on the definitions of these zones please see this article.

If you are looking for a property zoned for commercial use, you will need to examine what the laws are surrounding commercial property.

If your business is office-based and you would like to work from home, then you will need to consider the extent to which your activities and traffic might impact your neighbours. If you only have two or three staff, a couple of cars, and the occasional visitor, then rezoning to commercial use might not even be necessary.

For the most part, commercial rezoning is unlikely to occur in an established residential area. As part of the rezoning process, the public and affected parties are invited to offer input. The local authorities take very seriously any resistance from neighbours who may object to the rezoning. Some professionals – such as doctors or lawyers – may have an easier time with the process, however. (Who wouldn’t like to live next door to the friendly neighbourhood GP?)

Property with an existing commercial zoning may carry a higher price tag, but is less of a headache in the short-term. Rezoning property for commercial use is technically and legally very complex, and can take up to 12 months (and a lot of money) to finalise.

If you are considering purchasing property for business, then you will need to decide which zoning you will require.

Business 1

General business in the form of shopping centres or malls – the developer or owner would be allowed to have almost any type of shop on the premises.

Business 2

Also for a shopping centre, but with restricted businesses. (For example, a liquor store would not be allowed.)

Business 3

A strict zoning which will not allow a wider variety of businesses to open and operate in a centre.

Business 4

This zoning excludes shopping centres or malls. It provides for office use (with or without residential use), and is can be seen in action in the growing number of office parks in South Africa.

With commercial property being in high demand but technically tricky, it’s wise to make use of professionals from the start.

Whatever your property needs are, our partners offer decades of sound business knowledge to make the process a simple one. Visit www.property-partnership.co.za for all your property valuations and related requirements.