Don't Build That Hotel

According to my readers, Randburg has a serious problem, and the municipality is doing little about it. I discussed this issue last year, but this time I am addressing the many owners considering subsidising their mortgage with rental income. It all sounds so good. Build some rooms in the backyard - after all they cannot be seen from the street - then sit back and wait for the cash to start rolling in. If only life was that simple. Your neighbourhood falls under what is called a 'town planning scheme'. This lays out all the rules of what can and cannot be built on a given piece of land.

When you don't apply for permission to build you obviously don't get any guidelines. You are not told about density or height or various other restrictions. You don't find out that you may not build on your boundary walls. You aren't informed about shadow or storm water runoff laws. Granted some of these restrictions can be lifted if a proper application is lodged with the local authorities, and you get signed permission from your neighbours. But you just want to ahead and find a very inexpensive builder and put up whatever fits in your backyard.

You aren't considering that one day you may want to sell your home. A potential buyer will apply for a home loan. Once the bank sees what you have done they will immediately decline the bond. You might find a cash buyer who absolutely loves the badly built rooms you have put up on the cheap - and without any approved building plans. But I don't think so.

Now in light of the above, what have you actually accomplished? You have made your neighbour's home lose considerable value. You have degraded your area - because if everyone had your attitude there would be seven times the number of residents that the infrastructure was designed to deal with. And above and beyond all of this, you have turned your property into a virtually unsellable lump. Well done.