What is a Servitude?

A servitude gives a person or company, that does not own a piece of land, the right to access and use a portion of that land. A servitude is a registered right that restricts the landowner’s rights. In many suburban townships, smallholdings and farms, neighbours travel over another’s land to get to their own. This is an example of servitude. Servitudes can be registered in favour of a piece of land or a particular person, or the public.

Types of Servitudes

  • Praedial servitude is when a person has a right of use on property A because they are the owner of property B. When either property is sold, the right of use can be exercised by the new owner of property B and must be honoured by the new owners of Property A.
  • Personal servitude is when a person has a right of use on property A because of special arrangements which are registered by law. When this person moves or dies, the right of use expires. If property A is sold, the servitude falls away.
  • Public servitudes are not registered in favour of a specific individual, legal entity, or other immovable property. Public servitudes, such as roads, serve the public.

How do you know there is a Servitude Registered over a Property?

When you are interested in buying a property, one of the questions you should ask is whether your rights as an owner would be limited in any way. You can quickly find any servitudes on a property’s Title Deed, however, if you are not sure what to look for, you can contact one of the Conveyancers at Greyvensteins Attorneys.

A servitude can increase or decrease the value of your property and have significant implications on reselling the property. If there is a servitude registered on an immovable property you will not need the permission of the person who holds the right of use to sell, however, the new owner will have to comply with the servitude. It is also important to inspect a property to see if any portion of it is being used by other people, whether it is attached to, or accessed through another property. If you find evidence of such use that is not registered on the Title Deed, contact a Conveyancer at Greyvensteins for assistance.

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