What is a servitude and how do they affect property value or perceived value?

The definition of a servitude is as follow:

A servitude is a registered right that a person or legal entity has over the immovable property of another. It allows the holder of the servitude to do something with the other person property, which may infringe upon the rights of the owner of that property.

An example of a servitude would be a sewerage line on your property. These servitudes are inescapable as they are part of service delivery. Without servitudes there would be no electricity or sewerage.

The pavement in front of your home is part of a servitude, the property is registered with the deeds office against your name but your local municipality may work on that piece of ground without your permission.

How can a servitude negatively impact on the value of your property?

  1. Electric pylons are everywhere. They are all constructed on municipal They are also unsightly. Vagrants like to use this “vacant” land to put up shelter. Municipalities are not maintaining this land resulting in long grass and illegal dumping, all devaluing the property.

There is a perception that the overhead power lines can have adverse medical implications. This could negatively detract from property value. Generally municipalities and town planners try to cater for this when new suburbs are developed, but this cannot always be achieved due to the lack of disposable land.

There will thus inevitably be property developed right next to these unsightly servitudes. This is not an occurrence exclusively to low cost housing developments since exclusive suburbs are affected too.

When selecting a property to invest in, it would be advisable to find out exactly what servitudes are envisaged for the future if it is a developing suburb. This will enable you to make an informed decision. The local municipalities will be able to assist you with this information.

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