CLUSTER BUILDINGS_ACCamera_4In Zimbabwe, cluster housing development is regulated by the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act section 26 of 1996. For a property to be suitable for cluster housing development, there are certain pre-requisite conditions that it must meet.

The first pre-requisite which disqualifies a lot of prospective properties is the need for the availability of a council sewer connection. Many properties as big as they may be do not have council sewer connections and are serviced by septic tanks, this makes the property unsuitable for cluster housing development because the a septic tank takes up a lot of servitude space. In areas that are serviced by septic tanks you can only have one cluster per every 2,000 square metre space whereas in areas serviced by council sewer you need only 500 square metres per unit. This leads many people in septic tank serviced areas to instead opt for Sub-Divisions.

Another pre-requisite is the Town Planning Zoning of the area. The council zones different places for differentELA Africa cluster-houses purposes, some areas are zoned for residential development, some for commercial development, and some are zoned for Agro-residential, etc. Residential areas are zoned differently, in some areas flats are permissible in others they are not, in some areas clusters are permissible in others they are not.

So the first step when considering to do a cluster housing development is to verify at Council the Zoning of that particular property.

In areas that are zoned for Village Development you can develop cluster houses without the need for a Special Consent Permit from Council. In this case you just engage an architect to draw the cluster house plans then you submit the plans like you are submitting an ordinary plan. The Approval charges for cluster houses is $3.50 plus 15% VAT per built up square metre per cluster.

Very few areas in Harare are zoned for Village Development so it leaves most areas requiring Special Consent Permits for Cluster Housing Development.

As long as a property is at least 4,000 square metres and is serviced by Council sewer, that property can be used to develop Cluster Houses through a Special Consent Permit that is applied for from Council.

When applying for a Special Consent Permit to develop clusters houses, you need to submit to council a copy of the property’s Title Deeds, 10 copies of the site plan of the property, 10 copies of the floor plans for the proposed clusters, a town planning justification report detailing the reasons and merits for the need to develop the clusters.

ELA Africa cluster-housingApplication fees of $230 payable to council, $20 payable to ZESA, $20 payable to Tel-One accompanies a completed TPD1 form that records the basic information regarding the property and its owner.

After submitting the application for Special Consent Permit, you need to notify five of your immediate neighbours of your proposed development in writing via registered mail. Your neighbours are allowed to object in writing to council if they are against the development but the council will assess objections on a case by case basis and may allow or deny the objection depending on the merit of the case.

You will also need to flight a newspaper notice in The Herald, notifying the public of your intentions. After the publication of the notice, the council gives the public up to 30 days to raise objections if there are any.

The application for Special Consent Permit takes about three to six months depending on the measures you take to expediate the process.

Our Property Investment Consultancy Division at ELA Africa can assist you in the process of applying for a Special Consent Permit to develop Cluster Houses and we charge affordable fees for the service.

For more information please call or whatspp 0772 252 925, 074 349 139 or email

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