“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree” (Jim Rohn)
It’s that time of year again – summer sunshine, happy holidaymakers in festive mode, and an upsurge in property sales.
Whether seller or buyer, be aware of the various compliance certificates that may be required for your transfer to go through smoothly. These certificates ensure that the property is up to standard in terms of safety, health and building regulations, and can also help prevent any unexpected costs or legal issues from arising later on.
In most cases the responsibility for obtaining these certificates lies with the owner of the property, and failure to do so can result in delays in the transfer process, or even legal action. Also, if remedial work is required, this could take time and delay the whole transfer process. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to obtain the necessary clearance certificates as early as possible (just keep an eye on how long each is valid for).
So, sellers – here’s a checklist for you of the certificates of compliance you might (or might not) need –
- Electrical: One of the key certificates required for property transfer is the Electrical Compliance Certificate. This confirms that the electrical installations (distribution boards, wiring etc) in the property meet safety standards and other requirements, and that any necessary repairs or upgrades have been carried out. It does not cover actual appliances like stoves, geysers and the like. The certificate must be issued by a registered electrical contractor, and you cannot agree with the buyer to waive this requirement.
- Electric Fence System: Additional to and separate from the electrical certificate discussed above, this applies if you have an electric fence system installed (or modified) after 1 October 2012. It can be transferred to the buyer. Only a registered electric fence system installer can issue it. Again. It can’t be waived.
- Gas: A Gas Compliance Certificate is only required if you have gas appliances installed and confirms that the installations meet safety standards and are in good working order. A registered professional must issue it, and again it cannot be waived.
- Beetle Infestation: Required by banks and perhaps insurers in some (mostly coastal) areas of the country, this certificate confirms that the accessible wood of permanent structures is free of wood destroying insects. You can agree with the buyer on whether or not a certificate is necessary, and if so, who must obtain and pay for it. Usually valid for 3 to 6 months.
- Water Installation: Currently only required by the City of Cape Town and aimed at preventing illegal water connections and stormwater ingress, this certificate confirms that the water system installations comply with the City’s byelaws. It does not confirm that the whole plumbing system is in order even though it may be referred to as a “plumbing certificate”. Only a qualified and registered plumber can issue it. Again, you cannot agree with the buyer to waive this.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.