It is common knowledge that purchasers incur a number of expenses when buying a property, however, sellers should be mindful of their legal obligations when selling their properties too.
One such obligation is obtaining compliance certificates. In a nutshell, the seller is required, by law, to ensure that certain aspects of the property being sold are examined and deemed acceptable by a professional, who will then issue a signed and dated compliance certificate confirming same.
The following are compliance certificates currently recognised in South Africa:
- ELECTRIC COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE: (ECC)
In terms of the Regulations to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), only a duly registered, electrical contractor can provide an ECC. The contractor will examine the property in order to ensure that it is reasonably safe. A new ECC is not required if the existing certificate is not older than 2 years and no alteration and / or addition is effected to the electrical installation.
- WATER INSTALLATION COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE:
Colloquially known as the ‘plumbing certificate’ it is carried out by an accredited plumber and is compulsory upon transfer of a property, within the City of Cape Town, in terms of a municipal by-law. Its main purpose is to ensure that water installation is in line with municipal guidelines and to avoid water wastage caused by leaks.
- GAS COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE:
Gas certificates are compulsory in terms of the OHSA Regulations, upon transfer of property, where liquid gas appliances are installed. It can only be carried out by persons registered with the Liquified Petroleum Gas Safety Association of South Africa (LPGAS).
- BEETLE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE:
This certificate although not compulsory by law, has become a customary requirement within the coastal provinces due to the prevalence of wood-destroying beetles. If this certificate is not required in terms of a deed of sale, but is brought forward as a condition on a purchaser’s bond, the purchaser will be liable for obtaining same.
- ELECTRIC FENCE CERTIFICATE:
Also governed by the Regulations to the OHSA, this certificate is compulsory when an electric fence system is installed, altered or extended. The examination of the fence is undertaken by a person duly registered and accredited in terms of the regulations. Unlike the electrical compliance certificate, there is no fixed period for validity and the certificate can be passed from one owner to the next provided, there has been no alteration or extension to the installation.
Conveyancers attending to the transfer of a property will ensure that the requisite compliance certificates are received well before registration at the Deeds Office, however, purchasers are encouraged to request for copies of same.
Not only does it provide comfort in knowing that the property you have just invested in is safe and compliant with legislation, compliance certificates also ensure that you do not fall short of your basic homeowners / building insurance policy requirements.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other 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 legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).