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Ins and outs of Property Compliance Certificates

When it comes to selling your property, there is more to it than just putting the property on the market and making an effort to spruce it up.

Unfortunately, aesthetics aren’t all you have to worry about. If you are selling your home you are going to most certainly need a number of compliance certificates required by law before the sale can go through and be registered. “It is advisable for the seller to ensure that they have all the certificates of compliance in place before putting the property on the market. You can do this after the offer has been signed, however if there is an issue with obtaining any specific certificate, it could potentially delay the sale. The onus falls on the seller to ensure that their house is legally fit for sale”, states Craig Hutchison CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
 
Some of these compliance certificates are required under national regulations (e.g. your electrical certificate and your electrical fence certificate) while others are required in terms of municipal by-laws (e.g. Cape Town’s water certificate requirement or a beetle certificate for coastal properties), and some required by institutions such as banks before providing finance, have become standard practice. Without these certificates in place, you run the risk of putting the sale at risk.
 
Home owners are often caught unaware of the certificates of compliance that are required when selling a house, and are consequently shocked by the associated costs which they did not budget for. Each certificate will cost approximately R450.00 ex VAT, provided that there is nothing wrong. However without these certificates you’ll be held financially responsible for any incidents that occur once the new owners have taken moved in. The new regulations might have made the sale of a property a bit more complicated but it enables the buyers, the assurance that the property is in good condition and has no hidden defects or costs when it comes to plumbing, electrical, gas or even beetle infestation.
 
The most common certificates are:
 
Electrical certificate

This certificate must be issued by a qualified and registered electrician and includes a report as well as confirmation that all electrical installations on the property comply with the prescribed standards of safety.
 
Water/plumbing certificate

Certification that the water installation on the property is in line with municipal and building guidelines. This certificate must be issued by a registered and qualified plumber.
 
Gas certificate

A gas certificate will ensures that any gas installation on the property complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act. This is of course, only required if any gas is installed on the property.
 
Beetle certificate

The beetle certificate will confirm that the wood structures on the property are free from certain beetles that eat and destroy wood. This certificate is not provided because of any legislation, but it is a practise that has developed over the years and has become firmly embedded in property transactions. Certain areas, particular those in circulation in the coastal provinces (Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) continue to require a beetle certificate before transfer, given that these are the regions in which these beetles are most prevalent.
 
Electric fence

An electric fence certificate will declare that the electric fence installation complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act. The seller and purchaser can agree to waive the requirement to supply this certificate on full title properties. A new certificate only needs to be obtained if a change was made to the electric fence installation after the original certificate was issued.


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