Where immovable property is being disposed of, it is the registered owner’s responsibility to furnish the new owner/s with all compliance certificates as required by law.
Some of them (electrical certificates, electrical fence certificates) are required under national regulations; some (water certificates) under municipal by-laws; and some (beetle certificates) have become accepted practice.
Below find a simple summary of what the specific compliance certificates entails.
ELECTRICAL COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE
It is compulsory to be in possession of a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECC) when selling your home.
This is a provision of the Electrical Installation Regulations which came into effect in 2009 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993).
Although the ECC is valid for a period of 2 (two) years, it is only necessary to have the house inspected when you are selling the property: you don’t need to have it done as long as you plan to remain in possession of the property.
A valid ECC verifies that the electrical work and installations that have been completed on the property are up to standard in accordance with the regulations as required by the South African National Standards.
While the certificate covers distribution boards, wiring, earthing and bonding of all metal components (include antennae and satellite dishes), as well as wall sockets, light switches and the isolators of fixed appliances, it does not cover the fixed appliances themselves (geysers, stoves, motors, fans, under-floor heating).
ELECTRICAL FENCE CERTIFICATE
If you have installed electric fencing as a security measure, you will need an Electrical Fence System Compliance Certificate. This is a separate certificate since it falls under the provisions of a separate set of regulations: The Electrical Machinery Regulations of 2011 (also issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act, No. 181 of 1993.).
It must be noted that the regulations of the above act do not apply to electric fences installed prior to 1 October 2012
As with an ECC, this certificate is required where additions or alterations to the system have been undertaken, or when a change of ownership of the property takes place.
The electric fence system has to be certified by an approved installer and that, as with ECCs, certification is valid for 2 (two) years.
If your property is situated within Cape Town’s municipal area, you’ll need to know that the City’s Water By-law (which came into effect in 2010) requires you to be in possession of a Certificate of Compliance of Water Installation before transfer can take place.
The by-law was specifically designed to limit water wastage, and to protect buyers both from latent defect claims, and from high water bills due to leakages.
Amongst others, certification covers:
- The water meter (does it start registering when a tap is open, and stop completely when all taps are closed?);
- The correct installation of water cylinders; and
- The correct discharge of storm water, ie. that storm water is not being discharged into the sewerage system).
- It also ensures that the potable water supply is completely separate from any grey water or groundwater systems.
NB: It’s important for buyers to bear in mind that a water installation certificate is not a plumbing certificate, and that it does not cover all aspects of the home’s plumbing – nor does it cover any leaks from waste or sewer water or drainage.
THE GAS COMPLIANCE
If your home is fitted with gas appliances, you will require a Gas Certificate of Conformity in order to comply with the Pressure Equipment Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (the regulations came into effect on 1 October 2009).
This certificate is valid for a period of 5 five years. It certifies that your gas installation is in a safe, working condition, that emergency shut-off valves have been correctly installed, and that the system is free of leaks.
THE BEETLE CERTIFICATE
It is important to note that there is no actual law that requires you to provide the buyer with a beetle certificate of clearance which shows that your property has been inspected and found to be free of the bugs that attack structural timber.
But it does show that you are serious and acting in good faith when providing a Beetle Certificate of Clearance.
The beetle certificate has become standard practice, and it’s often a condition written into the sale agreement in coastal areas, although it is not usually required for sectional title properties, or where the property is situated inland where beetle and woodborer problems are less common.
Wietz Viljoen – WVA INC.
This article is for general information purposes and is aimed at advising the public. It 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