Selling a Property? – These are the Property Compliance Certificates You Need | Legal Articles


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Selling a Property? – These are the Property Compliance Certificates You Need

The sale of property is quite an involved and hugely extensive process fraught with technical and legal compliance requirements.

To the extent that many at times there are huge amounts of money and exchange of a real asset involved, the cumbersome process is thought to be necessary to safeguard the interests of all the parties involved.

When selling a house, one of the questions you should be asking yourself is: “what certificates are needed when selling a house in South Africa?”

conveyancing attorneys in Cape Town

Property Compliance Certificates

Part of the process involves the availing and consideration of certificates that validate the compliance of the property that is being sold. These certificates relate to water, electrical, gas and electric fence which are required by law.

Sellers are encouraged to contact us for comprehensive assistance in order to be guided through the process of acquiring the right documents that meet requirements pertaining to the listed above.

Although it is no longer imposed by the law, another certificate that is necessary especially in regions along the coast is the Beetle Certificate. Added to the certificates required by law, the Beetle certificate is usually required by financial institutions in the process of granting a bond for a property.

Water Installation Certificate

This certificate mainly provides for the water installation on the property being compliant with the required standards of the National Building Regulations. As a policy, this is meant to ensure that water resources are preserved, controlled and managed in a sustainable manner.

In Cape Town, this certificate has been required with effect from 1 March 2011 whenever property transfer is processed.

Such a policy is also directed towards the alleviation of health risks, account accuracies and the interests of the buyer. The certificate also certifies that the meter is in good working condition, rainwater leaks into the sewerage system are not there and the absence of latent water system faults that cause water loss. It is important however to note that the issuing of this certificate does not certify a full plumbing overhaul, but specific systems as noted above. Both sectional title and freehold property sale transactions are accompanied by this certificate.

Electrical Compliance Certificate When Selling a House

Where transfer of property is undertaken, an electrical compliance certificate is required by law. It is required that this certificate must not be older than two (2) years at the time of the transfer, that the electrical installations on the property must not have been altered, and that only a registered electrical contractor may issue such certificate.

By way of agreement, the parties may arrange that a new certificate be sought at the costs of the purchaser even where the available certificate is less than two (2) years. The regulations to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 provide for the requirements pursuant to the issuing of the electrical compliance certificate, which is prescribed under Regulation 7 (5).

The certificate provides for safety of the wiring, sockets, switches, main distribution board as well as earthing etc.

Gas Compliance Certificate

From 1 October 2009, regulations for pressure equipment installed on properties became effective. A certificate must be issued upon adequate inspection by an authorised person registered with the Liquified Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa (LPGAS) in terms of 17(3) of the Pressure Equipment Regulations.

Where there is installation, alteration, modification or change of ownership of a property, the gas certificate is required where pressure equipment like gas stoves, hot water systems, built-in gas fires are installed.

However, there is no mention as to the longevity of its validity but in practice the offer to purchase may put stipulations to that effect. This certificate provides for safety of emergency shut off valves, gas piping, and that there are no gas leaks.

Electric Fence Certificate of Compliance

The safety of electrical fencing installations is pursued through the issuing of the Electrical Fencing Certificate, which is regulated in the Electrical Machinery Regulations established under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993.

Where there is a change of ownership of a property installed with electric fence after 1 October 2012, or where there are alterations or modifications to the electric fence after 1 October 2012 (even though installed before this date), an electric fence certificate is required to be issued.

There is also no mention as to the longevity of its validity and therefore parties may stipulate in the agreement of sale. Sectional Title owners may, to the extent that the electric fence is installed around the whole boundaries of several properties, request copy of the certificate from the body corporate upon the decision to sell their individual units.

Beetle Certificate

Parties may agree to opt-in or opt-out of the requirement for the Beetle certificate mainly because it is not required by law anymore (Forest Act).

However, property sale agreements in the coastal regions usually require that it be part of the process as the danger causing beetles are prevalent in these areas. The Longhorn beetle, European house borer and the West-Indian dry-wood termite were required by law, upon detection by property owners, to be reported to the Forestry Department for them to be destroyed. Where there is no timber or where buildings are new, the certificate is usually dispensed with.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Conveyancing Attorneys South Africa

Kindly contact us for comprehensive assistance in order to be guided through the process of acquiring the right documents that meet requirements as well the whole process of property purchase and transfer.


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