One aspect of selling a property that needs to be top of mind with the seller is a range of certificates confirming that the building is in good shape.

Now that the new Property Practitioners Act has been enacted, a property owner must declare any latent defaults in the property. In addition, the Act stipulates that the property must meet the legally required safety standards. For this reason, it is recommended that buyers must not just take sellers’ certificates at face value and that only accredited service providers for the different aspects that need to be certified are contracted.

The buyer may request the contractor’s credentials and verify them with the relevant authorities at any time. However, the seller may have tried to keep costs down, appointing someone they know instead of an expert, and a poor assessment could have been done.

While a Defects Disclosure Document will provide the buyer with a good overview of the purchased property, the purchaser must conduct their own inspections. There may be defects that are not visible to the naked eye – the seller may be unaware of these and will, therefore, not disclose them. Furthermore, it is essential to remember that the seller is not an expert in compliance certificates, and the property must comply with relevant legal regulations.

The three primary certificates required are the electrical, gas and electric fence certificates. Different provinces have other by-laws that stipulate other certificates. In coastal regions, for instance, a beetle certificate is required; in Cape Town, a plumbing certificate is required. All compliance certificates are issued before the transfer registration.

Who pays?

Where a compliance certificate has been issued but is later found invalid, the buyer can insist that the seller bring the installation up to a standard that is compliant with statutory requirements.

The seller can hold the service provider who issued the invalid certificate liable. In addition, the seller may institute a claim for damages against the service provider for damages they suffered because of the purchaser initiating action against them for the defective certificate. If not already attended to by the purchaser, the seller will need to appoint a second accredited person to attend to the necessary repairs and to re-issue a valid certificate. The norm is for the seller to nominate an accredited service provider to issue a valid compliance certificate.

Should defects be detected by accredited service providers while inspecting the property to issue a Compliance Certificate, the party who accepted responsibility in the deed of sale would be liable for the costs associated with the repairs. The seller will remain liable.

Electric compliance certificate (ECC)

  • The ECC should not be older than two years, with no alterations.
  • The ECC should cover the distribution boards, wiring, socket outlets, light switches, earthing, bonding of all metal components, including satellite dishes and antennas, and isolators for fixed appliances, like the geyser, stove, fans, or underfloor heating appliances.

Gas compliance certificate (GCC)

  • The GCC is required for built-in gas stoves, geysers, braais, fireplaces, etc.
  • The certificate is issued once the installation has been inspected. The authorised expert is satisfied that it is safe and that the emergency shut-off valves and components have been installed correctly, for example, concerning electrical points.
  • Cylinders outdoors must be far from doors, drains, windows, and electrical appliances.

Electric fence certificate

  • A certificate must be issued every time there is a modification to the fence or the property changes ownership. It should have been issued within the last two years.

Beetle compliance certificate (coastal regions)

  • A certificate is only valid for three to six months and must be issued by a qualified

≈ ≈ Marsha


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