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Before the transfer of ownership on a property can take place, the owner must provide certain clearance certificates, namely; Electrical Certificate, Water Installation Certificate, Gas Compliance Certificate and Beetle Certificate.
The Electrical Certificate is a certificate that verifies that the electrical work and installations have been completed on the property, and that it is up to standard. This certificate is compulsory, and is valid for two years.
The electrical certificate covers the distribution boards, all wiring, as well as earthing and bonding of all metal components (antennae’s and satellite dishes). It will also cover the socket outlets, light switches and all isolators for fixed appliances.
The certificate does not cover any fixed appliances such as the geyser, stove, motors, fans, and under floor heating.
Homeowners, who’ve had electric fencing installed at the property, will require an additional Electrical Fence System Compliance Certificate.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 issued the Electrical Machinery Regulations of 2011 that places an obligation on the user of an electric fence system to have an electric fence system certificate of compliance. This requirement does not apply to a system that was installed prior to 1 October 2012.
This certificate is required where an addition or alteration to the system has been undertaken or where there is a change of ownership of the premises on which the system exists. The electric fence system must be certified by an approved installer, and the certification is valid for two years.
The Water Installation Certificate was made compulsory by the water by-law that was introduced in 2010 by the City of Cape Town. This means that this certificate is only compulsory to home owners in Cape Town and it must be issued every time the property is transferred.
This certificate ensures the following; that the hot water cylinder installation is up to standard, that the water meter registers when a tap is open and stops completely when no water is drawn, that no storm water is discharged into the sewerage system, and that there is no cross connection between the potable water supply and any grey water or groundwater system which may be installed.
However, this certificate does not cover the plumbing of wastewater, or any leaks on waste or sewer water or drainage, since this certificate is not a plumbing certificate.
Gas Compliance Certificate is also compulsory in terms of Regulation 17 (3) of the Pressure Equipment Regulations, which came into effect on 1 October 2009.
This certificate ensures the following; that gas components are in a safe, working condition, do not have any leaks, that the emergency shut off valves have been installed in the correct positions, that gas components are correctly positioned in relation to electrical points, and that outside cylinders are the required distance from doors, drains, windows and electrical appliances.
This certificate is valid for a period of five years and is only compulsory to homeowners who make use of gas equipment installed on the property, such as a gas stove.
Unlike the previous mentioned certificates there is no law that obligates a homeowner to provide the Beetle certificate. This certificate has become standard practice and is often a condition written into the sale agreement.
Many financial institutions refuse to provide bonds to buyers without this certificate. This certificate is mainly provided by home owners whose property is located in the coastal areas. Sectional title property owners, or property owners whose property is situated inland where beetle and woodborer problems are less common than in coastal areas, are not usually required to provide this certificate.
Once the property has been inspected for any visible signs of wood destroying insects and deemed to be free of any such insects, the Beetle Clearance Certificate is issued.
For more information on the importance of a certificate of compliance when buying or selling property, or any other matters related to property law in South Africa, contact our property lawyers in Cape Town.
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