First-time seller – Six compliance certificates you’ll need before listing
Putting a home up for sale is daunting enough without even considering all the things you need to do before taking those first few steps of finding an agent and actually listing your home.
As Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa points out, there is a number of compliance certificates that need to be in order before you even contact an agent or list a property on one of the portals.
Having these six compliance certificates in place at the start of your journey won’t guarantee smooth sailing as you enter the market, but it will take a lot of the hassle out of the process down the line.
Electrical Certificate of Compliance
An Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECOC) verifies that the electrical work and installation on the property are up to standard and in accordance with regulations as required by the national standards. An ECOC is valid for two years.
The inspection done to receive your ECOC will cover the distribution boards, all wiring as well as earthing and bonding of all metal components, which include antennaes and satellite dishes. It will also cover the socket outlets, light switches and all isolators for fixed appliances. However, an electrical certificate will not cover any fixed appliances such as the geyser, stove, motors, fans or underfloor heating.
Once you have found an electrical contractor it is within your right to ask for proof membership of ECA – SA (Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa). An employer’s organisation, seen as the voice of the industry, who provides a workmanship guarantee scheme, this should aid in increasing your peace of mind, knowing that the ECOC you have in place has been issued based on sound practice.
Gas Certificate of Compliance
On 1 October 2009, Regulation 17 (3) of the Pressure Equipment Regulations (OHS ACT of 1993) came into effect, which states that if a liquid gas appliance has been installed on the property, a Gas Certificate of Conformity is to be issued when there is a change of ownership. This certificate is valid for five years and must be issued by an authorised person who is registered with the Liquified Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa (LPGAS).
The gas certificate ensures that gas components are in a safe, working condition and are leak free. It also certifies that the emergency shut-off valves have been installed in the correct positions. For the gas components to pass inspection, they must be correctly positioned in relation to electrical points, and outside cylinders must be the required distance from doors, drains, windows and electrical appliances.
Electric Fence Certificate of Compliance
The Electrical Fence Certificate of Compliance (EFCC) is a separate certificate that is required in addition to the ECOC. This certificate is required for any property with an electric fence, and states that the installation of the fence complies with safety standards. Although the certificate is transferrable between owners a new inspection and certification is required should the fence have undergone any addition or alteration.
Remember: Should you want to sell your sectional title unit you should not be required to show an individual certificate; the body corporate is seen as the ‘owner’ of the electric fence and should be in possession of a valid EFCC. Enquire about this, even if you are not thinking of selling.
Only qualified contractors registered with the SA Electrical Fence Installers Association (SAEFIA) are legally permitted to erect, repair and certify electric fences.
Water Installation Certificate
The requirement for a Water Installation Certificate before a transfer will take place is an area-specific by-law that applies to properties sold within Cape Town or areas where the City of Cape Town holds jurisdiction.
The by-law was introduced by the City of Cape Town in February 2011, the intent of this law is to limit water wastage as much as possible. Every time a new owner is registered for a property a new Water Installation Certificate must be issued. A positive “side-effect” of the by-law is the fact that buyers are protected from latent defect claims and high water bill due to leakages.
It is important to remember that a Plumbing Certificate and a Water Installation Certificate differ; the Water Installation Certificate does not cover all aspects of plumbing.
As a homeowner or seller you need to enlist the services of a qualified plumber who is accredited in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority. The inspection will involve the plumber certifying that the hot water cylinder complies with SANS 10252 and 10254, that the water meter registers, that there are no water leaks, that water pipes and terminal fittings are correctly fixed in position, that no stormwater is discharged into the sewerage system, and that there is no cross connection between the potable supply and any grey water or groundwater system which may be installed.
Once you have the compliance certificate in hand it should be submitted to CertificateOfCompliance@capetown.gov.za.
Beetle Infestation Clearance Certificate
Although it is not a mandatory requirement, it has become standard practice that a seller provides the buyer with a Beetle Clearance Certificate. In fact, in many coastal areas this certificate has become a written condition in the sales agreement.
Banks and insurance companies will request a certificate on transfer if the home is situated in an area known to be infested. However, Beetle Clearance Certificates are usually not required for sectional title properties, or where the property is situated inland where beetle/woodborer problems are less common than in coastal areas.
The Beetle Clearance Certificate is only issued once the property has been inspected for any visible signs of wood destroying insects and deemed to be free of any such insects. To ensure you are making use of a suitably qualified inspector consult the South African Pest Control Association (SAPCA) website, where a register of all pest control service providers is kept.
The certificate is valid for between three and six months.
Declaration regarding Invasive Species
In terms of Section 29(3) of the Alien and Invasive Species regulations of 2014 the seller has to notify the purchaser in writing, prior to conclusion of the sale of agreement, of the presence of any of the listed invasive species on the property. The list can be viewed on the Invasive Species of South Africa’s (ISSA) website.