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Cape Town sellers get your plumbing certificates before #DayZero

water down drainCape Town homeowners who are considering selling their homes in the near future should ensure they get their plumbing certificates from the municipality before Day Zero arrives.

This is according to Craig Guthrie, specialist conveyancing attorney at Guthrie Colananni, who said, “According to the City of Cape Town Water By-law 2010, criminal liability will be imposed on any person who transfers property without first supplying a plumbing certificate to the City.

“It further stipulates that a certificate cannot be issued unless an accredited plumber has tested the water system to ensure that the installation complies, the meter works correctly, and that there is no cross connection between potable supply and any alternative supply.  However, the water installation cannot be checked without municipal supply so anyone considering selling their home in the near future should get a plumbing certificate without delay before water supply is interrupted.”

Guthrie said even with Day Zero approaching, he did not foresee the city providing sellers with exemptions as there was no discretion given to the city in the Water By-law to waive compliance with section 14.

“Even the proposed new amendments to the Water By-law that are receiving so much attention have not catered for exemptions,” he said, noting that he foresees disputes arising between buyers and sellers regarding the condition of the property, damage to water infrastructure and possibly misrepresentations made at the date of sale.

“When concluding sales during this time of supply uncertainty, both parties and the estate agents should carefully consider the implications,” said Guthrie. “For example, whether the seller will be obliged to deliver the property on transfer a few months later in the same condition it was at the date of signing the agreement of sale. By this time, the garden and pool could be in poor condition and may even be permanently damaged, the bathrooms are no longer able to fulfil their function and the geysers may have burnt out.

“In most sale agreements this risk stays with the seller until transfer and it may be very costly for the seller if the purchaser insists that the seller fill the pool, re-establish the garden or even render the bathrooms operational to bring the property back to the condition it was at the date of sale.”


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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