Compliance certificates required when selling a property

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There is a duty on the Seller when selling an immovable property to provide certain certificates of compliance to the Purchaser.

There are five compliance certificates that the Seller is required to obtain at his/her own cost before the transfer of the property takes place. The following are the necessary certificates:

Electrical Compliance Certificate

The Electrical Installation Regulations under Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, sets out the requirements for obtaining a valid electrical compliance certificate.

Regulation 7 (1) states that “every user or lessor of an electrical installation, as the case may be, shall have a valid certificate of compliance for that installation”.

Regulation 9(1) states “no person other than a registered person may issue a certificate of compliance”. The registered person may only issue the certificate of compliance after completing an inspection and a test. The test report must accompany the certificate of compliance.

The certificate of compliance may not be older than 2 years. Hence, when the Seller is selling and has a certificate older than 2 years in his/her possession, he/she is obliged to obtain a new certificate to hand over to the Purchaser.

In terms of Regulation 15, it is an offence should a person fail to comply. The penalty is a fine or imprisonment should the person be found guilty of the contravention.

Electrical Fence Certificate

As of the 1st of October 2012, the issuance of an Electrical Fence Compliance Certificate came into effect. This certificate is to be issued in terms of Regulation 12(4) of the Electrical Machinery Regulations, under the OHS ACT of 1993.

All property owners that have an electrical fence must, in terms of this Regulation, obtain a compliance certificate when selling their property and only a registered Electric Fence System Installer can issue a property owner with the certificate of compliance.

The Electrical Fence certificate is valid for up to 2 years from the date of issue.

It must be noted that should the Seller have an electric fence, the Electrical Compliance Certificate discussed above will not include the electrical fence, as it will have its own certificate of compliance.

Water Compliance Certificate

In 2011, the City of Cape Town introduced a local water by-law.

In terms of Section 14 of the Water By-Law, “the Seller must, before transfer of a property, submit a certificate of compliance from an accredited plumber certifying that:

  1. The water installation conforms to the National Building Regulations and this By-Law
  2. There are no defects
  3. The water meter registers
  4. There is no discharge of stormwater into the sewer system”

A qualified, registered plumber may issue the certificate of compliance and this certificate must be issued every time the property is transferred.

The water installation certificate of compliance is not a plumbing certificate as it is limited to the By-Law and is not as comprehensive as a plumbing certificate.

Beetle-Free Certificate

This compliance certificate is not a requirement by law but has become a practice in the sale of property, particularly in coastal provinces, where the wood borer beetle is commonly found.

Between the 1940s and 1960s, there was an infestation of the beetle, which compromised the structural integrity of buildings and homes, thus the beetle compliance certificate was introduced to protect the Purchaser. The financial institutions that grant the home loan bond insist on this compliance certificate to protect their asset.

The beetle certificate is valid for up to three months from the date of issue. It should be noted that a beetle compliance certificate is not a pest control certificate.

Gas Certificate

As of the 1st of October 2009, Regulation 17(3) of the Pressure Equipment under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, came into effect.

This Regulation states that “an authorised person or an approved inspection authority shall issue Certificate of Conformity after completion of a gas installation, modification, alteration or change of user”.

The Certificate of Conformity will be issued by the South African Qualification and Certification Committee Gas, and a registered gas practitioner for the installation, repair, modification, or maintenance.

The nominated Conveyancer attending to the transfer of the property will ensure that the Seller obtains the above-mentioned certificates. The Purchaser should request the original certificates for their records and must scrutinise these certificates to ensure that an accredited service provider provided the certificates and that the certificates are valid according to the Regulations.

The Purchaser should further ensure that the Seller has complied with all the required certificates by inspecting the property to ensure that for example, should there be a gas appliance, a gas certificate is obtained. These certificates afford comfort to the Purchaser that the property he/she is purchasing conforms to Building Standard norms and regulations set.

Reference List:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 1993, Electrical Installation Regulations
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 1993, Electrical Machinery Regulations
  • City of Cape Town, Water By-Law, 2010, Promulgated 18 February 2011
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 1993, Pressure Equipment Regulations


While every reasonable effort is taken to ensure the accuracy and soundness of the contents of this publication, neither writers of articles nor the publisher will bear any responsibility for the consequences of any actions based on information or recommendations contained herein.  Our material is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

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