Agreements of sale may provide for up to five different types of compliance certificates to be obtained by the seller at his expense. These certificates must be provided to the conveyancer before the property transfer can be registered. Here is an explanation on the five possible certificates:


Electrical compliance

This certificate certifies that the electrical installation on the property complies with the required safety standards governed by the occupational health and safety Act. Often remedial work is required which may take some time, so it’s best to start with this one as soon as possible. The certificate is valid for two years unless alterations are made prior to the expiration date. This certificate cannot be contracted out or waived.


Electric fence

This certificate confirms that the electric fence installation complies with the required safety standards in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. An existing certificate may be transferred by the seller to the purchaser. A seller only needs to provide a new certificate to the purchaser if a change was made to the installation after the current certificate was issued. In a sectional title property transfer, the certificate is held by the body corporate and not the unit owner. The parties cannot contract out of or agree to waive this certificate.


Beetle certificates

The accessible wood of permanent structures on the property are to be inspected and the inspector certifies that it does not contain any wood destroying beetles. The validity of this certificate is usually for a period of 3 to 6 months. This certificate is not governed by any specific law, but has become common practise upon change of ownership of property. If the parties agree that no certificate is necessary, but the bank requires it for the purchaser’s bond, then this certificate is for the purchaser’s expense.



Gas certificates

This certifies that the gas installation on the property complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and requires safety standards. A certificate must be obtained on installation. If any changes or amendments are made to the installation, a new certificate must be obtained. The parties cannot contract out of or agree to waive this certificate.



Plumbing certificates

These are currently only applicable to transfers within the municipal jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town. It certifies that the water installation at the property is in line with the City of Cape Town Water By-laws. A new certificate must be obtained upon every change of ownership and a copy of the certificate is to be supplied to the COCT. The parties cannot contract out of this or agree to waive this certificate.

It is important to note that the plumbing certificate does not in itself confirm that all plumbing works are in a perfect condition!

What does the plumbing certificate confirm?

That the water installation conforms to the national building regulations;

The property’s water meter is in working order;

There are no defects that can cause water to run to waste; and

No rainwater leaks into the sewerage system


It is always recommended that sellers do their inspections at the listing stage and then they will know what they are in for in terms of repairs. In addition, although it is usually required that the seller should provide the purchaser with the certificate by no later than the date of transfer, it is best that the inspection and remedial work is at least done before occupation by the purchaser and better still even earlier, as most banks now request a copy for purposes of clearance of the bond for lodgement.