Building plans and compliances

get your home in order before selling

Ensuring that your property is fully compliant both in terms of the building regulations as well as aspects such as electrical and water installations cannot be overemphasized when it comes to selling.

For older properties especially, property owners should undertake the necessary repairs upfront and check with their local council that the building plans are lodged. Shortfalls and non-compliance can result in costly and unnecessary delays in the transfer of a property, says Seeff Property Group.

The importance of up-to-date building plans is further enhanced by the SPLUMA Act (Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) which requires that a “SPLUMA Certificate” may now be needed in certain areas for property transfers.

The certificate confirms that the particular property complies with the required local bylaws. This includes zoning and use of the property and that approved building plans are in place with the local council for all building works on the property.

Where required, the particular certificate is obtained by the Conveyancing Attorneys and lodged with the rest of the lodging documents in the Deeds Office to enable the transfer of ownership.

If there are shortcomings and the plans are not compliant, Seeff recommends that the sellers take timeous action to get those plans done by a qualified architect or draughtsman and lodged with the local council.

Sellers should also ensure that all outstanding property taxes, as well as other taxes and municipal utilities, are paid up to date to avoid unnecessary delays in the transfer process.

Certificates of Compliance relating to electrical, gas, and water installation and sometimes also a Beetle Certificate can also cause a delay. The seller is responsible for the costs of providing these unless otherwise agreed in the sale agreement. In some instances, these certificates are also required by the banks where a mortgage loan is part of the process.

Seeff recommends that sellers get inspections and repairs done upfront, or at least as soon as the property is listed to avoid any potential delays in the transfer of the property.

Take care though to ensure the certificate is valid for long enough so as not to cause any further delays. For example, while an Electrical Certificate is valid for two years, certificates for water, an electric fence, and a beetle certificate are only valid for six months. A gas certificate is needed for each transfer.

According to the Conveyancing and Property Law team at Abrahams & Gross, electrical certificates are regulated by the Electrical Installation Regulations. The Regulations provide that every user or lessor of an electrical installation must have a valid certificate. When a property is sold, the owner must provide the buyer with an electrical certificate that is not older than two years.

These certificates are always required before lodgement in the Deeds Office. “Some of the banks have experts who will scrutinize Certificate of Compliance before they allow bank guarantees to be issued,” says Conveyancing Attorney Denoon Sampson, Denoon Sampson Ndlovu Inc.

“It is therefore vitally important to avoid invalid Certificates because inevitably, the purchaser and/or his prospective home loan bank will detect an invalid or bogus certificate. In such instances, costly delays will be incurred, because the buyer will request a second electrician to query and dispute the first certificate.”

Article courtesy of property24