Electrical Compliance Certificate

Owners of properties are required to obtain an Electrical Compliance Certificate when selling a property.  The cost of obtaining the certificate and paying for the costs of any repairs required is for the seller’s account unless the obligation is shifted to the purchaser by way of agreement.

This requirement is set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  In general, each ‘user’ or ‘lessor’ must have a valid electrical certificate. Although regulations refer to ‘user’/’lessor’ and not ‘owner’, the description of user/lessor necessarily incorporates the owner of the electrical installation who will also be the owner of the land.

It is to be noted that only registered electrical contractors may perform electrical work and issue the certificates.

In respect of property transfers, the regulations prescribe as follows:

  • It is obligatory to obtain an electrical certificate where ownership changes; and
  • Save where there is a valid certificate in place that is (1) not older than 2 years, and (2) there were no alterations to the installation since the issue of the current certificate, a new certificate is NOT required for purposes of transfer. The seller can then hand the current certificate to the purchaser.

Parties may nonetheless agree that a new certificate must be provided, even where the current certificate is less than 2 years old and no alterations or additions to the installation have taken place (which is often the case in many standard Offers to Purchase).

 

Electrical Fence Certificate

The Electrical Fence Certificate is governed by the Electrical Machinery Regulations in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure that the installation is safe.

The certificate is required if:

  • there is a change in ownership of a property after 1 October 2012 at which property there is an electric fence; or
  • there was no change of ownership but there has been an alteration or modification to an electric fence after 1 October 2012, even if it was installed before 1 October 2012.

The legislation does not mention the certificate being valid for a fixed period and once obtained it can be transferred from one owner to the next provided there were no alterations to the installation after the certificate was issued.

The OHSA does not specify regulations for electric fencing in respect of sectional title schemes or estates managed by home owners associations. However, it appears to be practical for HOAs or bodies corporate to have a certificate issued for the entire electric fence installation which can

 

Gas Compliance Certificate

Pressure Equipment Regulations were also promulgated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (effective October 2009), which brought gas appliances installed in properties more or less in line with electrical installations.

  • From 1 October 2009, it is required that any person installing a liquid gas appliance at a property must have a Certificate of Conformity issued in respect thereof.
  • The certificate may only be issued by an authorised person registered as such with the Liquified Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa (LPGAS), after he has inspected the installation and is satisfied that it is safe, and leak free.
  • Gas installations for which certificates of conformity are required would include built-in gas fires or braais, gas stoves, hot water systems and the like.
  • Furthermore, in terms of Regulation 17(3) of the Pressure Equipment Regulations, the law speaks of a certificate being required after any installation, alteration, modification or change of ownership of property which necessarily implies that a certificate would need to be in place or issued upon the transfer of a property.
  • The parties cannot contract out of it – it is required in respect of all properties where there is a gas installation, whether the owner lives there, rents out the property or whether it is vacant or stands empty for most of the year.
  • Unlike electrical certificates, there is no mention of how long the certificate is valid for once issued in the legislation although many standard offers to purchase will put a time frame on how old the certificate that is provided may be (usually two years).
  • Ordinarily in terms of the offers to purchase there will be an obligation placed on a seller to obtain the certificate prior to transfer for delivery to the purchaser after transfer. As with the other certificates, it is always better for the inspection and any remedial work to be carried out prior to the date of occupation by the purchaser and even earlier due to bank and bond requirements, as mentioned before.

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.