compliance certificates

Compliance certificates – (Unknown costs and a grudge purchase for sellers)

The matter of compliance certificates (COC) can from time to time be a contentious issue leaving a bad taste in the Sellers mouth.

Beetle, electrical, plumbing, electrified fencing and gas (if applicable) certificates of compliance are a prerequisite in most sales agreements.

Unless otherwise agreed, it is the seller’s responsibility to arrange and pay for the respective inspections plus the associated repair work in order to have the property comply with the regulations set out by the municipality. It is up to the seller to decide who he/she wishes to call in to do the inspections. Some opt for individual contractors and others for the convenience of the larger firms, which can manage all inspections and
repair work under one umbrella.

In most cases sellers go ahead with the sale and once conditions like bond approval etc have been met they then attend to the inspections. While this is fine, sometimes sellers are shocked to see that the inspection report reveals far more work and far greater costs than expected. The electricity is usually the biggest culprit! Older homes can attract greater expenses, but some times even new builds can be affected due to ever changing regulations or poor workmanship.

To avoid surprises there is always the option of the seller going ahead with the inspections before listing the property on the market. Remember, one need not proceed with the actual work, but being armed with the reports and quotes can be helpful in assessing ones financial position in advance.

Also to remember is that most contractors are prepared to wait until transfer for their money i.e. the seller can go ahead with the compliance work and settle the contractor from the proceeds of the sale. The transferring attorney usually manages this on the seller’s behalf.

In cases where a seller has only owned the property for a short time and feels aggrieved by a high quote it would be advisable to go back to the company that did the previous compliance work to establish if the law has since changed or if indeed their workmanship and/or material used was at
that point compliant.

Points to remember:

  • The seller is legally obligated to arrange for the compliance certificates
  • Beetle is not a “legal” prerequisite, but is usually required by the financial institutions
  • As a seller, having a copy of the past COC might be handy. These can be obtained from the transferring attorneys who attended to the sale previously
  • It can be prudent to do the inspections prior to going to market
  • The seller need not proceed with the work until a later point once the sale is complete
  • Some certificates (like beetle) have a shelf life so beware of doing it too soon
  • It’s the sellers prerogative as to their choice of contractor
  • Inspections should be thorough and are not for free like a regular quote
  • Second opinions are likely to be considered as inspections and will attract fees
  • Reports and quotes are frequently not released until inspection fees have been settled
  • In most cases you can opt to pay the company later i.e. from the proceeds of the sale
  • Regulations change and therefore so do the compliance prerequisites
  • Even recently bought and re-sold properties can attracted costs
  • Short cuts can be costly and attract come backs

Here are links to some of the bigger firms used by many estate agencies:
Bugs and Sparks –
Inspecto –

For an example of the terms and conditions for one of the firms as well as their detailed check list of what is required to be compliant, click here.

For further advice on this matter or for you additional property needs please don’t hesitate to contact us. Valuations are free of charge and remember our services extend from Rondebosch, Claremont, Harfield, Kenilworth and Plumstead to Tokai.

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