Certificaters of Compliance

PLUMBING CERTIFICATE: A REQUIREMENT FOR PROPERTY TRANSFERS IN THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN:

The City of Cape Town recently passed a by-law in terms of which it is required that a plumbing certificate issued by an accredited plumber is emailed to Council prior to registration of transfer. The form of the certificate is prescribed in Schedule 4 of the By-Law.

An accredited plumber is a plumber that belongs to the Institute of Plumbing South Africa [IOPSA] A check can be done on IOPSA’s website to confirm whether a plumber or plumbing company is accredited with IOPSA. A certificate issued by a plumber or plumbing firm, not duly accredited, carries penalties for non-compliance.

Bearing this in mind, the City has indicated that they are not allowed to withhold rates clearances as a result ofnon-compliance with the requirement, the By-Law states in Section 64 thereof that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with its provisions [amongst other things] is guilty of an offence and is ,on conviction, liable for a fine or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both such fine and term of imprisonment.

Furthermore Section 12 stipulates that no person may use water from the water supply system unless an agreement referred to in Section 13 or 14 has been concluded [ie: through a metered water supply point specifically installed by the City for the supply of water] As Section 14 does not refer to any agreements, but merely to the production of the certificate during the transfer process, this could create a situation in future where the non-production of such a certificate may casue problems when a new owner applies for the opening of an account after transfer has taken place.

The By-Law does not address how long such a certificate remains valid or whether it can be transferrd from one registered owner to another. It can however be implied from the certificate itself that a new certificate needs to be obtained for each transfer, as it does not contain an expiry date and requires the details of the seller, the prhcaser and the property in each instance.

The certificate does not directly distinguish between Sectional Title units and Free Standing Erven. However, as a result of the fact that “Owner” [the person in whom, from time to time is vested the legal title to the premises] is defined in Section 1 to include the owner of a Section as defined in the Sectional Titles Act and the Developer of Body Corporate in respect of common property., it is safe to assume that it is applicable for transfers in both instances.

It is strongly suggested that Agents deal with this matter contractually to avoid any issues down the line or during the transfer process, by including a clause in the Agreement of Sale, if they operate in the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town.

Suggested clause:
If applicable, the seller shall, prior to transfer, at the seller’s cost and expense, submit a valid certificate of compliance as contemplated in section 14 of the City of Cape Town Water By-Law of 2010