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Water Certificates: A new Transfer requirement

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A new by-law published by the City of Cape Town (section 14 of 2010) now requires the Seller in a property sale transaction to submit a water certificate to the City before transfer of a property in order to obtain rates clearance.  The date of implementation is still uncertain.

This “water certificate” is similar to the electrical and gas certificates already required and basically requires an accredited plumber to certify that:

  • the water installation conforms to the National Building Regulations
  • there are no defects
  • the water meter registered
  • there is no discharge of storm water into the sewerage system

This however does not mean that the Seller is obliged to carry the costs of having such certificate issued and is a matter that can be negotiated between the Seller and the Purchaser.

It remains to be seen what impact this new requirement will have on the transfer process, but the general feeling in the conveyancing world is that it will not be a positive one. The definition of the term “water installation” and its required conformity to the National Building Regulations will no doubt create countless problems for Sellers trying to sell their property, this biggest being a financial burden when it comes to costs.

It is therefore strongly advise that any potential Seller takes this new requirement very seriously and consult with their attorney before entering into any potential sale agreements.