Certificates of compliance

Compliance is an important part of the property selling process. Don’t delay getting your compliance certificate if you plan to sell. This is why it matters.

If you are selling your home, you should get the electrical, plumbing, gas, electric fence and borer beetle compliance certificates ready before entering into any sales agreement.

Many homeowners live comfortably for many years while being non-compliant. For example, you may have grown accustomed to using long electrical extension cords and ignoring rusty or leaking water pipes.

Before your property can be transferred from your name to the new owner, all these defects must be put right so that certificates of compliance (CoCs) can be issued. It is usually a mistake to go ahead with the sale and then try to get these certificates in the few days or weeks before you move out.

Depending on the amount of work that needs to be carried out, getting the CoCs can take a long time. You may also have to pay out far more cash than you initially budgeted to rectify faulty installations.

You should be aware that certificates of compliance older than two years are not valid for the transfer of properties. This means that if the CoCs issued when you bought your property are more than two years old, you would need to obtain new certificates before the transfer can take place.


There is a misconception that certificates of compliance guarantee that your taps are not leaking and your gas and electrical appliances are in working order.

  • Plumbing CoCs, for example, don’t cover everyday plumbing problems like cracked toilets or faulty shower heads, drainpipe leaks or dampness caused by a lack of grouting. Therefore, it is not legally necessary that these types of issues be rectified before a sale takes place.

However, the plumbing CoC will ensure that the swimming pool and any other water are channelled into the stormwater and not the sewerage networks. This is because the main objective is to conserve water and ensure that only the water that needs to enter the municipal sewerage system does so. Incorrect disposal of grey, swimming pool and other wastewater into general sewerage systems are often responsible for overloading these systems, resulting in breakdowns.

  • When issuing beetle CoCs, beetle inspectors are expected only to identify the two most harmful beetle species. However, if other types of beetle are in the floorboards or roof trusses, they may still issue a beetle CoC.
  • Before applying for an electrical CoC, it may be worth first replacing all broken bulbs that may cause an electrical surge.
  • Electrical fence CoCs are separate from the general electrical CoC and must be issued by a technician accredited by the Department of Labour.
  • Before applying for a gas CoC, a tip worth knowing is to check the size of your cylinders. If you have more than 48 kg of gas stored on your property, the gas technician will not be able to issue the necessary CoC.

All CoCs need to be provided to the conveyancing attorney, and buyers are entitled to ask for copies of them. This is to ensure that if the buyers have problems with any of the installations requiring CoCs on moving in, they can contact the person who issued the certificate, who will be responsible for rectifying the problem. Furthermore, if the buyers go to a different contractor for a solution, they can expect to pay for the service, and the certificate issuer’s obligation will automatically fall away.

Keep in mind that a transfer cannot take place without all the necessary certificates. If the CoC process falls through for some reason, the sale will fall through.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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