The requirement of gas and / or electricity certificates remains a contentious subject and has been debated over for many years. The Seller is usually responsible for providing an electrical certificate in terms of the stipulations in the sale Agreement between the parties.
In terms of Section 7(5) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1993, "the user or lessor may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate of compliance is older than 2 years". In such case, the Seller has to appoint a competent electrician to issue the certificate of compliance meeting the requirements of the regulations.
If any work is required to meet such requirements it would be for the account of the Seller. In the event of a sale or rental the "user" is not always the registered owner and therefore the person with whom the responsibility lies is unclear and an issue of contention.
Although the aforementioned may indicate a statutory responsibility for the issuing of an electrical certificate, it does not indicate that the Seller per se is liable for the costs incurred in obtaining such certificate.
This should be regulated by the Sale Agreement. A further requirement regarding the obtaining of a certificate of compliance with respect to a gas installation was published in 15 July 2009 by means of Government Gazette No 32395, Regulation 734, which requires that such certificate has to be issued by an authorized person confirming the conformity of the gas installation or modification, in the event of a change of ownership of the property.
The Regulation also fails to indicate who should bear the costs incurred in obtaining said certificate. It should therefore be regulated by the Sale Agreement. The fact remains that a purchaser cannot obtain finance without submitting a certificate of compliance, that is not older than 2 years. The same applies to gas installations.
Make sure then, that the electricity or gas installations comply with safety regulations before entering into a Sale Agreement. Also determine, by stating clearly in the Sale Agreement, who will be liable to obtain and pay for the necessary certificate as this will pave the way for a far smoother process of registration.