Article by listed Attorney: Nanika Prinsloo
There are several certificates that a Seller must provide a Purchaser when a property is sold. This article will deal only with the electric fence certificate that is required, as it is a new development in the world of delivering certificates. See here for a list of all certificates required from residential property sellers in SA
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 regulates the safety of electric fences. In terms of Regulation 12 of the Electrical Machinery Regulations of 2011, there is an obligation on the user of an electric fence to have an electric fence system certificate of compliance. This certificate is only required for electric fences that were installed after 1 October 2012. If there is an existing fence however that was erected before 1 October 2012, and any changes were made to the fence, or if the property on which the fence is erected is sold, then a new certificate of compliance for the electric fence is required.
This certificate has nothing to do with the electrical certificate that is mentioned in our article that we refer to at the beginning of this article. The person who issues the certificate must be qualified to work with electric fences and you will most probably find that your local electrician does not issue certificates for electric fences.
Of course, there must be a written sale agreement with all property transactions and if there is an agreement, both parties must be protected and a clause with regards to the electric fence certificate of compliance must be put in the agreement. It will say who will obtain the certificate (usually the seller) and who will be liable for any repairs that the fence may need (also usually the seller).
Once the certificate for the electric fence system was obtained, it is not necessary to supply a new one when the property is sold. When there have been changes to the system after the initial certificate was issued, a new certificate must be obtained. In the case of electrical certificates for the electrical installations of the property, the certificate cannot be older than 2 years, but with certificates for electric fences, the first time if sufficient if there are no changes.
There is no obligation on the seller to provide the certificate and if the parties cannot agree about it, the purchaser will have to pay for and obtain the certificate if he insists on it.
It is always better for the seller to obtain a certificate of compliance for the electric fence certificate. It is so much better to hand over a property full knowing that you as the seller have covered for latent and patent defects. It is not advisable or enjoyable to have a property transaction that turns ugly. It is much cheaper to get the certificate and hand it to the purchaser, than it is to refuse only to find out that you sit with a disgruntled purchaser and a possible cancellation and lots of legal fees in the litigation that follows.
This article written by Nanika Prinsloo of Prinsloo & Associates Attorneys and Conveyancers.