A reader has approached the Property Poser panel about an occupation certificate, which stands between him and the dream home he has built.
The reader writes that the residence is nearing completion after four years. He tells us that the project was not financed via a mortgage bond and that he built only as and when he had cash reserves to do so.
The builder has now advised the reader that he needs a certificate of occupancy from the local municipality before the house can be formally occupied.
Thus far the reader has had no luck in obtaining any information regarding such a certificate and has requested some guidance as to how he can go about getting it.
According to Sean Radue of Radue Attorneys in Port Elizabeth, the abovementioned certificate is indeed a requirement in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.
“It indicates that all requirements have been met, that the house has been constructed in accordance with the provisions of the act and that it is ready for occupancy.”
Radue says it is really to safeguard the owner by ensuring that the residence has been inspected and can be safely occupied.
“The certificate specifies the type of building and is even required by the municipality before water and electricity deposits can be accepted for a newly built property.”
The requirements for obtaining such a certificate include approved building plans from the municipality, as well as a completion certificate from a registered structural or civil engineer for things such as the foundations, staircases and concrete slabs, says Radue.
“The reader would also need a certificate by the supplier of the roof trusses, an electrical certificate of compliance plus a fire certificate if flammable materials such as wood and thatch were used for the structure.”
Susan Chapman from Rawson Properties Platinum PE says the reader must also have a certificate of occupancy, along with a full set of approved plans or planning permission, before a property can be sold.
“A building without these documents in place cannot be properly insured, which could lead to huge losses in the event of a disaster that destroys or partially destroys the property.”
Chapman says the act provides that a certificate shall be issued by the local authority within 14 days of the owner of a completed building requesting it in writing.
“Similarly, if the local authority is not satisfied with the building, it may refuse to grant the certificate. A person other than the owner, someone who has an interest in the matter, may also make the application for the certificate of occupancy.”
Should the owner have valid reasons for using the building prior to the certificate of occupancy being granted, he could apply for consent to occupy the buildings, says Chapman.
“This consent may then be granted for a limited time and will be subject to extension and specific conditions.”
To ask a property related question, visit www.propertyposer.co.za.