Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill

Has the Property Practitioners Bill missed the point?

consumers

Are consumers offered more protection?

Parliament passed the new Property Practitioners Bill on Tuesday 4th December 2018. This bill has been on the cards before 2011!

The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.

However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!

Here is that portion of the Bill:

CHAPTER 10

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Mandatory disclosure form

  1. A property practitioner –
    1. may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
    2. must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
  2. The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of a property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
  3. A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by an affected consumer.
  4. Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
  5. Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.

This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.

So what has changed? Continue reading “Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill”

Snag Inspection and Report

New Homeowners Should Have a Professional Snag Inspection

 

snag inspection

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Do you believe that you are protected by buying from a reputable developer or builder? Will you be able to identify all the snags without a professional snag inspection?

What buyers don’t realise is that other building contractors sub-contract to the developer or builder. Both the developer and builders are under pressure to complete the units or homes within a contractual timeframe. Often, the builders take shortcuts resulting in best building practices falling by the wayside.

In addition, most new homebuyers believe the NHBRC, bank and municipal building inspectors provide them with this sort of protection.

This is not the case!

Inspectors duties

Bank inspectors

Your bank inspector determines the market value of property, land, and improvements for the bank. Therefore, he is not concerned with the state of the property unless it affects the value of the property.

Municipal Building Inspectors

The municipal building inspector checks your building to ensure it complies with approved construction drawings, local bylaws and zoning regulations. In addition, he or she is also responsible for ensuring compliance with local and national building regulations.

Engineers

Structural engineers inspect and evaluate the structures of your home only. This is the foundations, slabs, walls and roof.  They are not concerned with the installations and finishes which make up more than half the value of your house.

NHBRC inspectors

NHBRC inspectors inspect all new homes to check that the builder is complying with the NHBRC requirements on site

The NHBRC Warranty Fund covers you against major and defined structural defects for up to five years. Enrolling your new home with the NHBRC is a statutory requirement. Theoretically, this affords you protection against contractors who deliver substandard design, workmanship and poor quality materials.

As a new homeowner, you have the right to instruct your developer or builder to rectify shoddy and defective work. This includes non-compliance or deviation from the terms, plans and specifications of your building agreement with him.

However, the required NHBRC inspections are seldom all done. Continue reading “Snag Inspection and Report”

Air Pollution in Your Home

Pollution Indoors

air pollution
Adequate ventilation and good air distribution are important.

In our cities, the air we breathe is not clean. Coal plants and factories belch out harmful CO2, trucks and cars spew filthy exhaust fumes. Many families in our cities rely on coal and wood fires for heating and cooking. On the outskirts of the city, cows and other farm animals add methane to the mix. Sometimes just looking out your window at all the pollution may be enough to make you stay indoors.

Staying indoors

The degradation of indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor pollution. Pollutants can build up more in the much smaller closed up area of your home. They may not be ventilated to the outside.

You may think indoor air pollution does not apply to you. In addition, you don’t live near a highway, farm or industrial plant.  You don’t smoke and you don’t use a wood-burning stove. However, the air you breathe may still be polluted.

Some very surprising sources cause indoor air pollution:

  • Your house itself.
  • The land on which your house is constructed.

Furthermore, we spend a large portion of our time indoors. Indoor pollution can then becomes a serious concern.

Side effects of air pollution

Some side effects of indoor pollution is maybe a little worse than the common cold. However, pollution can lead to coma, lung cancer and death if you are exposed over a long period. Continue reading “Air Pollution in Your Home”

Stormwater

Homes without Gutters 

stormwater

 

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If you are like many homeowners, you have probably wondered why some houses have no gutters to provide protection against stormwater. You may have wished your own home had none because of the cleaning and maintenance issues.

Gutters are not required by law on a sloping roof. Many modern homes have none, even in instances where they would benefit by having them. There are alternatives that architects sometimes prefer such as concrete paving around the perimeter of your house.

In order to decide for yourself whether rainwater gutters are necessary for your home, it is best to first learn what the building regulations require.

The Building Regulations do not require roof gutters and downpipes if another suitable means of drainage has been provided to remove or disperse rainwater from the roof away from your home.

However, the Building Regulations do require that any stormwater that flows from your roof or any area that is in the immediate vicinity of your home must not cause damage to the interior of the building, its structure or its structural elements. The regulations require steps to be taken to ensure that stormwater does not accumulate in a way that“unduly inconveniences” you as the occupant of your home.

Furthermore, the system used must:

    1. not undercut the foundations by erosion or flooding
    2. drain stormwater away from your home
    3. not allow stormwater to accumulate against or close to the external walls
    4. make provision for the drainage of any areas on the property where water pools
    5. be capable of being easily maintained and cleaned

Continue reading “Stormwater”

A Smelly Shower

Smells in your shower

shower

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Often what happens in a shower, while the tiler is tiling the floor, is that excess tile adhesive and grout is washed down the shower drain. As a result, some of this grout may be lodged somewhere in the drainage system causing a blockage.

The following may have happened:

  • Either the trap or drainage pipes were damaged during an attempt to unblock the drain.
  • Grout is lodged in the trap and drain pipes.
  • The stub stack vent valve may be below the level of the highest plumbing fixtures on the drainage system in the bathroom.  As a result, the lowest fixture, such as the shower P-trap water seal may be syphoned out of the shower trap.

Of course, a combination of all three may occur as well. Unless the shower trap or drain pipes are damaged, you should be able to handle the cleanup yourself.

Mould in the P-trap

If your shower drain smells musty, you most likely have active mould growing underneath the drain cover. But, if your drain smells like rotten eggs or sewage, you’re either smelling bacteria from a clogged or dirty drain or sewer gases that have escaped from your drainage pipes.

As part of their metabolic process, active mould spores release a gas that has a distinct musty smell. In addition, the gas can be dangerous. If inhaled, it can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Continue reading “A Smelly Shower”