THE HOME DETECTIVE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3
Its been a tough time for everybody including home buyers, home sellers, estate agents and home inspectors as well! The good news is that with the COVID-19 Lockdown level 3, THE HOME DETECTIVE is open for business. So! Don’t delay, contact me today for a Free Quote for your home inspection. I am still providing the best inspections at the best prices in Gauteng!
Questions aboutBuilding Work, Building Plans and Building Lines
Hardly a day goes by without questions from disgruntled homeowners relating to issues with discrepancies with house plans and building work. When I’m inspecting, I often find discrepancies between the approved plans and the built structure.
If you are selling your house, and don’t have municipal approved plans or necessary permissions, you could be in trouble. If you are buying a house, and don’t ask for approved plans or permissions, you might have very expensive problems.
Homeowners can also be in trouble with the municipality for the erection of illegal structures. Some municipalities have aerial photographs of suburbs taken every four years to check if alterations have been made to homes. In addition to this, municipalities assign building inspectors to monitor developments on the ground.
Legal Implications of Selling a House Without Approved Plans
The law requires all major building work to have plans drawn up and approved by the local authority. Therefore, it stands to reason that every house should have plans. But this is not always the case! A lack of approved building plans is a major problem for many people buying and selling houses and other buildings.
Sometimes people only discover that there are no plans years after they have bought a property. This comes to light either because they eventually want to do alterations, or because they want to sell. Buyers often find that a house they are buying does not have plans. They then want to know whose responsibility it is to have plans drawn up retrospectively (“as-built”).
It can become quite a complex legal matter if alterations and additions have been carried out on a property without municipal (local authority) approval.
Are Building Plans and Building Approval Always Required for Houses?
The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act specify the need for building plans and approval. More specifically, it is the local authority that governs exactly what can be done in terms of its zoning regulations and the National Building Regulations. So it is they that give approval (or deny it) for all building work and renovations on all properties. However, most municipalities are more lenient when it comes to minor building work.
The Act states that the municipality may grant relaxation in the case where the approval of plans requires the necessity of relaxation. However, you will have to apply for relaxation in writing and receive approval in writing.
If your property is within an estate or townhouse or cluster complex, you will also need to get a copy of the Estate Guidelines from the Aesthetics Committee, Body Corporate, Residents Associations etc.! Usually, there is normally a list of requirements that ensure aesthetic harmony and good building practice within the estate or complex. Furthermore, you will need your plans stamped and a letter from the Body Corporate for Council indicating that they are happy with your planned building.
How the Issue of “Voetstoots” Affects Building Approval and Plans
The purchase agreement made between buyers and sellers of the property will include a voetstoots clause. Essentially this clause indicates that the purchaser accepts the risk relating to defects existing at the time of the sale, patent or latent (but not visible). The exceptions to this clause are instances where the seller deliberately and fraudulently conceals latent defects from the purchaser, that he or she was aware of at the time. In this instance, the seller will remain liable for these defects. But of course, the purchaser will have to provide evidence that the seller knew what was wrong.
Home inspections are not regarded as an essential service during the Coronavirus Lockdown. Therefore, I will only be available after the isolation period for inspections.
However, I am still available for your queries and question concerning inspections between 7 am and 5 pm daily.
Please go to my Contact Page if you want to contact me. I will either reply with an email or I will phone you.
In the meantime, while you are waiting for the end of the isolation period, feel free to go to my website and blog if you are looking for useful and interesting posts and pages concerning you and you home.
Wise sellers have their property Move In Certified!
You will probably be selling your house with the “Voetstoots Clause” in the Offer to Purchase. But, if you think you are fully protected against any comebacks for latent defects you are wrong!
Under the law, you have a duty to disclose the defects on the property that you are aware of. Your agent may also point out defects that need to be corrected.
If you don’t disclose those defects you may be liable to pay for the correction of the defects after the property has been sold.
As a home seller, you should have your home “Move-in Certified”! Move-in certified homes sell better, faster and for higher prices!
Besides being a great marketing tool, the seller’s home inspection report is also the “Seller’s Disclosure”. This safeguards you against any later legal action that the buyer may want to bring against you for both latent and patent defects!
Do the wise thing, have your home inspected before you sell it!
A Critical Home Inspection and report include the really important parts of the home! It is a “Safe Home” inspection.
With a Critical Inspection, I focus and report on the critical components of a home which are the roof, structure (inside and outside), windows and doors, and electricity and plumbing installations.
This inspection is an ideal inspection for both home buyers and sellers! The inspection is for those clients who do not require the full Buyers or Sellers Home Inspection.
Therefore, a Critical Inspection is ideal if you only require inspection of the major components of the home. Besides, a Critical Home Inspection is more affordable! My fee for a Critical Home Inspection report is about ¾ of that for the Home Buyers or Sellers Inspection.
A Critical Inspection includes
A Critical Inspection includes issues which are frequently NOT plainly obvious to any observant layman.
These include structural cracks in walls, ceilings and floors. Issues such as all damp, roof leaks, illegal or unsafe geysers, windows and door issues. However, I only inspect the internal wall, floor and ceiling finish for signs of damp or staining from moisture intrusion.
Unsafe electrical and gas installations are also part of the inspection. This means stoves and other built-in appliances are included in your report. In addition, I also report surface drainage, vegetation and foliage issues which may affect the structure and roof adversely.
A Critical Inspection includes unsafe, functional or structural issues which, in my opinion, requires prompt remedial attention. Furthermore, remedial action is required to preserve the safety, functional or structural integrity of the home or major installation.
It does not include
Other external elements such as boundary and yard walls, the site, swimming pools, driveways, wall, ceiling and floor finishes, walkways, garden sheds etc. do not form part of the critical inspection. I only inspect BIC’s, sink and kitchen cupboards and counters for moisture intrusion.