A while back a client asked me to inspect his thatch lapa which appeared to have serious defects. He had moved into his new home in February 2018. He later realised that his lapa may be structurally unsound and unsafe.
The defects were not noted in the seller’s disclosure nor was the lapa on the approved plans for the property! Armed with my inspection report he decided to approach the seller to demand recompense.
Many homeowners know very little about the lapas they have around their swimming pools and in their gardens!
The thatched roof
Obviously, the thatched roof is the most important part of the lapa because it keeps you dry! But did you know that thatch roofs should have a roof slope of 45˚ or more to perform properly?
At 45° water will run off from the thatch with minimum penetration into the thatch. At a pitch of less than 45° the thatch will decay rapidly. Furthermore, the thatch will absorb the water increasing the weight on the support structure!
What about the thickness of the thatch?
This is where many lapas have shortcomings! Well compacted thatch should be at least 175mm thick! Also, the thatch thickness should not be more than 250mm! Individual stalks of grass are difficult to pull out in well-compacted thatch.
Selling a home is not a simple process. Usually, months will pass before the transaction is complete. To expedite the process it is best to deal with the details such as compliance certificates as early as possible, lest these turn into stumbling blocks.
Begin the compliance process early, especially for older homes. Repair faults, e.g. worn wiring, tripping circuit breakers, faulty wall plugs etc.
Your home should look its best when you put it on the market. Therefore, a lick of paint and a tidy garden are important. But, the required Certificates of Compliance (COCs) are even more important. These include the latest approved drawings for the house and an occupation certificate. If you don’t have either you might be able to get both from your local municipal inspectorate.
For extensions or alterations made to the home ensure you have an occupation certificate issued to you by the municipality. The occupation certificate certifies that the alterations conform to the national building regulations and municipal bylaws.
Don’t cause delays
Only the transfer of legally compliant property can be done. This means that the transferring attorney must have all the relevant Certificates of Compliancebefore the transfer can take place.
The new legislation requires agas certificate and electric fence certificate (where applicable), in addition to the electrical certificate of compliance. The Cape Town Municipality requires plumbing and water certificates. A beetle certificate is required in older houses mostly in coastal areas.
Some banks and insurance companies require a geyser compliance certificate. This may be part of the requirements by the bank for payment of the buyer’s bond is made.
Each of these usually cost between R1000 and R1500 if nothing needs to be repaired or fixed. Normally it takes only a few days to get these if all is in order.
You may have to have repairs done to ensure that these certificates can be issued. If you do not do this in a timely manner the transfer will be delayed.
Compliance before you list
It is imperative that you start the compliance process before you put your home on the market. Be aware that all banks require certificates of compliance; They will not pay out the buyer’s bond without them. They are also required for the transfer of ownership to take place
It is incumbent on the seller to ensure that the Occupancy Certificates and the council approved plans are current.
In older homes, the electrical system may fall into disrepair (worn wiring, eroded conductors, faulty wall plugs etc.). By doing repairs yourself, or utilizing unskilled contractors is not the answer. This may result in an unsafe installation.
Regular maintenance is a lot cheaper than remedial work. The cost difference can easily be in the thousands of Rands.