Beetle free certificates

There are a number of compliance certificates that a seller is required to submit to confirm that the property is in good condition, prior to concluding a sale. Some of these certificates are only required under specific circumstances, for example the borer beetle certificate.

February 2, 2019

While not a legal requirement, a beetle certificate is often required in terms of the Offer to Purchase (OTP) in the coastal regions of South African, where the woodborer beetle can commonly be found.

In some cases, even where an OTP does not specifically require a beetle certificate, the financial institution financing the property purchase may require one in order to better protect their investment.

The purpose of a beetle certificate

The requirement of a beetle certificate became customary in coastal regions after these insects infested properties in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, resulting in significant damage.

The woodborer beetle can severely affect the structural integrity of a building, although this damage is not always immediately visible. As such, this form of compliance certificate was implemented to protect buyers and give them peace of mind when purchasing a new property.

However, a beetle certificate is not a pest control certificate. The beetles covered in terms of the certificate will differ from area to area, and the OTP will stipulate which beetles should be covered by the required certificate.

For example, the beetles typically covered by a beetle certificate in Cape Town are:

  • Anobium Punctatium (commonly known as the furniture beetle)
  • Hylotrupes Bajules
  • Oxyplerus Nodieri

Seller liability

A seller is legally obligated to inform a potential buyer of a beetle infestation if he or she is aware of one. This includes in situations where the OTP doesn’t specifically stipulate that a beetle certificate is required. The voetstoots clause will not alter this, and a seller who willfully neglects to disclose this information will be severely penalised.

Written by Wessel de Kock

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