2021 is shaping up to be a busy year for both property sales and home builders, thanks in no small measure to the pandemic-induced concept of “work from home, live anywhere”.
If you are one of the many landowners about to invite a team of contractors onto your property to build your new dream home, or holiday house, or perhaps a house-to-let on an investment property, remember to check for full compliance with the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act. It offers you, as the “housing consumer”, significant protection against dishonest contractors and faulty workmanship, plus access to its mediation services should any dispute arise. Your home is probably one of your more significant assets so it will be time well spent.
On the other side of the coin, any building contractor or property developer not complying with the Act risks both criminal prosecution (with a penalty of up to a R25,000 fine or a year’s jail time) and loss of all rights to claim payment from your client. You could, in other words, lose everything – as a recent High Court judgment shows…
High Court: Builder registration is not enough
For the builder, first step is registration with the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council), but a recent High Court decision confirms that there is also a vital second step – enrolment of the house itself. Note that the NHBRC certificate of enrolment must be issued before construction starts.
The facts were these –
Before you build…
NOTE FOR ATTORNEYS: The judgement in Rabe Bouers CC v Chaya (2328/2015)  ZALMPPHC 83 (30 October 2020) is on SAFLII.
See also the NHBRC’s “Why Register” webpage for more on the benefits of registration, obligations and penalties for failure to register.
The Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, Act 95 of 1998, is downloadable from the University of Pretoria’s “Laws of South Africa” website – find it under “Housing”. Section 10A covers exemption for owner builders.
There is a “Housing Consumer Protection Bill” in the pipeline – draft available here – which would if promulgated replace the current Act and extend cover to home additions, alterations, renovations and repairs wherever municipal plans are required.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)