The importance of Building Plans when selling your house.

The intent of The National Building Regulation and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977 is for the promotion of uniformity in the law relating to the erection of buildings in the areas of jurisdiction of local authorities. 

The Act stipulates that all improvements on the immovable property require plans to be drawn in a particular manner & approved by Local Authority. 

It further stipulates that a home owner must have updated and approved building plans for his house.

Any property with buildings/structures erected without municipal approval is considered as a property with a latent defect.

The Voetstoots clause normally covers latent defects and a Seller will not automatically attract liability if he sells a property with unauthorized building works.

If a Seller is aware of unauthorized improvements and deliberately does not disclose this fact, then the Seller cannot hide behind the Voetstoots clause. The Seller must deliver approved building plans when he is called upon to do so.

In other words, if the Seller was not aware of the building plans not being up to date and approved, then he can evoke the protection of the Voetstoots clause and the Purchaser cannot demand updated and approved building plans to be delivered at the Seller’s costs.

However, if there is a clause or condition in the Offer to Purchase (OTP) whereby the Seller warrants that he is in possession of updated and approved building plans, the Seller will then contractually be obliged to deliver such plans prior to registration.

Our advice will be to peruse the OTP carefully to see whether the delivery of building plans is a contractual obligation.  If not, check the Mandatory Disclosure Form (MDF) to see whether it has been disclosed whether there are building plans.    With the new Property Practitioners Act, the Property Practitioner or Estate Agent has to attach a MDF to the contract.