IS A BEETLE CERTIFICATE REQUIRED BY LAW?
No, there is no law that obligates a seller to provide a Beetle Free Certificate.
THEN WHY ARE PROPERTIES BEING INSPECTED FOR BEETLE WHEN THEY ARE SOLD?
From 1940’s to 1960’s wood destroying insects were infesting Properties on an epidemic scale. In some instances, the infestations were so severe that roof structures were on the verge of collapse. Many building societies, which were then the main sources of bond finance, would not advance money to a buyer unless the property to be mortgaged was declared free of wood-destroying insects. And so, the need was established for suitably qualified people to carry out inspections and where infestation was identified, recommend remedial measures to eradicate such infestation. This requirement was written into the Offer to Purchase and it became the seller’s obligation to provide a Beetle Free Certificate.
Seller and Purchaser can contract out of this; however, if parties agree that no beetle is necessary and Bank requires it for Purchaser’s bond, then that is for Purchaser’s expense. Obviously if a cash deal this does not present a problem.
Possibly Sellers could do the inspection at listing stage, so that they know what they are in for in terms of repairs (this in fact applies to all the Certificates.)
Timber at present might appear to be free of infestation and may actually be infested with wood-destroying organisms, though this may sometimes be impossible to detect until flight-holes or wood powder appears on the surface, or soil deposits by subterranean termites are spotted around the infested timber. Under normal conditions, this may not be evident for two (2) years or more as in the case of Hylotrupes or Oxypleurus beetles, and one (1) year or less in the case of Anobium or other wood destroying organisms such as subterranean termites. Inspections are only carried out on the exposed and accessible timbers and only when the contractor has specific written instructions, will non accessible timbers be opened for inspection.
We do recommend that the premises be inspected annually.
The following timber destroying insects are commonly found in the houses of the Republic Of South Africa: Hylotrupes Bajulus (Italian Beetle, Old house Borer), Oxypleurus Nodieri (Longhorned Beetle), Anobium Punctatum (Common Furniture Beetle), Lyctus Brunneus (Powder Post Beetle), Stenoscellis Hylastoides (Cossonid Woodborer), Nicobium Castaneum, Cryptotermes Brevis (West Indian Drywood Termite), and various subterranean termites. All of them are destructive and may cause considerable damage.
What isn’t covered in the beetle clearance certificate?
- General pest infestations; cockroaches, fleas, rodents
- The liability of the contractor shall therefor be limited to the exposed and accessible timbers inspected