Terms & Conditions

Terms of Business & Scope of the HouseCheck Service

The HouseCheck Service: 

HouseCheck inspects and assesses the condition of existing residential, commercial and industrial properties for buyers, sellers, estate agents, property owners, landlords and tenants.  HouseCheck also provides a new build quality control and dispute resolution service. 

HouseCheck reports are factual and objective.  In the event of our client becoming involved in litigation with regard to the property which we inspected, the HouseCheck inspector will be available to serve as an “expert witness”.  However, we strive to keep our clients out of the courts and, because our reports are objective and factual, we have a good record of successful and amicable dispute resolution.

The Consumer Protection Act (2008) requires estate agents and private sellers of homes to disclose to the potential buyer of a property all material facts relating to the condition and use of the inspected property.  Sellers and estate agents also have obligations to buyers in terms of common law.

Who we are:

HouseCheck is a national property inspection group of companies operating in Southern Africa.

HouseCheck is a registered trademark (Trademark Reg. No. 2010113561) belonging to the HouseCheck Group of Companies.  The HouseCheck Group consists of Fengshui Property Solutions CC Reg. No. 2008/234444/23; HouseCheck Inspectors (Pty) Ltd (Reg. No. 2012/189998/07); HouseCheck Inspectors (Cape) (Pty) Ltd Reg. No. 2014/094671/07; HouseCheck Inspectors (Inland) (Pty) Ltd Reg. No. 2014/094666/07; HouseCheck Inspectors (East & Central) (Pty) Ltd Reg. No. 2014/094668/07; HouseCheck Franchising (Pty) Ltd Reg. No. 2012/189989/07 – all of: (Postal) Suite 258 Postnet, Private Bag X1005, Claremont, 7735 and with its Head Office at 80 St Michaels Road, Claremont 7707, Cape Town, South Africa.

See also www.housecheck.co.za

Ownership of HouseCheck reports:

All HouseCheck reports are copyright and remain the property of HouseCheck at all times.  HouseCheck reports are produced for the use and distribution of the client(s) who paid for the report and any estate agent(s) involved in the sale of the inspected property.

Scope, limitations and terms of any HouseCheck report:

The goal of HouseCheck is to provide a professional, objective and unbiased inspection service to our clients based on observable facts. 

HouseCheck reports are based on the various standards set by the National Building Regulations (NBR), the National Home Builders’ Registration Council (NHBRC) Manual and are guided by the specifications of the suppliers of many different building materials used in the construction of South African homes.  

All of these sources provide HouseCheck inspectors with important information on the relevant accepted construction quality standards.  References to these authorities may be found in this report.

Different HouseCheck reports:

HouseCheck offers its client a variety of different inspection products designed to meeting different needs.  These include:

Comprehensive Report:  In this report HouseCheck document all defects observed by the HouseCheck inspector on the day of the inspection of the property, identified on the cover sheet of the report. 

Vital Report:  In this report HouseCheck document all defects observed by the HouseCheck inspector in specified areas of the property on the day of the inspection of the property, identified on the cover sheet of the report. 

IPCA Report (Independent Property Condition Assessment):  This HouseCheck report is designed to replace, or supplement, the mandatory Property Seller’s Condition Disclosure, which is a document required by the statutory Estate Agency Affairs Board. “IPCA” is a registered trademark belonging to the HouseCheck Group.    The IPCA report is a limited report, confined to a general assessment of the condition of 21 key areas of any property.  IPCA reports are only sold to property sellers and also to financial and insurance companies, who wish to better manage their risk. Potential buyers of a property are encouraged to commission a HouseCheck Comprehensive, Vital, or Specific Component report, depending on their needs and circumstances.   

Specific Component Report:  This HouseCheck report, confined to one or more areas of a property as specified by the client (for example the roof, or damp, or cracks).

HouseCheck inspectors:

All HouseCheck inspectors are trained and experienced property professionals who have been trained and certified by the South African Home Inspection Training Academy (SAHITA – www.sahita.co.za ).

Please note that HouseCheck inspectors are by definition “all-rounders” – trained to inspect the entire housing envelope within a limited time and to document observed defects.  

While HouseCheck inspectors will diligently document observed defects, when in any doubt the client is urged to retain an appropriate specialist for a more detailed evaluation of any specific condition or defect.  The HouseCheck inspector conducting this inspection is not a specialist professional who is qualified or licensed to render a binding opinion as to the structural integrity of a building or of its component parts.  HouseCheck inspectors are “generalists” who are trained and equipped to do an overall visual condition assessment of a property.  Unlike various specialist professionals, HouseCheck inspectors do not conduct invasive or time-consuming technical investigations of specific or suspected problem areas. 

The HouseCheck client who commissioned this report is advised to seek other reputable opinions and acquire reputable trade quotations for repair as to any defects, comments or recommendations mentioned in the HouseCheck report.  HouseCheck also recommends that the professional making any such repairs or further investigation should inspect the property or component further to discover and repair and related problems which may not have been identified in the HouseCheck report.

HouseCheck also recommends that all repairs, corrections and cost estimates should be either completed or documented prior to the client finalizing the purchase/sale of the inspected property.  Clients should always consider hiring specialist professionals to inspect specific areas of concern before finalizing a sale agreement for any property – such professionals include: Engineers, electricians, roofers, plumbers and water proofers.

The scope and limitations of a HouseCheck inspection and report:

HouseCheck will conduct a visual inspection only of the observable areas of the relevant sections of the property being inspected and HouseCheck will then issue the client with a written report on the relevant inspected areas of the property. HouseCheck hereby absolves itself from any responsibility for any verbal feedback or comment provided to a client by a HouseCheck inspector or staff member.  Only official, written, HouseCheck reports are valid.  HouseCheck reports may include photographs of some, or all, of the defects documented in the report.  Where appropriate a technical assessment of the defect, cost estimates and sometimes maintenance advice may also be included.

HouseCheck inspection reports usually distinguish between “maintenance issues” on the one hand and “serious functional and/or structural or safety defects” on the other. 

Maintenance issues:  

All houses need on-going maintenance.  Comprehensive and Vital HouseCheck reports may document routine maintenance issues – such as repairing of minor cracks, paint touch-ups and various minor repairs and adjustments.

Serious functional and/or structural or safety defects:

These issues are documented in the body text of the HouseCheck report and are also grouped together as a summary.   In some cases this summary consists of estimates for the cost of repair of these items. 

Functional defects are defined as items which prevent the functionality of a component of the house.   This could be as minor as a broken cupboard door hinge, a leaking toilet or tap, or as serious as a leaking roof, unsafe geyser, or some penetrating damp. 

Structural defects are problems observed by our inspector which require urgent correction to preserve the structural integrity of the component and/or the house.  In this category are structural defects to the roof, walls, foundations, floors, slabs and ceilings – including structural cracks, serious damp and drainage issues (where storm water is damaging the structure of the house).  Typical safety defects could include a faulty hot water geyser installation, a faulty electrical installation or a compromised drain system.  

Please note that the above characterization of defects represents the opinion of the HouseCheck inspector and is based solely on his/her observations at the time of the inspection.  No invasive investigation of any item is ever undertaken by HouseCheck inspectors.  It is possible that another expert may arrive at a different characterization of some of the defects documented in the HouseCheck report.

The HouseCheck report is a reasonable effort to assess the present condition of the different components of the inspected property. 

No guarantee or warranty:

Caution: The HouseCheck report should never be construed as a guarantee or implied warranty of any type.  Home ownership brings with it the certainty that failures and repairs will occur at some point and preventative maintenance and repairs will be required.  A HouseCheck report will not be able to predict all such occurrences, but the report should provide the client(s) and other interested parties with a useful tool.  All observations made and reported on in the HouseCheck report apply only to the time and date of the inspection. There is no guarantee or implied warranty of any future condition, or change from the condition observed at the time of the inspection.

Not a service check:

HouseCheck inspections are not intended as a service call.  Operable conditions of mechanical, electrical, plumbing devices or other items inspected are only surmised from the visual evidence.  No maintenance services, removal of cowlings, or destructive discovery can or will be performed.  Should the HouseCheck inspector locate an item that is not serviceable, or which creates doubt for the inspector, then HouseCheck may mention this in the report and may recommend that an appropriate specialist be contacted to investigate further or make repairs.

Minor defects may be excluded:

A HouseCheck inspection is not conducted to detect and report on every minor problem or condition that may exist in the building.  Many cosmetic deficiencies are to be considered obvious and will not be reported on by HouseCheck.  

Buyer’s risk:

Buyers are always at risk in any property transaction.  The HouseCheck visual inspection may illuminate some areas of risk, but the HouseCheck inspector is limited to observation of the existing condition on the day of the inspection.  HouseCheck is not liable for not reporting on non-visible, obscure or concealed faults.  The most conscientious visual inspection is not capable of determining all conditions that may actually exist within a structure or installation.  Claims for concealed conditions, whether intentional or unintentional, must be made against the seller of the inspected property and HouseCheck accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard.

The HouseCheck inspector will not move furniture or other goods, to obtain access to systems or components.  

The HouseCheck inspector will only walk on the roof, or enter the roof cavity, or a crawl space if, in the opinion of the inspector given the conditions at the time of the inspection, it is safe and practical for the inspector to do so. If the HouseCheck inspector is unable to access the roof or any other area for any reason, the inspector will inspect that area to the best of his/her ability without entering (for instance, scoping an inaccessible roof through binoculars). 

Hazardous materials are also beyond the scope of this inspection report.

Here are some examples of the types of things a HouseCheck inspector may not be able to determine with certainty:;  

• Appropriate technical design and dimensions of specific structural items and/or members.  

• Roof, wall or other leaks that may only occur under unusual conditions.

• The inner workings of mechanical items.

• The actual condition of underground or inside-wall-or-slab pipes, drains or foundations.

• The safety and compliance of an electrical or gas installation.

Please note that the desirability of a particular home is a matter of taste and individual preference and HouseCheck does not assume liability, in any way, for the decision of any buyer to acquire or not acquire a particular inspected property, neither for any decision of any seller with regard to any property inspected by HouseCheck.

Plans and dimensions:

If approved local authority plans have been compared by the HouseCheck inspector to the actual structures found on the inspected property, and the results stated in this report, please note that this comparison was a visual check only and no structures were measured. For a full due diligence in this regard the services of a qualified land surveyor should be employed.

Please note that if an erf size, or building size, is indicated in the HouseCheck report, then this information is provided in good faith, based on information provided to HouseCheck.  HouseCheck does not warrant dimensions of any property or structures and clients and other interested parties are urged to make their own investigations in this regard. 

If a floor plan has been provided with this HouseCheck report, please note that this floor plan is a sketch plan only and while an attempt may have been made to portray the room layout of the inspected property, no reliance should be placed on measurements and proportions indicated in the sketch plan, or in the report.

 Acceptance of HouseCheck’s Terms of Business:

By commissioning and accepting this HouseCheck report you the HouseCheck client, or user of a HouseCheck report, acknowledge that you have read and accepted the above terms and conditions which define the scope and limitations of the HouseCheck inspection and report. 

You further agree that HouseCheck and/or its associated parties cannot be held liable in any way whatsoever for any errors or omissions with regard to the inspection or with regard to the information contained in the HouseCheck report.  

HouseCheck terms of business are available on the HouseCheck website and this website address (www.housecheck.co.za ) for the HouseCheck Terms and Conditions is provided to all HouseCheck clients who receive a HouseCheck quotation for a property inspection.

Revised and updated March 2016.

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