Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act

The Housing Consumers
Protection Measures Act 95 of 1998

Updated 2008 – EXPLAINED

A well built house in a development that was built on time and in budget is all that a Housing Consumer wants.
A well built house in a development that was built on time and in budget is all that a Housing Consumer wants.

1. The main purpose of the Housing Consumers Protection Act is to give protection to housing consumers. At the same time it created the NATIONAL HOME BUILDERS REGISTRATION COUNCIL (NHBRC), whose objective is to stand for the interests of housing consumers by giving a warranty to protect against defects in new homes and to give cover to housing consumers in respect of the failure of builders to fulfill  their obligations in terms of this Act.

2. A housing consumer is a “person who is in the process of getting or has taken possession of a home and includes such a persons “successor in title”. What this means is, that for the period that the “original” homeowner is covered by the warranties that may be applicable in terms of this Act, that warranty remains in place no matter the change of ownership. Any other action undertaken by the first owner is transferred to, and enforceable by, the new owner – so long as the original owner did everything in line with the Act. Different time frames apply depending on what the defect is.

3. A homebuilder is defined as a person who carries on the business of a home builder and constructs a home for a housing consumer.

4. An owner builder may contract a homebuilder for the building of a home for occupation by that person. If someone builds himself a home, lives in it and later on sells it, the mere fact that the house is still new does not suddenly mean that for purposes of this Act, the seller of that house suddenly becomes a homebuilder.

5. “Occupation” is either the date that the housing consumer who first gets the home, accepts it as is by signing a document confirming the acceptance, this is  known as a “happy letter”, this is needed by banks before they will pay out the loan on a bond that was registered for a new home, or the certificate of occupancy issued by a local authority in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act of 1977.

6. By signing the acceptance document you take complete ownership of the house and you do not have to physically move in to “occupy” the house for the purposes of the Act.

7. Most important is the part of the Act that states that no person shall carry on the business of a home builder, or receive any remuneration from any agreement with a housing consumer in respect of the sale or construction of a home, unless that person is a registered homebuilder with the NHBRC.

8. If anyone or any company wants to do any sort of building work, they  MUST first be registered with the NHBRC. Before they start work or accept any payment of any kind for the project.

If a builder has finished your entire house for you, and if they are not registered with the NHBRC, you don’t need to pay them a cent. Be aware that you will have to prove that did not know that the builder was not registered from the start otherwise you might  also be found to be complicit in breaking the law.

You can read more about the NHBRC here: national-home-builders-registration-council

Here is a copy of the Act:

[gview file=”http://sans10400.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Housing-Consumer-Protection-Act-1999NHBRCUpdate2008.pdf” height=”900px” width=”680px”]



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  1. Cherie Freeman

    I would just like to know if there is any law in South Africa governing the time frame a residential structure is to built within?
    We have been waiting for over a year now for a complex of 16 units to be built. we were told we could move in last year September 2012. i have complained to the real estate agent(even the CEO) but nothing has happened. there are so many errors we have to either fix ourselves while they building or get them to redo it.
    Cherie Freeman

  2. Hi Cherie,
    This is covered by each municipality’s own by-laws. Generally the approved plans will be valid for a period of 12 months. As delays do happen, municipalities grant extensions to builders/developers at a laid down fee. As you have a new building/dwelling it should have been registered with the NHBRC and they have warranties in place to protect the home owner. I would contact them and ask their advice. Their Toll Free No. 0800 200 824 and the website has more info here: nhbrc.org.za

  3. Mark Barkhuizen

    Good day, I have two boarding houses on the estate, where can i obtain building regulations for boarding houses.

  4. There are no special regulations for boarding houses. The National Building Regulations govern ALL construction work.


  6. Anton, You will have to follow the legal process and apply to court. You could probably go via the Small Claims Court which will be a lot cheaper. Alternatively get a lawyer to write a letter putting the client to terms. You cannot just walk in and remove it.

  7. Aubrey Serepo

    Morning i want to know what must i do when the builder has put broken bath and roof tiles in my new house.

    I would appreciate email response.

  8. Hi Aubrey, If you are building a new house then it must be registered with the NHBRC. The NHBRC has a process that must be followed when a builder does shoddy work or uses inferior materials. The builder must be given written notice to repair or put right the “snag list” within 90 days. You must inform the NHBRC that you have lodged a complaint with the builder. After that you must then lodge your complaint with the NHBRC and they will act on your behalf to get the builder to fix the problems or the NHBRC will organise for another builder to do it under their warranty scheme. Read more here: nhbrc-consumer-info

  9. Jeanene Kruger

    Hi There
    Please tell me if we have signed a offer to purchase and we have received a 90% home loan from the bank. Now we face the issue of the house plans not being updated, as this is one of our conditions we placed in the offer to purchase contract. The last updated house plans shows only 1993. A lot of changes has taken place and non have been applied for at the building control department of the municipality – South Africa. The plans does not show the swimming pool, the flat let and the inside of the house that was changed – re build as well as carports. The 1993 building plans show buildings like garages that is not there. The flat let is not the garages as the garages is transformed in to a lounge. The flat let is build away from the house – free standing and not attached to the house like the garages – which doesn’t exists any more. It looks like the garages that was build against the house have been converted into a lounge. We are being told that the current owner needs to bring this building plans up to date – 2014, but it could take from 6 months up to 9 months for this to be done. What do we do with our home loan from the bank while this proses takes place. We have reported this matter to the estate agent and to the registrations attorney but as of yet nothing is happening. We hope that you could assist us with information as how to handle this situation and what needs to be done. What would the total cost be to bring these building plans up to date? How do we save guard our self’s so that this baby doesn’t become ours – the house isn’t registered on our name as of jet. Please could you email me your advice on Jeanene.kruger@gmail.com
    Thank you so kindly.

  10. I want to buy a house from someone but the property is in his deceased mothers name, the two people on the property letter agrees to well but the court want kids of the deceased, if I buy the house without the daughter who cannot be found will it cause a problem for me on a later stage even though she does not appear on the property

  11. Hi Chamilla, This is not a Building Regulations problem. You will have to ask an Attorney who deals with wills etc. for professional guidance.

  12. Hi Jeanene, If you did put the plans as a condition in the offer to purchase then this will be one of the suspensive clauses that have to be fulfilled before the sale can go through. As far as I am aware it is standard practice that banks must call for plans before they grant a bond so that they know what they are investing their money into. Do not sign or accept anything until this is sorted out as you cound be liable for heavy costs and fines. Ideally you should have appointed your own conveyancer. If not then instruct the transferring attorney (in writing) to send a letter to the bank suspending the home loan until the supensive clauses have been met. It might be your “dream home” but it will be better to wait rather than buying an “illegal” house.

  13. HI,

    I have submitted my claim to the NHBRC regarding poor workmanship. This was almost a year ago! My concrete floor cracked ( not hairline cracks) and numerous other things no they sent me a letter stating that they can not help me? Surely there must be an Ombudsman I can go to?

    What can I do?

  14. Hi Leana, Is this a new house that was registered with the NHBRC? If not then they cannot help as they only deal with new houses. If the builder and your new house was registered with the NHBRC then you need to contact an attorney to write them a letter. You can contact the Construction Industry ombudsman here: http://www.cidb.org.za/default.aspx alternatively the Master Builders

  15. Hi
    I did not register with the nhbrc, I am a owner builder, doesn’t have a contract with any builder, build with my cash money. The nhbrc has now brought a court order to stop me from building. Do I have to register and can they bring legal steps against me.

    Thank you

  16. Christie yes they can. In terms of the law you should have applied for an exemption to build as an owner builder. I suggest you go and talk to them. Perhaps they will allow you to do this retrospectively.

  17. Phillip Chantler

    Shoddy workmanship

    Good day. How do i find out if a home we are renting has an Occupation, Electrical and Plumbing certificates. as this place is falling apart around our ears. water leaks in the walls. Cornishes falling off. Water running through the garage during rains. and so on and so on

  18. Subject:
    not maintain building

    I contact you about building at 161 Observatory heights, cnr delaray and frances belle-vue east jhb,that can collapse at anytime with leaking roof to inside the rooms.i onformed the agent,but they take ot for granted. my biggest worry is people that can be victims of anything that can happen at the flat.

    yours sincerly

  19. Hendrik Laubscher


    How do I lodge a complaint against a Builder that did poor work

  20. Subject:
    Bad Plaster work – to much sand

    Good day,

    I bought a house in Sinoville, Pretoria, but the plaster work is of such a bad quality (to much sand used in the plaster mixture). The owner kept this from me, thus I have to do a lot of repair work to the
    Would you be able to assist me with research on the plaster work with a technical report for me to submit to my attorney as evidence? If not could you please advice who will be able to assist me?

    Also if the samples from the plaster work can be taken next week as I can’t conduct repairs to the home before the samples been taken.

    Thank you for your help in advance.

    Best Regards
    Heinrich van As

  21. Brian you should probably contact the NHBRC or the media.

  22. Hendrik you can lodge a complaint against a builder with the NHBRC. To operate as a builder that person MUST be registered with the NHBRC. If they are not, then they are operating illegally. There is more information on their website as well as contact details.

  23. Heinrich unfortunately we are unable to assist. Perhaps if you contact PPC they might have a technical person who could do a report for you.

  24. Phillip the local authority should be able to advise. Alternatively ask the owner or agent. But frankly it’s irrelevant. If there are leaks and cornices are falling off and the garage is flooded, these must be fixed. You should not be expected to live like that!

  25. Good day

    What can I do as a builder has extended a new section to my house. The roof is leaking badly, the whole ceiling has been damaged and the water damage inside is very bad. I have called the builder so many times but have had no success. Is there anything that can be donr?

  26. I have already answered this question elsewhere Shawn. Sue the builder.

  27. Subject:
    Home Plans

    Dear Sirs or Madam

    We have put down an offer (which has been accepted) by the owner already and deposit has been paid for a new home. We requested the owner to supply us with the building plans and he requested the plans from council as he had none on hand. Council advised that no plans were available as the house was subdivided and that possibly only the parent house plans will be in their archives (not certain).

    Is there any legal binding where an owner has to have building plans for their home drawn up? What are the implications if he sells the home to us with no plans and the walls were illegally built?

    Please assist.

    021 790 xxxx

  28. Hi Bronwyn, No at the moment many people get “caught” because they buy a house and there were alterations done or the plans were lost by the council and once the deal goes through the onus falls on the new owners to get plans done and submitted. This can be VERY costly. Did you put it in writing that the the supply of plans is part of the offer? If there is a bond involved then the bank SHOULD need a set of plans to check that what they are financing is legal and correct and they should demand them before granting a bond. If not then you should put the agent and seller to terms with a letter telling them to rectify the situation immediately. I stand to be corrected but it could be seen as a latent defect that they did not disclose even it is not structural it still relates to the property. This is something that I am very interested in so I would appreciate some feedback as to the outcome.

  29. Jason Ragunanan

    Good day
    – The Building Regulations – The Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act

    I have a query where I contacted a builder through Gumtree and it was noted that he is NHBRC registered, when I called him I reiterated that aspect. He quoted me and his quote he had his name but another company name stating “trading as” in order to be verified. I paid approximately 50% of the money for material and after several weeks we were not making progress on the house as he was using cheap labour and just 2 guys at a time. When I approached him, he informed that he is having a problem with workers; after doing some research we find out that the builder is actually fulltime employed at another construction company and doing this on the side although he use to see us during working hours; he initially informed us that he works for himself only doing this. I also contacted the owner of the company that used on the quote as the “trading as” name; this person knew the builder but did not give him permission for using name and was quite upset. Then I asked him repay me and l just leave even though it was so much inconvenience but then he suggested that he will get another contractor under him to complete the job as that contractor has the workers; after 7 days of work that contractor began to argue with me that he wants money and I informed him that he does not work for me but the original builder. Now, in retrospect, I think the original builder put him up to it in order to extort more money as at one time he even present when his worker demanded money. After the sub-contractor left the builder said he will continue with the job but after a couple days we were back at the original point where he did not the relevant workers and I requested that he leaves the job if he doesn’t have workers and just give me the material that he owes me although I will run a loss… I just want closure.

    He gave me a date of when he will complete certain things as well as to deliver the material but to date that did not happen. When I called him, he was arrogant and indirectly threatened me saying things like we shouldn’t fight as you have a wife and baby alone at home, if I have to physically hit you I won’t come to you house I will pick you up from your work with my boys, and I can pay my R500 and they will do anything for me.
    I just want my money back as I want to resume back to normal life…

    My considered course of action:
    – I have already reported the ad to Gumtree
    – I have contacted my attorney but she will be available only next week for a full statement
    – I will contact the owner of the company whose name was used on the quote
    – I will open a case of theft and intimidation with SAPS
    – I will contact his company as technically when he worked during office hours, he was representing his company

    Please advise if all is in order and if I am heading in the right direction or I should do something else.

  30. Jason this is fraud. Contact the NHBRC Fraud Hotline: 0800 203 698
    And do all the other things as well. You could also report him on Hellopeter – by name
    Good luck – let us know what happens.

  31. i had a builder do renovations at my property for a party venue that i was opening, a 3 week job turned into a 9 week job whereby i gave him a time period ( it was the second time) so he never pitched again, he walked away with my 70% deposit and now i am stuck between a hard place and a rock as i dont have an electricity certificate for his work or a certificate for the electricity fence that he half installed, i have not been able to open my business since 12 april due to all the problems and his employees sleeping on my property. i have taken photos of everything not done and the slapgat work that was done. he now says i never read his terms and conditions which is apparantely somewhere on the internet – and never shown to us or brought to our attention – which states that should i give him a time period or ask him to leave – i will be liable for the full amount. he has not even done 30% of the work yet. i dont know what to do now.

  32. If he has not given you his terms and conditions, and you haven’t signed them in acceptance, then you are not liable. They should be incorporated in writing in a contract that you should have signed. Don’t pay another cent until the matter is sorted. Frankly it was crazy of you to pay such a high deposit! He needs to be registered – did you even check that before he started work? You probably need to get a lawyer involved, who can write a letter and put him to terms.

  33. Hi, would someone be able to clarify exactly why having to register with NHBRC is a requirement to build. If theoretically I wish to build my own home for cash and I comply with all the building regulations, have municipal building inspectors do periodical inspections and have a structural engineer over see all the building. What, besides having recourse to claims on poor quality workmanship etc, do I need to pay NHBRC for?

  34. Mark, the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act – which is law – requires all commercial builders must register with the NHBRC. However the Act also allows owner builders to apply for an exemption from the NHBRC. This costs nothing, but you need to go into their offices and fill out a form. They will then give you a letter that states you are exempt. If you don’t go through the procedure then they can fine you and halt your build. Another factor to consider is that owner builders are not permitted to sell the houses they build for at least a period of five years. I can forward the documentation from the NHBRC to you if you like – or you can phone them and ask them to email it directly to you.

  35. Do you perhaps have a standard contract template between a builder and owner who wishes to build.

  36. Please go to our downloads page: download-regulations and look for BASIC BUILDING CONTRACT-NHBRC, there are other examples for you as well.

  37. I Paid a Construction Company called Lindomotion Projects PTY LTD to build a two room and a garage in July. The construction was supposed to take 2 months as per the agreement but to date, the builder has not completed the work and when attempts are made to get hold of him he does not answer or return the calls. I have since referred the matter to the lawyers and was advised to contact NHBRC. I requested to be provided with an email address where I can refer my matter please.

  38. I’m afraid your lawyer gave you the incorrect information. The NHBRC will only deal with NEW houses that have been registered with them and the fees and inspections done up-to-date. You need to contact the MBA (Master Builders Association) they are the ones that will deal with members that renege on their contracts. That is if they are registered with them and are not “bakkie builders”

  39. We have purchased a property from a developer – 2012, all was well until we started getting mould mites mould growth etc only to be told that there is 70% water ingress in the building, we are now in a place where the developer is fixing all challenges with in the building (sectional title) however the workmanship is now shoddy with all the mould etc our furniture beddiing etc was damaged they were going to replace but now advised they will not, they are using strong arm tactics by sending us lawyers letters and trying to bully us into just accepting what they want as final. what can i do, i am at my wits end now and we are paying for the unit for the last 8 months with no compensation and a job that was going to take 9 weeks now into the 6th month of the workmanship.

  40. Your house should be covered by the NHBRC five year warranty! If the developer does not belong to the NHBRC and the house wasn’t enrolled, then he’s in more trouble than he knows. Contact the NHBRC as a matter of urgency.

  41. Geraldine Dahl

    We contracted Witch Rooms to do a first floor timber frame build for us. We also contracted them to renovate our ground floor.

    The build started in May 2015 and was still on-going at the start of builders holiday December 2015. They came back with one person in January to sort out a mammoth snag list. We realised they had no intention of getting their work up to standard. We had no choice but to go to arbitration.

    As we entered arbitration, Witch Rooms, Mr Vincent Menge, went into liquidation.

    We have a top engineering specialist who has assessed our build and found it to be substantially under specification. So much so, we have to schedule a meeting with The City of Cape Town Council.

    As Witch Rooms have gone into liquidation, we have have next to no options left to rectify. The amount to rectify is substantial.

    We are following one more legal option, so we will see how that pans out.

    We are now R 100 000 poorer for legal fees and consultants. We are R 1.5million poorer for the build and have to face another R 800 000 at least to re-build the mess they have left for us.

    Who do we report Witch Rooms too. They hold a NHBRC certificate, which means nothing to us as our build was an extension. How do they still get this certificate to operate when they open and close businesses all the time to avoid paying for seriously bad workmanship, the defects are a horror story.

    These people have to be stopped!

  42. If the had an NHBRC certificate it will now be null and void because they went into liquidation. I’m really not sure of the legal implications, but I’m sure that it isn’t legal to simply start up another business. Do you know if the business was registered with CIPC? If so Mr Vincent Menge is unlikely to be allowed to start up another legit business. The same would apply to the NHBRC. I really don’t know what to suggest other than to try and keep track of what he and anyone else involved in management of the business does in future. Then you can take legal action.

  43. Good Day,

    Hope all is well. I have applied for a new development house last year November 2015 and everything was approved. I signed with the attorneys in February 2016 and was promised to move in by June 2016. I then enquired in July how far is the building project and to my surprise i was told there was a hold up due to rates clearance. Up to now the house is still not built. Can i cancel and re-apply with another agent or go to another area? What are my consumer rights and how do i practice them?
    I really feel drained.

    Kindly reply to my email: jacobethm31@gmail.com

    Kind Regards


  44. I don’t have any specific knowledge of the relevant legislation. I imagine you could cancel, but rather get an attorney to do the cancellation for you.

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