Permit to Relocate - key handover and inspections


Slowly, slowly limited and specific relief is being provided for the movement of persons within the property market.

Initially the new Disaster Management Regulations which were released on 29 April 2020 permitted persons wanting to travel between provinces, municipal areas or districts to move back to their place of residence or work between 1 – 7 May 2020.

The latest Directions released on 6 May 2020 allow tenants or new home owners a once-off movement to relocate to their new residence; there are very defined and limited instances to which tenants and homeowners this applies to:

  • If a new lease agreement was entered into before or during lockdown i.e. before 30 April 2020;
  • If the transfer of immovable property occurred before the lockdown period i.e. before 27 March 2020;

then these tenants and home owners can move to their new place of residence between 7 May and 7 June 2020.

Question 1: Who can move?

Residential tenants who entered into a new lease agreement before 30 April 2020; these are tenants who have been forced to remain in their current residence due to lockdown but who had lease agreements at new premises which would have commenced on 1 April or 1 May.

New home owners whose immovable property was transferred into their name prior to lockdown, but have been prevented from taking occupation due to the lockdown.

*Lockdown is Lockdown as defined in the Disaster Management Regulations to mean the period between 23H59 on 26 March, until 23H59 on 30 April 2020.

Question 2: Where do people get permits to move?

Tenants and new home owners can download the permit from the Directions of once-off movement for relocation. The permit must be signed by a SAPS Station Commander or a person authorised by him or her.

The SAPS officer will need to see the terminating lease agreement and new lease agreement to determine that the permit is only issued for relocation where the new lease agreement was entered into prior to or during lockdown, i.e. before 30 April 2020.

Question 2: Are furniture removal companies permitted to move people?

Furniture removal companies are not essential services in terms of the Disaster Management Regulations, but for this specific Direction of once-off movement for relocation, furniture removal companies are permitted to move household goods and effects.

Question 3: Who is allowed to handover keys and perform inspections?

Tenants who are permitted to relocate will require a hand over of keys to the premises. Landlords and tenants could arrange to perform the handover of keys at the premises and ensure proper social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment.

At this point, joint landlord and tenant incoming or outgoing inspections may be performed as legally required in terms of the Rental Housing Act (RHA).

The RHA definition of the landlord means the owner of the dwelling… and his or her duly authorised estate agent. Importantly, estate agents are not essential services but for this permitted purpose of once-off movement for relocation where the landlord has mandated the estate agent, in these very limited circumstances only, the estate agent could be permitted to hand over keys and perform the inspection.

Conclusion

Landlords and estate agents who are facilitating the once-off movement to relocate should only engage with tenants who have obtained their permit officially stamped and signed by SAPS.

These are very exciting new Directions for the property market, although they speak to a very limited relief for relocation, it shows there is definitely intention to slowly open up the property market.

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