Adjusted Alert Level 3: Can estate agents work as normal?

From midnight on 28 December 2020, South Africa moved into the Amended Alert Level 3 Regulations. These regulations, although very similar to the previous Alert Level 1 Regulations, continue to affect the property market in a number of ways. 

Read the full Adjusted Alert Level 3 Regulations.

Question 1: Can estate agents carry on to work as normal?

The short answer is yes! The curfew on movement remains in place with a different curfew timetable. Every person is confined to their place of residence from 21h00 to 06h00, except in limited circumstances, for example, when a person has been granted permission or for a medical or security emergency. It is important to note that estate agencies are not included in Table 2 of the Regulations as ‘excluded businesses’ and may operate as normal subject to certain protocols.

Question 2: How does Amended Alert Level 3 Regulations impact estate agents?

It is now mandatory and punishable by fine or imprisonment if a person does not wear a face mask in a public space. This includes wearing the mask at your place of employment as well as when performing your duties. This includes viewings and other services provided by an estate agency when in contact with the general public or a client.

All employers must ensure and adopt measures to promote physical distancing in the work place. This includes the mandatory wearing of masks but also the provision of a Workplace Plan enforced by a compliance officer in terms of the Regulations.

Employers are also tasked to restrict face to face meetings, so it is suggested to only allow limited and necessary contact with the general public in performance on all estate agent functions.

Visitation at older person’s residential facilities are prohibited except to the extent and manner directed by the relevant cabinet member.

Question 3: Can short term rentals and holiday accommodation still operate?

Yes. Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, time-share facilities, resorts and guest houses are allowed at full capacity, but patrons must observe social distancing of at least one and a half metres from each other in common spaces.

Question 4: Have the new regulations changed anything with regard to evictions?

No, the regulations remain the same as in Alert Level 1. This relates specifically to evictions and rental property law.

A person may not be evicted for the duration of the state of disaster, unless a competent court has granted an order for the eviction.

A competent court may suspend or stay an order for eviction until after the end of the state of national disaster unless the court is of the opinion that it is not just and equitable to suspend or stay the order. It is also important to note that South African courts are in recess until 7 January 2021.

It is still considered an unfair practice by both landlords and tenants to not engage in good faith to make special arrangements to cater for the urgent needs brought about by the State of National Disaster through negotiation and deferrals.

The end to an unprecedented year comes with another twist and turn! As always, the TPN team is fully committed to providing all the support and updates you need to traverse this tricky time.

Please contact our helpdesk on 0861 876 000 for assistance. We are always here!

Stay safe,

Michelle Dickens
MD of TPN Credit Bureau

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