Moving to a New House (And Business Premises) – A Welcome Update

On 14 May 2020 the government issued new Directions allowing for the once-off movement of persons and the transportation of goods for purposes of relocation, which Directions are welcomed as they cater for obvious shortcomings of the initial Directions issued a week earlier on 7 May 2020.

The new Directions have repealed the earlier Directions. However, permits already granted in terms of the earlier Directions remain in force. The earlier Directions allowed for the once-off movement of persons and the transportation of goods for the purposes of movement required to change place of residence in respect of:

  1. New lease agreements which were entered into before or during the lockdown period; and
  2. Transfer of immovable property which occurred before the lockdown period.

In terms of the Regulations implementing Alert Level 4, “lockdown” means the period between 23h59 on 26 March 2020 until 23h59 on 30 April 2020, which meant that the earlier Directions provided no relief to tenants and property owners who entered into new lease agreements or acquired transfer after the lockdown.  This was an oversight on government’s part.

For the purposes of property transactions, the new Directions allow for the movement of persons and the transportation of goods where a person is relocating to a new place of residence and where a business is relocating to new premises, the latter which was not addressed at all in the earlier Directions. Previously, persons were only allowed to move between 7 May 2020 and 7 June 2020.  The new Directions do not have a time limit for the movement, save for that they apply for the duration of Alert Level 4.

As with the earlier Directions, any person who needs to travel to his or her new place of residence or business and to transport goods thereto must obtain a permit (in the prescribed form) to travel across provincial, metropolitan or district boundaries from the station commander of a police station or a designated person.

The earlier Directions only allowed for the permit to be issued by the station commander or his/her designee.  The new Directions also allow the head of court or his/her designee to issue such permit. The permit must indicate the persons who are part of the household who will be required to move.

What is required to move during lockdown

The person who is required to move should have in his/her possession one of the following documents:

  1. The lease agreement indicating the date of expiry of the old lease or the commencement date of the new lease;
  2. The proof of purchase of residence and occupation date;
  3. The transfer documents as proof of the change in ownership of property;
  4. Proof of change or new occupation of business premises;
  5. A domestic violence order.

We are of the view that the newly issued Directions are now wide enough to cater for the relocation for purposes of moving into new places of residence or business premises in respect of property related transactions concluded during the Alert Level 4.

Contact our team of Property Law experts for more information and assistance.

Donald Mokgehle
Senior Associate | Property Attorney