The revised Disaster Management Act directions on the movement of people from one home to another mean that tenants and home-buyers can now go ahead and move into their new Sectional Title (ST) and estate homes as long as they have a lease or proof that the property has been transferred into their name* - and there are likely to be even fewer restrictions on such relocations as the country moves to Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown.
“This is very different to the scenario during the first six weeks of the lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the virus, when many ST and estate communities started practicing very tight security under which very few people were allowed in, except existing residents who were returning to their own homes and families after going out for essential work, shopping or exercise.
“Communal facilities like pools and clubhouses were also all immediately closed, the non-essential staff was sent home and generally caretakers or residents themselves volunteered to ensure that passages, lifts and other common property would be regularly sanitized,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar.
“Consequently, the new rules on movement are causing some consternation, as residents worry that allowing new tenants or owners to move into their complexes now without imposing any health testing or quarantine requirement could increase the risk of exposure to the virus, especially for those who are elderly or immuno-compromised for other reasons.”
However, he says, it is very important for ST trustees and the directors of Home-Owners’ Associations to understand that they cannot restrict or prevent these relocations. “They cannot interfere with the decision by any owner in the complex to let their property, or to sell it to a new owner.
“And as long as a new tenant or owner has the correct documentation and a signed permit to move, they cannot stop them from taking occupation.”
Schaefer says that what trustees and directors can do, though, is the following:
* The most recent moving directions, gazetted on 14 May, apply to any home buyer who has taken transfer of their new home since the Level 5 lockdown began on 26 March as well as those who took transfer before that but were unable to move, and the members of their immediate households. They also apply to any tenant, residential or commercial, who signs a new lease, as well as anyone with an expired lease who wishes to move into shared accommodation with friends or family, anywhere within the borders of South Africa. A specific permit is currently required for each move. Find out about moving during level 4