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  • South Africans will still not be allowed to move house during Level 4 of the national lockdown.
  • Some tenants claim that they have "permits" to move from the police - but these do not exist.
  • Landlords can, however, issue notices for eviction in Level 4, although no evictions will be allowed for now. 
  • For mores stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The latest regulations, gazetted on Wednesday, include strict restrictions on the movement of South Africans - and the exceptions don't include moving house.

While it also has not been explicitly excluded, it is understood that people do not have permission yet to move house under Level 4, Michelle Dickens, managing director of the Tenant Profile Network (TPN) says. TPN is SA's largest credit bureau that specialises in vetting tenants for rental properties.

According to Dickens, TPN has received calls from estate agents in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth, who report that tenants have permits allowing them to move on 1 May. The "permits"  were obtained at their local police station.

But TPN has confirmed with an advocate at the National Prosecuting Authority that the police can't issue such permits and the current regulations do not permit this.

In terms of the Disaster Management Act and the current regulations, the police may only issue permits to travel between provinces for the attendance of funerals. 

But some tenants are claiming that an affidavit - signed by them at their local police station - whereby they give themselves "permission" to move on May 1st constitute some kind of permit. This is not the case.

"We would highly encourage all tenants to not attempt to move with these self-made permits as it could potentially lead to arrest or fines," Dickens says.

See also: A third of SA tenants haven’t paid their full rent this month – and May could look much worse

According to the latest regulations, Dickens says that landlords can issue eviction notices during Level 4. However, these eviction notices can only be enforced during Level 3.

Cilna Steyn, managing director of the property law firm SSLR in Johannesburg, expects that the landlords won’t be able to rely on current common law solely in court when trying to evict or recoup money from tenants, who can’t afford to pay because of the coronavirus crisis.

“They will have to demonstrate ubuntu – that they didn’t profit while the tenants lost all of their income due to the crisis and couldn’t afford to feed their families.”

Tenants who were unable to pay rent because of the effects of the coronavirus, and who have landlords who were “factually” in a position to assist the tenant financially, but who have failed to do so, will probably be given more time to vacate given the current crisis, she ads.

See also: Courts will demand that landlords, tenants showed ubuntu during lockdown, lawyer says

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