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What happens if I move in AFTER the occupation date?


Hi, I bought a house and had to move in three days after the date agreed to in the sale documents. Now I’m being charged occupational rent for the three days. Is this fair? – Jan


Hi Jan, occupation refers to the date that the purchaser is placed in a position to take control of the property purchased. It does not refer to the date of actually moving into the property. Thus if the contract stipulates that occupation is on 1 July and the purchaser moves in on 3 July occupational rent will be charged from 1 July. On the occupation date the purchaser becomes an occupant and not a tenant as defined under the Rental Housing Act. The agent must guide the parties in coming to an agreement which protects both sides and doesn’t expose the seller to unnecessary risk. It is important to always agree on the specifics of the occupation date and the occupational rent when signing the contract and never to leave it to be decided at a later date. When the circumstances change, it can always be amended by way of an addendum drafted by the conveyancer.

Contact MC van der Berg Attorneys on +27 (0)12 660 6000, email info@mcvdberg.co.za or visit their website


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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