MONEY CLINIC: My property registration was sent off just before the lockdown. Do I still have to pay rent?

A Fin24 reader who bought a property in December 2019 sent his registration papers off just before the lockdown was announced, which was unfortunately too late.

He writes:

My concern is that I bought my house for cash in December 2019. Just before the nationwide lockdown was announced, my registration papers was sent to the Deeds Office. Unfortunately too late.

My question is, do I still have to pay the rent until lockdown ends, and who knows how long after that? If so, I think it is unfair for me to be penalised due to Covid-19. 

Liad Hadar, Director at Hadar Incorporated Attorneys & Conveyancers responds: 

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the respective Deeds Offices were closed (and currently remain closed) and all transfers that had not yet registered have been placed on hold. 

As a result, the occupational rental which you are paying in terms of your sale agreement for the purchase of the property, remains payable based on the fact that you remain in occupation whilst not yet the registered owner. 

It is an unfortunate situation, as you would have by now become the registered owner in normal circumstances, but you remain contractually bound to continue paying until such time as the registration of transfer is effected.

Compiled by Allison Jeftha. 

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