Rule on Permenant Occupancy
I would like to know if occupancy of a property under south African law is deemed to be 100% of the time (so all days in a calender month) or does the law provide minimum occupancy for example 70% of the time? I am trying to establish when is a person deemed to be a permanent occupant of a property. In this case the agreement dictates if anyone occupies the property permanently other than the agreed occupants when can I exercise my rights that this condition of permanent occupancy has been met if an additional person also occupies the property?
Dear Etienne S, when interpreting contractual clauses it is best to give the words their normal definition. Hence usually a contract would have a general clause in the beginning containing the contractual intention and meaning of general words such as for example ‘permanent’ would mean not continually for more than a three months or two months or a month at a time especially time implied words that that could lead to perpetuity for example in your instance. Courts would define such unspecified unlimited general designations with ‘reasonableness’. The advice is thus that you notify the tenant they are overstepping the reasonable bounds in this regard and you may have to consider taking action to enforce it.