New Research Theme: The impact of Covid-19 on property rights

Posted by on 20 May 2020 in Announcements | No Comments
New Research Theme: The impact of Covid-19 on property rights

Covid-19 has already affected almost every aspect of the daily lives of South Africans, and its effects will be felt for years, possibly decades to come. But what is the impact of Covid-19 on property rights?

The SARCPL is embarking on a project that seeks to investigate the impact of pandemics on property law. A group of SARCPL researchers will analyse how property rights are affected by the exceptional measures needed to provide for public health and safety during a global pandemic such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. It will be important to consider what challenges may lie ahead as South Africa deals with the after-effects of, not only the pandemic, but the measures taken in response to it.


Key issues that the project will address include the following:

  1. The position of the homeless during and after Covid-19 measures;
  2. The position of tenants who are unable to pay rent or pay utility bills;
  3. The position of homeowners unable to make mortgage payments;
  4. The impact and effect of the moratorium on evictions on all affected parties;
  5. The scope of and justification for constitutional protection of property during and after a declaration of a state of emergency and a declaration of a state of disaster;
  6. The effect, on a deeper or more fundamental level, of the pandemic on understandings of the power-relationships that underpin property law;
  7. An evaluation of the systemic response of the property law system specifically, and the legal system more widely, to the pandemic;
  8. An evaluation of the remedies, if any, available to a) the state by parties who failed to adhere to property-related regulations; b) private parties who were affected by property-related regulations found to be invalid or unconstitutional after the fact; c) private parties who suffered harm because of the unlawful conduct of other private parties who failed to adhere to property-related regulations.

Updates on this project and links to our findings will be published on this website as they become available.

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