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This is under South African law.

First, some background. Said "tenant" bought the house and is currently paying occupational rent to stay there until the property transfer has been finalized. I'll refer to them as the "future owner".

Initially, the future owner agreed to accommodate some furniture while the current owner gets them sold. Some time later the only item left was a large wall unit. The future owner gave notice that they wanted to start doing some building alterations, and the wall unit needed to be out of the way by a specified date. The current owner neglected to remove the wall unit. A few days after the agreed date of removal, the future owner put the wall unit outside, and it got destroyed in the rain (we are currently in the rainy season).

The question then is: who should be held responsible for the damage (wall unit cost) and disposal?

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  • Did the previous owner actually agree to that date?
    – Ryan M
    Nov 12 '20 at 8:18
  • @RyanM I believe there was a verbal agreement, possibly in text message.
    – bgh
    Nov 12 '20 at 9:21
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The person who caused it to be destroyed

Yes, the wall unit was trespassing but that does not give the future owner the right to destroy it. The future owner could have gone to court to get an order for it to be removed or they could have gone to reasonable expense to remove and protect it and sue for recovery. They can’t just destroy someone’s stuff because it’s inconvenient.

In law as in ethics, two wrongs don’t make a right.

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