Building occupancy rights are crucial in defective buildings, especially in unforeseen circumstances. However, occupants face several challenges in practicing their rights in defective buildings. This study aims to identify the public understanding of occupancy rights in the event of building defects and the challenges to practicing those rights in Malaysia. Face-to-face and online interviews were carried out with twenty residents. Thematic analysis was then used to analyze the data collected from the interviews. The results demonstrate that occupancy rights can be categorized into two themes: legal and social. The challenges to practicing the rights can also be categorized into two themes: regulations and information. The findings provide an understanding of the current occupancy rights issues in Malaysia.