Dear Rental Agents
Noted recently is much press publicity about high rentals in the Western Cape. Some properties remain unlet due to a landlord’s unrealistic expectations of higher rentals coupled with many landlords demanding exorbitant rental increases with existing tenants. Stable existing tenants who have been caring for their rental properties for a number of years and paying rent regularly are not being given the consideration they deserve. Landlords are being persuaded that money is the prime object of owning rental property!
A stable tenant with a good past history who pays the rent regularly, cares for a property reasonably, renews a lease and does not fight with the neighbours should be well valued by agents and landlords. The cost of evicting an unstable tenant who pays irregularly and damages a property is so high that in the long run the exorbitant increase is diminished.
Prof Delports Juta Property update:
Professor Delport’s annual update on property has just been released. I have chosen the section that lists the necessary capacity to enter into a contract as it is essential knowledge for rental agents. These questions should be asked:
- Is the landlord or tenant married, unmarried or a minor?
- Married persons: in community of property or out of community of property?
- Was a married person’s existing property system altered according to the Matrimonial Property Act of 1984?
An unmarried person can enter into a contract if
*is a major i.e. over age of 18
*is not insane or under the influence of any substance
*is not under the assistance of a curator
*is not an unrehabilitated insolvent
- Will the lease agreement be for a fixed term lease?
- If so is the landlord and/or tenant a natural or a juristic person in terms of the Consumer Protection Act?
- Are you aware of the rights of tenant and landlord in terms of this act?
Draw up a check list and tick off each item as soon as carried out so that something legally important is not omitted.
Report in recent Weekend Argus (22 July 2017)
I note in an article on the Property Page it states:
”Usually a lease stipulates that an outgoing inspection will be carried out within seven days of the end of the lease” implying that a tenant has another 7 days to repair any damages.
Many landlords and tenants will be totally confused by this press statement which has been incorrectly interpreted.
The Rental Housing Act clearly provides that a pre-outgoing inspection should be conducted three days before expiration of the lease (needs to be longer for repairs) and that if there is no damage to a property once the tenant has vacated, the deposit plus interest should be refunded to a tenant within seven days of the vacating date of the lease.
Note the three time periods for refunding a deposit:
7 days if there are no outstanding costs or damage
14 days of restoration of a property if repairs had to be carried out OR
14 days of the date of vacating if so stated in the lease agreement
21 days if a tenant has not attended the outgoing inspection
All these should be part of your lease agreement and be clearly and simply phrased so that any tenant can easily understand the conditions.
Reminder - Municipal Services
I have noted that many rental agents are still unaware of the Unfair Practices Regulations of the Western Cape in which an amendment for a number of years with regard to the termination of municipal services was made. These regulations are part of the Rental Housing Act.
It is Clause 8 (2) (b) which states as follows: (see alteration in bold)
‘to do maintenance, repairs or renovation, and reasonable notice has been given to the tenant,
but the services must be resumed as soon as the maintenance, repairs or renovations are completed.
A landlord may not unlawfully lock out a tenant or shut off the utilities to the rental housing property.
Few rental agents appear to have the amended clause which is legally binding. If you have attended our rentals course in the past, for your own benefit, please amend this clause in your training manual if it is not stipulated.
The Unfair Practices Regulations in Gauteng expect a landlord to obtain a court order prior to terminating any services.
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