nsv landlords tenants rights

This year, many stressed South Africans have been forced to tighten their belts yet another notch or two, as the impact of Covid-19 continues to bite deeper into our struggling economy and it's becoming increasingly important for consumers to learn where and how they can save money.

It is therefore imperative, that both Landlords and Tenants, become familiar with rental regulations, so as to avoid paying additional expenses, as well as from unnecessary stress.

We will be addressing the following in the article:

1. Property inspections:

It is crucial that comprehensive inspections are conducted, when the tenant moves in and out of the property.  Landlords and tenants often disagree on who is liable for repairs or damages to a rental property and the best way to resolve this conflict and avoid the possibility of a costly legal battle, is by having a thorough inspection report. It is also advisable, that both Landlord (or estate agent managing the rental) and Tenant be present .

Such a report should include amongst others and take the following into account

  • Photos of any defects, 
  • Photos of the general state of the entire property,
  • Report signed by both Landlord (or estate agent managing the rental) and Tenant 
  • Allowance in usually made for the Tenant to add to the list of defects within seven days of moving in, so if tenant spots anything that was missed at the ingoing-inspection, they should immediately notify the agent/landlord in writing and ask for it to be attached to the inspection report.
  • Tenant, make sure your email is acknowledged. 
  • Should problems arise during rental period, notify the agent or the landlord immediately, so that it can be addressed timeously

2. Deposits:

The Rental Housing Act dictates that tenants’ deposits are to be placed in an interest bearing account and that such interest is for the benefit of the tenant.  Normally this interest on deposit is in line with savings accounts with the local  retail banks.

However, this is often not the case, especially with private landlords who are often unaware of this obligation and the lost interest can amount to a considerable sum, especially if a tenant stays in the property for a number of years.

Should the lease state anything different in terms of handling a deposit, it should be noted that the lease is then not lawful.

3. Moving out:

 This is the stage at which tenants often incur the most loss, especially if they are relying on the return of their deposits for their new accommodation.

This once again highlights the importance of a comprehensive, thorough ingoing inspection, where all issues were acknowledged and signed off by both parties.  The tenant will be fully aware of the condition of the property when they moved in, so if they hand it back in the same condition at the end of their tenancy, there should be no problems.

In terms of the Rental Housing Act, a landlord has the right to use a tenant's damage deposit to repair any damage caused by the tenant and this can delay the refund of the balance of the deposit.

If there is no damage to repair, the landlord has seven days or a calendar week in which to refund the deposit.

However, it's a different story if there are damages to the property that require repairs.

This is where vacating tenants often come unstuck because the landlord now legally has 14 days to refund - but they assume it to mean that the deposit must be refunded within 14 days of having vacated the premises, whereas the landlord actually has 14 days FROM restoration of the property.

Ie. only once the damage has been repaired, the two-week countdown begins. It does not mean that the landlord has 14 days in which to repair and refund.

Delays in deposit refunds are often due to small oversights, such as outstanding municipal accounts or fact that departing tenant has omitted to supply their banking details for the refund.

Breaking a lease:

Although this has sadly been unavoidable for many people this year, unless the saving between the existing and new rent is considerable, it can end up being a very costly and stressful exercise and should not be undertaken lightly.
The consequences of breaking a lease depends mainly on the cancellation clauses contained in the lease agreement. 

 It is advisable to obtain professional assistance in this regard.

Contact the NSV Team to advise you accordingly

Jack van Zyl 082 773 7076 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Johan Slabber 083 454 8634 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Marchelle van Zyl 082 850 8792 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Annerien Dykman 072 284 6263 /This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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