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Landlord and Tenant Obligations

Understand rights and responsibilities when leasing or renting property in South Africa…

There are a number of rights and obligations that both landlords and tenants should be aware of when renting accommodation in South Africa.

Landlords

The law states that landlords:

  • must not discriminate against prospective tenants
  • may charge any rent he/she wishes but this should be reasonable
  • do not have to supply a written lease, however if the tenant insists on this, the landlord must comply
  • must issue a receipt for every payment received
  • must put deposits paid by the tenant in an interest bearing bank account and written statements of interest should be available when requested
  • have the right to prompt and regular payment of rent and if rent is not received on time the landlord may sue the tenant or obtain a court order to evict him/her
  • must allow tenants the right to privacy and to enjoy their home undisturbed
  • must carry out urgent repairs as and when necessary
  • must not inspect the property without giving the tenant a reasonable amount of warning

Tenants

A tenant’s rights include:

  • The right to occupy a home on an on-going basis while meeting the obligations stated in the lease agreement
  • To be consulted on matters that affect the tenant, such as repairs
  • A tenant has the right to stay in the property until the lease expires if all obligations stated in the lease are being met. This means that even if the property is sold to a different owner during the tenancy agreement, the tenant still has the right to remain in that property until the tenancy agreement expires

Tenants are obliged to:

  • Pay the rent on time
  • Use rental property only for the purposes stated in the rental agreement
  • Not sublet property without agreement from the landlord
  • Maintain the interior of the property and keep it in good working order
  • Not make any alternations to the property without prior consent from the landlord
Disputes

Disputes between the tenant and landlord, can be referred to the Rental Housing Tribunal in the province in which the property is situated. The tribunal has the power to take evidence, hold hearings, make decisions, and issue orders. Complaints can also be filed with the Renting Housing Tribunal if the landlord is charging too much for poor-quality accommodation. Tribunals can order the landlord to reduce the rent if the building is not well maintained.

Contact the provincial government for details.

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