What Are Landlords Rights in South Africa?

As a Landlord, Do You Know That You Have Certain Landlords Rights in South Africa?
As a Landlord, Do You Know That You Have Certain Landlords Rights in South Africa?

Know Your Rights as a Landlord

In this article we will be discussing tenants and landlords rights in South Africa. The Rental Housing Act (RHA) regulates all residential rental properties. The Rental Housing Act No. 50 of 1999 outlines the rights of landlords and tenants. At the outset it is important to note that rental agreements do not need to be in writing and that verbal agreements are considered legally binding. However, it is in the best interests of both parties to have a written and signed lease agreement, to prevent any unnecessary disputes between the parties at a later stage, bearing in mind that certain terms and conditions must be discussed and agreed upon by both parties in order to meet the requirements of the above Act.

Landlords and tenants should be clearly identified, as should the property location, the rental amount to be paid, and the lease period. Section 14(4)(a) of the Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA) limits the length of a fixed term lease agreement to 24 months (although such period may be extended), in the event of one or more of the parties to such agreement being a natural person.

However, it is also pertinent to note that the CPA is only applicable to a Lease Agreement between a landlord and a tenant if the property is rented out in the ordinary course of the landlord’s business meaning that the landlord owns multiple properties and rents them out as a business. The CPA will not be applicable to a lease agreement if the landlord, for example, only owns a single property and the property is therefore not being rented out by the landlord, as a business.

Landlords Rights in South Africa

As per The Rental Housing Act No. 50 of 1999, the landlord’s rights against the tenant include his or her right to:

a)    prompt payments in respect of the rental amount payable, as per the Lease Agreement;

b)    recover any unpaid amounts that are due, owing and payable after obtaining the necessary order of court or Tribunal;

c)     terminate the lease on grounds that do not amount to any unfair or discriminatory practice;

d)    upon termination of a lease to-

i. receive the rental property in a same state that the property was handed over to the Lessee, save for fair wear and tear;

ii. repossess the rental housing property, only once having obtained the necessary order of court.

e)    claim compensation for damage to the rental housing property or any other improvements on the land on which the dwelling is situated, if any, caused by the tenant, and / or a member of the tenant’s household, alternatively, a visitor to the tenant’s household.

Landlord’s Responsibilities in South Africa

In as much as landlords have numerous rights with regard to their tenants, landlords have numerous responsibilities, which include:

a) Not to unfairly discriminate against any prospective tenant or tenants (as well as his/her household or visitors), during the time that the landlord advertises the dwelling for the purposes of leasing, negotiates the lease or during the duration of the lease, including but not limited to ways such as race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, etc.

b) To respect the privacy of the tenant and only to exercise his/her right of inspection of the respective property, in a reasonable manner with reasonable notice provided to the tenant.

It is important to note that the rights and responsibilities of a landlord, as well as the eviction process and other pertinent information relating to the above, may be found in a variety of legal sources. It is advisable to hire a qualified attorney who will be able to provide you with accurate legal advice, promptly.

Alan Levy Attorneys: Specialised Legal Assistance for Landlords in Johannesburg and Gauteng

Our team of distinct minded attorneys at Alan Levy Attorneys provide landlords with specialised and creative legal solutions. Contact Us for exceptional legal advice related to landlords and tenants’ rights, to start the eviction process, and to successfully claim damages and reclaim your property.

This article will never replace professional consultation with an experienced attorney. This article is not intended to be used as legal advice and should be viewed as an educational summary of the applicable legislation and procedures pertaining to the RHA, as well as tenants and landlords rights in South Africa. Should you require assistance, Contact Alan Levy Attorneys for swift and specialised solutions.

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