Becoming a tenant of your new place can be an exciting and also stressful time, moving all your property, travelling to a new area, leaving your old home behind, saying good bye to neighbours, freinds and relatives so why compound that with further legal issues. Tenants want to know they are secure for the agreed upon period and aren’t being exploited, make sure you and your prospective land lard are fully aware of what a tenants right are before deciding on a lease agreement.
Why should a land lord know what a tenant’s rights are?
It is imperative for both a Landlord and the Tenant to know the Tenant’s rights in the South African context and not just the Landlord’s rights and obligations, because:
- The Landlord will know when a Tenant is overstepping his/her rights. This may help speed up the eviction process.
- Such knowledge may stop a Landlord from abusing a Tenant’s rights unknowingly – a fact that may negatively affect any successful eviction.
- The Landlord can hold the Tenant to his/her obligations with conviction.
Speak to us at Eviction Lawyers, a division of Le Roux Attorneys regarding your residential, farming or commercial eviction cases should you need legal advice or representation
FAQ’s about South African tenant rights
1. What are a Tenant’s rights and obligations when a lease expires and the Landlord allows the Tenant to carry on staying on the South African property?
In general, a Landlord, as well as a Tenant, both have the right to give notice to each other, to cancel any lease agreement between them.
Both the Landlord and Tenant must give at least one month notice to the other party when wanting to cancel the lease. (Rental Housing Act 1999)
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) gives additional rights to the Tenant by allowing them to cancel the lease provided 20 business days notice is given. (Note: this does not apply to some juristic persons)
HOWEVER should the above additional rights of the Tenant be exercised, the Tenant may be obligated to pay a “reasonable” cancellation fee – Up to 3 months rental.
2. When can a Tenant’s right to occupy a home be affected?
A Tenant continues to have the right to occupy his/her home, as long as he/she complies with the obligations stated in the lease agreement.
3. Can the Landlord do anything to the property without the knowledge of the Tenant?
No, it is the Tenant’s right to be consulted on issues affecting the Tenant. For example Repairs, renovations, lock changes etc.
4. Can the Tenant’s right to remain in a property be cancelled if the Landlord is selling that property?
No, the Tenant has the right to stay in the property until the lease expires whether there is a change in ownership or not (provided the Tenant’s obligations as per the lease are met).
5. Is a Tenant obligated to use the rental property in a certain way?
Yes, the Tenant can only use the leased premises for the purposes as stated in the lease agreement.
6. Is it a Tenant’s right to sublet the leased premises?
No, the Tenant must have the permission from the Landlord.
7. Can a Tenant make alterations to the property without consent from the Landlord?