Residential Lease -Requirements

 

When the Rental Housing Amendment Act of 2014 comes in operation, all residential lease agreements must be in writing and contail certain information.

What must be disclosed in a residential lease:

  1. The names and addresses of the parties.
  2. A description of the dwelling, for example the street address.
  3. The rental amount and any escalations (if any).
  4. Frequency of required payments, for example “per month”.
  5. The amount of the deposit (if any).
  6. The lease period. If there is no stated period, then it must state the notice period requested to terminate the lease.
  7. The rights and obligations of the tenant, as provided for in the Rental Housing Act (See Annexure ‘A’)
  8. The rights and obligations of the landlord, as provided for in the Rental Housing Act (See Annexure ‘B’)
  9. Any other obligations of the tenant and the landlord not already mentioned.
  10. Any other amounts or charges payable over and above the rental.
  11. The landlord will ensure that a list of all the defects on the premises be attached as an annexure to the lease.
  12. The landlord will ensure that, should House Rules be applicable, a copy thereof be attached as an annexure.

Annexure A

  1. The tenant has the right to receive receipts for all payments disclosing all pertinent details, including the period for which payment was made.
  2. The tenant may request written proof of interest accrued on the deposit.
  3. Upon expiration of the lease the tenant has the right to receive payment of the deposit plus interest without any deduction, within 7 days.
  4. The tenant must, at the request of the landlord, make himself available for a joint inspection of the dwelling to ascertain if there was any damage caused to the dwelling during the tenant’s occupation.
  5. During the lease period, the tenant has the right to privacy and should the landlord wish to exercise his right of inspection, it must be done after reasonable notice to the tenant and in a reasonable manner.
  6. The tenant (and his visitors) has the right not to have his or her person or dwelling searched; or his or her possessions searched and seized, except by a ruling or order by the Tribunal or court; or his or her privacy of communications infringed.
  7. The tenant is liable for rental and other agreed costs, but for nothing more except proved factual expenditure by the landlord .
  8. A tenant may not sublet a dwelling without the consent of the landlord, which consent may not be unreasonably withheld.

Annexure B

  1. A landlord may require a tenant, before moving in, to pay a deposit.
  2. The deposit required may not exceed the amount specified in the lease or otherwise agreed upon.
  3. The deposit must be invested by the landlord in an interest-bearing account with a financial institution and the interest rate may not be lower than what is applicable to that institution’s savings account.
  4. Upon expiration of the lease the deposit and interest must be repaid to the tenant.
  5. The deposit does not form part of the assets of the landlord’s estate upon his insolvency or death.
  6. When requested by the tenant, the landlord must provide written proof of interest accrued on the deposit.
  7. On expiration of the lease, the landlord must, where no amounts are due and owing in terms of the lease, refund the deposit plus interest, without any deduction, within 7 days to the tenant.
  8. On expiration of the lease, the landlord may, if amounts are due and owing to him by the tenant in terms of the lease, including reasonable cost of repairs and lost keys, apply the deposit and interest to pay therefor. The landlord must refund to the tenant the balance of the deposit and interest within 14 days of restoration of the dwelling to the landlord.
  9. Where the landlord has deducted costs from the deposit, he must make available for inspection of the relevant receipts to the tenant.
  10. Before the tenant moves in, the landlord and tenant must jointly inspect the dwelling to ascertain the existence of defects or damage , with the view of registering such defects or damage.
  11. At the expiration of the lease, the landlord must arrange a joint inspection of the dwelling at a mutually convenient time, but within 3 days prior to such expiration, with the view to ascertain  if there is any damage caused during the tenant’s occupation.
  12. Failure by the landlord to inspect the dwelling with the tenant at expiration of the lease shall be regarded as an acknowledgement by the landlord that the dwelling is in a good and proper state of repair and he will have no further claims against the tenant. The landlord must refund the full deposit and interest to the tenant.
  13. Should the tenant fail to respond to the landlord’s request for an inspection at expiration of the lease, the landlord must, within 7 days of the expiration, inspect the dwelling in order to assess damages or loss which occurred during the tenancy.  In this case the landlord may deduct the reasonable cost of repairing damage and replacement cost of lost keys, but must refund the balance of deposit and interest to the tenant not later than 21 days after expiration of the lease and make the receipts of the costs available to the tenant for inspection.
  14. Should the tenant vacate before expiration of the lease, without notice to the landlord, the lease will be deemed to have expired on the date that the landlord established that the tenant had vacated the dwelling. The landlord will retain all his rights arising from the tenant’s breach of the lease.
  15. The landlord may during the course of the lease inspect the dwelling, but subject to the privacy and reasonableness considerations set out in Annexure A, paragraph 5.
  16. The landlord has the right to prompt and regular payment of rental and other charges in terms of the lease.
  17. The landlord has the right to recover unpaid rental or any other amount due by the tenant, where the tenant failed to pay on demand, after a ruling or order by the tribunal or the court has been obtained.
  18. The landlord may terminate the lease on grounds set out in this lease and which do not constitute unfair practice.
  19. On termination of the lease, the landlord has the right to have the tenant vacating the dwelling immediately upon expiration of the lease and to receive it in a good state of repair, except fair wear and tear. Should the tenant fail to vacate, the landlord may evict the tenant after having obtained an order of court in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, 1998 and in addition he may claim compensation for damage caused by the tenant, by a member of the tenant’s household or by a visitor of the tenant.
  20. The landlord must provide the tenant a dwelling that is in a habitable condition (as defined in the Rental Act 1999), as well as maintaining the existing structure of the dwelling and where possible facilitate the provision of basic services to the dwelling.