Are you considering renting out your house or flat, or perhaps just a room? Investing in a well-drafted lease agreement and knowing your rights and obligations can save you a lot of trouble in the long term.
Why you need a well-drafted lease agreement:
In order to keep costs down, many landlords resort to making use of lease agreement templates which they find online or have been recycling for many years. These templates can create a false sense of security for those using them, when in actual fact many of the provisions they contain are not legally enforceable. Often the unenforceability of certain clauses in these contracts only become apparent when the relationship sours and either party to the agreement seeks to rely on them.
A well-drafted agreement is to the benefit of both parties (i.e. the landlord and the tenant) in that it will set out each party’s rights and obligations and regulate important matters that are often forgotten such as deposits and the investment thereof, notice periods, escalations, and what constitutes breach.
We are often approached by a party to a lease agreement to resolve a costly legal issue which could have been avoided if a well-drafted lease agreement was in place from the start.
What to do if you are already leasing out your property:
Should you already be renting out your property without a written lease agreement or using an externally-sourced template agreement, the Rental Housing Act provides that certain terms are deemed to apply to the lease regardless of what may otherwise have been agreed upon by the parties. For instance, the Rental Housing Act prescribes the procedure for incoming and outgoing inspections. Failure to adhere to these provisions may result in the landlord being unable to prove or claim for damage to the property caused by the tenant.
It is also possible to reduce an oral agreement to writing or to amend an existing agreement, provided that the amendments are in accordance with the law and both parties to the agreement agree thereto.
If your current lease agreement is coming to an end or is up for renewal, it is suggested that you review the current version of your agreement and update it, where necessary.
For advice on tenancy-related issues, including the drafting and review of lease agreements, or legal representation in evictions and associated matters, contact one of our skilled attorneys today to assist you.
Clint van Aswegen | Partner
Areas of Expertise: Commercial Litigation, Civil Litigation, Property Litigation, Employment Law, Insolvency Law, Litigation / Dispute Resolution
Lili Von Geyso | Senior Associate
Areas of Expertise: Litigation / Dispute Resolution, Deceased Estates, Contractual Law, Labour Law, Notarial, Immigration Law
Amy Van Dyk | Associate
Area of Expertise: Litigation / Dispute Resolution, Deceased Estates
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)