Q&A with Michelle Dickens from the Tenant Profile Network.
So it's important to note that the Consumer Protection Act applies where the person is a natural person or the tenant has a turnover or asset value below the threshold which is set at R2 million.
If the tenant is a juristic person and the landlord is a juristic person, section 14 doesn't apply, so the tenant may not cancel the lease early.
So going back to when does the tenant have the right to cancel the lease on 20 business days, a residential person, a natural person, can cancel the lease early by giving 20 business days notice at any time during the month. The landlord, though, has a right to charge a reasonable penalty in terms of that early cancellation.
The things that the landlord would take into account in terms of calculating that reasonable cancellation penalty is, what length of the lease still remains in place? Was there a loss of rental income as a result of that early cancellation? Did the landlord suffer damage in terms of commission that he paid the rental agent to secure that tenant for a 12 month period and the tenant now leaves after 2 months?
It would have to be an actual damage that the landlord or the estate agent suffered for that early cancellation penalty.