Landlords Obligations to Their Tenants

Private Property South Africa

In the past, said Michael Bauer, general manager of IHFM, the property management company, tenants in most cases thought that their landlords had unreasonable rights. Things have changed and swung the other way now, he said, and landlords are probably the ones feeling that their rights have diminished and that their tenants have more rights than they do.

If you are a landlord, there are many responsibilities to remember so that you don’t fall foul of the law. In most cases the rental agent will be able to advise the property investor and act on his behalf but it is good practice that the landlord should know what his obligations are.

Unfortunately there are many property investors who go into buying to let without first becoming acquainted with regulations and then become unhappy with their decision to own a property and rent it out when the tenant “becomes difficult”. Tenants have rights and often know what they are entitled to, said Bauer. The problem in most cases is the do-it-yourself landlord might not know what the tenant is entitled to and it becomes a battle process.

The landlord’s obligations are simple. He must give the tenant a copy of the lease and if in a sectional title unit, the conduct rules of the scheme. He must make sure the premises are clean on the day that the tenant moves in and that the previous tenant has completely moved out. He must keep the premises in good repair during the term of the lease. If anything needs replacing, such as a light fitting or a faulty stove plate, this must be done by a person qualified to do so. The landlord must make sure all the locks and window latches work properly and he must, above all, allow his tenant the use of the premises for the full term of the lease without undue interference.

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