Recently, Human Settlements Minister Connie September introduced the Rental Housing Amendment Bill in the National Assembly. This legislation outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.
It’s always good to familiarise yourself with laws that are relevant to you. And in this case, there’s quite often confusion between the lessor (that’s legalese for landlord) and lessee (tenant) about who is responsible for what.
Here’s what you need to know as a landlord:
You can no longer rely on handshake agreements. Both parties need to enter into a legal, written agreement – a lease, which you can download here. This is to protect both of you. This is a departure from the Rental Housing Act of 1999, which stated that a lease doesn’t have to be in writing unless the tenant requires it.
Maintenance is the big theme of the amended Bill. The new provision states the landlord must “maintain the existing structure of the dwelling”, which includes “repairs and upkeep as may be required to ensure that a dwelling is fit or suitable to live in”.
As a landlord, you can’t allow the dwelling to fall into severe disrepair. The accommodation needs to be fit for human living at all times. Should something major happen, like flood damage, it’s up to you as the landlord to have it repaired.
Also stated in the provision is that you need to “where possible, facilitate the provision of utilities”. Utilities include water and electricity and you need to make sure that your tenants have access to energy and clean water at all times.
Your place needs to be habitable before you start renting it out. You can’t have people move in with the promise of fixing major problems during their occupancy. Thereafter, you need to make sure you maintain the premises in that condition.
Don’t let this new bill turn you off the idea of renting out your property. If you want to make an investment while earning a second source of income, then buying property to rent out is a good option. If this is something you want to consider, you can explore your financing options with ooba property finance and get tons of expert property investment advice here.