Stress in the salon

Private Property South Africa
The Roosting Venus

Stormy weather is a phenomenon that leaves no one altogether untouched. Being a lady of sensible solutions, I tend to deal with storms in the most practical way possible, and so whether it’s wind, rain or an emotional furore, I find the refuge of a salon a peaceful way of cooling my heels until the clouds have blown over. There’s no justification, ever, in simply wasting time, so a little polish and groom serves not only to get one looking one’s best when facing the weather, but also feeling calm enough to handle it.

It was in the salon, in fact, just the other day, that we were listening to the neighbours’ storm. They, having made the canny business decision to let out one of their properties, were starting to find that their business savvy was running a little dry when it came to dealing with their non-paying tenants. It was taking quite some grooming to cool those heels.

And what does one do, indeed, when faced with the amendments to the Rental Housing Act, and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act which certainly on the face of it, seem to offer more protection to the tenant than the landlord.

Stormy solutions

Luckily, as gals wouldn’t be grooming without their tablets, there was time for investigation, and answers were to hand. First off, with the amendments to the Act advising that going forwards all lease agreements need to be in writing and correctly drafted to comply with statutory requirements regarding landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, it became clear that now is the time to rework ones leases, with the help of a specialist attorney or property professional. For landlords it’s also a good opportunity to adjust lease agreements to fit their individual needs, bearing in mind that no oral amendments whatsoever will be recognised in the future.

Secondly it became clear that the best time to protect oneself from problem tenants is in the beginning, meaning that anyone thinking of letting property would be wise – very wise – to do a thorough reference and credit check of a prospective tenant before signing on any line. Character references, workplace and sustainability checks would be enlightening too.

For people like the neighbours though, it was advice too late but, while the law prevents them from changing locks or cutting off their tenants’ power, they did still have some power of their own.

The PIE Act does offer landlords some protection and lays out the steps for the lawful eviction of tenants. So with the legal advice of an attorney that specializes in evictions, the best recourse for landlords is to follow these steps, bearing in mind that regardless of the time stipulated by the breech clause in any lease agreement, the Consumer Protection Act requires that the tenant is given at least 20 business days notice to rectify the breach before an agreement is cancelled. The process of eviction is not, however, a speedy one, and it’s advisable to act as soon as problems arise. As monthly bond payments by the landlord will probably still need to be made, it’s advisable too, to have an emergency fund, or better still, insurance against such possibilities.

And, as the manicurist reminded us, the Rental Housing Tribunal is mandated to advise landlords as well as tenants. Their provincial contact details are here.

Things were looking up, but as we were fast realising, there is more to being a landlord than meets the eye.

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