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Tenant vs Landlord

22 Sep 2009

It is a known fact that when renting or renting out a property you can run into numerous issues and conflicts with your tenant or landlord. It is therefore very important to understand your rights and the regulations in place.

Rudi Visser property expert of BondBusters says, ”The Rental Housing Act will make a significant impact to resolve the difficult situations created when properties are rented. It is essential that both parties involved understand and enforce the terms of the act.”

The aim of the Rental Housing Act is to facilitate a fair deal for both the landlord and the tenant. The Act was drawn up specifically to overcome the many problems which were experienced in this relationship. Accordingly it is hoped that a better understanding of the Act will encourage an improvement in the relationship between landlord and tenant.

The Rental Housing Tribunal's function is to ensure that unfair practices between landlords and tenants are eliminated and hence it interprets both the Act and the Regulations in its deliberations.

Changing of locks

Locks of a property may not be changed unless it is necessary due to fair wear and tear, without reasonable notice being given to the other party and new duplicate keys being provided to both parties.

Conditions & maintenance of property

- The condition of a property at the onset must be reasonably fit for the purpose for which it is let

- A landlord must maintain a property in terms of with all Provincial Ordinances, Health and Safety Regulations or any other relevant law,

- The landlord must provide all services to a property as agreed to in the lease

- The landlord must effect repairs for which the landlord is responsible not later than 30 days after due notice. A further period may be agreed upon between the landlord and tenant if it is deemed necessary in the circumstances.

Reconstruction, refurbishment, conversion, demolition

- A landlord may only request that a tenant vacate a property if the contemplated repairs cannot be undertaken whilst a tenant is living in the premises

- A landlord may only cancel a lease if the property becomes derelict and cannot be inhabited

- Whilst a landlord is repairing a property the tenant must be given a remission in rent to compensate for inconvenience caused.

- Should the tenant remain in the property whilst repairs are being effected, the tenant must receive a remission of rent for inconvenience caused.

- A landlord must undertake necessary repairs as soon as possible so that the tenant is not inconvenienced.

- A landlord must ensure that the tenant can return to the property as soon as the repairs are completed.

- A tenant may not cancel a lease unless the temporary unfitness of the property would be ruinous to the tenant.

- A tenant may not cancel a lease unless it can be proved that the contemplated repairs to the property could have been foreseen by the landlord when the lease was entered into.


- A landlord may not enter leased property without giving a tenant reasonable notice and then only to inspect the property, to make repairs to the property, to show the property to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee or its agent or if the property has been abandoned or having obtained a court order.

- A tenant must allow a landlord entry under the above circumstances as long as the inspection is carried out at reasonable times.


- A landlord must give a tenant detailed receipts for deposit, rental, services and any other amount paid to the landlord.

Municipal services

- Municipal services must be provided in terms of the lease and the landlord may not charge a tenant more than the exact cost of services consumed in the property if there is a separate meter.

- A landlord must not fail to comply with any regulation or by-law regarding the amount to be charged to the tenant if the property is not separately metered.

- When a property is separately metered for services and the landlord bills the tenant directly the landlord must provide the tenant with a monthly statement which must contain the following information:

names of landlord & tenant and the physical address of property

name, address & telephone number of each service provider

previous & current months meter readings

actual consumption for each service and the amounts being charged

total payment due

date of next meter reading

amount of any arrears

- A landlord is not permitted turn off utilities to the rented premises or property. It has become a criminal offence to cut off electricity or water regardless as to whether the account has been paid or not.

- A landlord may only terminate services if there is an emergency, to do maintenance or repairs after reasonable notice has been given to the tenant.

General – Landlords

- A landlord may not intimidate, discriminate or retaliate against a tenant for exercising his rights under the Rental Housing Act, these Unfair Practices Regulations or any other law.

- A landlord may not stop a tenant from establishing or being a member of a tenants committee or any similar organisation.

- A landlord may not make false representation regarding the official nature of any document.

- A landlord may not engage in oppressive or unconscionable conduct towards the tenant.

- A landlord may not refuse to accept any notice lawfully presented or sent to him by a tenant.

- A landlord may not refuse to follow Rental Tribunal complaint procedures or any agreement made with the Tribunal or with the tenant through the Tribunal complaint procedure.

- A landlord may not conduct any activity which interferes with the rights of the tenant or which is forbidden under the lease, the Act, the Regulations, any ordinance, health or safety regulations or any other law.

- A landlord may not persuade a tenant to waive his rights under the Act, the Regulations or any other law, or to withdraw from proceedings before the Tribunal.

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