The article below describes the broarder legislative landscape in the world of Property Leases.
Property leases buttressed by case and common law
The rental Housing Act of 1999 is the main law that applies to a residential tenancy agreement between a tenant and landlord.
Other laws, or certain sections of them, may also have a direct bearing on the agreement and the contractual relationship between the parties.
The following are some of the relevant laws:
It is the law that is based on tradition and usage that governs the relationship of people that has come down to us from Ancient Roman law (around 750BC), and 17th century Roman-Dutch law.
A landlord is required to establish and disclose the circumstances of the tenant to be evicted.
An application is made to the court setting out the tenant's circumstances apart from the summons or application for eviction.
Since eviction affects the right to shelter, the municipality is cited as a party.
Adequate notice of the nature and purpose of the proposed administrative action must be given to an affected tenant terminating a lease (for example, an SAPS member).
The storage of such information in the landlord's custody must be secured 'to prevent unauthorised access, use, disclosure, loss, destruction, copying or modification of any personal information'.
Failure to identify the client (section 46) and failure to keep records of client (section 47) carry a maximum of 15 years' imprisonment or a fine not exceeding R10 000 000.
A lease may contain penalties for breach, such as late payment and arrear rentals.
The tenant is bound to pay interest if this is part of the agreement.
The liquidator inherits the lease in its entirety.
An owner of a property with an electric fence system must have an electric fence system compliance certificate.
This applies to a system that was installed after October 1, 2012, or when an addition or alteration is done to the system, or the property is sold any time after this date.
Since a tenant is a user or benefits from the electric fence, he or she ought to have an electric fence compliance certificate, preferably attached to the lease.
In terms of section 4 of the regulation, failure to comply with the regulations, or a contravention of any of its provisions is an offence, and if the owner is found guilty, would be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a maximum of 12 months.
If the offence continues, an additional fine of R200 may be imposed for each day or additional imprisonment of one day for each day not exceeding 90 days.
Dr Sayed Iqbal Mohamed
Chairman of the Organisation of Civic Rights.