The Rental Housing Amendment Act 35 of 2014 was enacted on 5 November 2015. Section 4B comprises a brand-new section incorporated into the Rental Housing Act, dealing with the rights and responsibilities of landlords. Both lessors and lessees should be aware of the landlord’s rights and responsibilities in terms of this Act, and ensure that they comply with the provisions.
Here is the new section 4B:
- A landlord may require a tenant, before moving into the property, to pay a deposit which:
- may not exceed an amount equivalent to the deposit amount specified in the lease agreement or otherwise agreed upon between the parties;
- must be invested by the landlord in an interest-bearing account with a financial institution, with the proviso that the rate applicable to such account may not be less than the rate applicable to a savings accounts with that financial institution;
- must (subject to the related provisions below) be repaid to the tenant, together with any interest accrued, on termination of the lease; and
- shall, together with any interest accrued, not form part of the assets of the insolvent or deceased estate of the landlord in the event of the landlord’s insolvency or death.
- On request from the tenant during the period of the lease, the landlord must provide him or her with written proof in respect of interest accrued on the deposit referred to in subsection (1): Provided that where the landlord is a registered estate agent as provided for in the Estate Agency Affairs Act, 1976 (Act No. 112 of 1976), the deposit and any interest will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of that Act.
- On the expiration of the lease the landlord:
- must, where no amounts are due and owing to the landlord in terms of the agreement of lease, refund the deposit together with the accrued interest in respect thereof, to the tenant, without any deduction or set-off, within seven days of expiration of the lease; or
- may apply such deposit and interest towards the payment of all amounts for which the tenant is liable under the rental agreement, including the reasonable cost of repairing damage to the property during the lease period and the cost of replacing lost keys, if any. The balance of the deposit and interest, if any, must then be refunded by the landlord to the tenant not later than 14 days after repair, and restoration of the property to the landlord; and
- must make available to the tenant for inspection the relevant receipts which indicate the costs and expenses incurred by the landlord.
- The tenant and the landlord must jointly, before the tenant moves into the property, inspect the premises to ascertain the existence of any defects or damage, with a view to determining the landlord’s responsibility for rectifying any defects or damages or with a view to registering and recording any defects or damages.
- At the expiration of the lease, the landlord must arrange a joint inspection of the property at a mutually convenient time, to take place within a period of three days prior to termination, with a view to ascertaining if there is any damage caused to the dwelling during the tenant’s occupation: Provided that:
- failure by the landlord to inspect the property in the presence of the tenant is deemed to be an acknowledgement by the landlord that the property is in a good and proper state of repair and the landlord will have no further claim against the tenant; or
- should the tenant fail to respond to the landlord’s request for an inspection, the landlord must, within seven days after termination of the lease, inspect the premises to assess any damages or loss that occurred during the tenancy.
- The landlord, dependent on the circumstances, must refund the full deposit plus interest to the tenant, or, without detracting from any other right or remedy:
- may deduct from the tenant’s deposit the reasonable cost of repairing damage to the property and the cost of replacing lost keys, if any;
- must refund the balance of the deposit and interest, if any, after deduction of the amounts contemplated above, to the tenant not later than 21 days after expiration of the lease; and
- must make available the relevant receipts which indicate the costs which the landlord incurred, to the tenant for inspection.
- Should the tenant vacate the property before expiration of the lease, without notice to the landlord, the lease is deemed to have expired on the day that the landlord established that the tenant had vacated the property, and in such event the landlord retains all his or her rights arising from the tenant’s breach of the contract of lease.
- A landlord may inspect the property during the course of the lease, but in doing so must respect the tenant’s right to privacy during the rental period and may only exercise his or her right of inspection in a reasonable manner after giving reasonable notice to the tenant.
- Landlord’s rights against tenants include his or her rights to:
- prompt and regular payment of rental or any charges that may be payable in terms of a lease;
- recover unpaid rental or any other amount that is due and payable where the tenant fails or refuses to make payment on demand, after obtaining a ruling by the Tribunal or an order of a court of law;
- terminate the lease in respect of a dwelling or rental housing property on grounds that do not constitute an unfair practice and are specified in the contract of lease;
- on termination of the lease:
- have the tenant vacate the dwelling or rental housing property immediately on expiration of the lease and to receive such dwelling or rental housing property in a good state of repair, except for fair wear and tear; and
- where the tenant fails or refuses to vacate the dwelling, evict the tenant from such dwelling or rental housing property after having obtained an order of court in accordance with the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, 1998 (Act No. 19 of 1998); and
- claim compensation for damage to the dwelling or rental housing property and damage to any other improvements on the land on which the dwelling is situated, if any, caused by the tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or a visitor of the tenant.
- A landlord must provide a tenant with a dwelling that is in a habitable condition, as well as maintain the existing structure of the dwelling and where possible facilitate the provision of basic services to the dwelling.
Are you needing a Lease Agreement? We have a selection of Property Rental Agreements for you to choose from.
Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.