In this article, we shall be discussing about tenancy agreements in South Africa for landlords and tenants, and the things you should know about it. As is customary the world over, tenancy agreements are used to define the relationship between landlords and their tenants, and this is also the case in South Africa as we shall see briefly.
TENANCY AGREEMENT IN South Africa: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT
A tenancy agreement is a contract/understanding that is struck between a landlord and his tenant which clearly defines and states the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant when a property is being rented in South Africa as is done the world over. Tenancy agreement may not be compulsory, and the fact that a tenancy agreement may not exist in a tenancy relationship does not mean that the landlord and tenant do not have rights in the tenancy.
In tenancy relationships between landlords and tenants, both parties have what is known as implied rights irrespective of the fact that a tenancy agreement exists or not but it is good that a tenancy agreement exists as this is very important due to the fact that it provides further protection for both the landlord and tenant, and it expands on the implied rights. Landlords about to rent out their property and tenants about to rent the said property are advised to put together a tenancy agreement so that both parties can understand themselves better during the entire duration of the tenancy period.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING A TENANCY AGREEMENT IN South Africa?
In the country today, the party responsible for creating the tenancy agreement is in most cases the Landlord or their lawyer. The Landlord being the owner of the property to rent, sets the terms on which they want to rent their property and presents this to the tenant for agreement to be reached. This document states in clear terms the dos and don’ts in the property to rent and it also emphasises the rights of the tenants so that there are no conflict of interests once a tenant has moved into a landlord’s property.
TENANCY AGREEMENT IN South Africa: RIGHTS OF THE TENANT
Seeing that the Tenancy Agreement in South Africa is a contract between the landlord and the tenant, it is within the tenant’s rights to review the terms of the Tenancy Agreement in order to determine whether or not the Agreement protects his/her interests. Most Tenancy Agreements in South Africa are straight to the point and very easy to comprehend; but it is very advisable if possible to get a lawyer to review the terms and advise a tenant on how the Agreement affects their current and future rights.
WHAT SHOULD A TENANCY AGREEMENT IN South Africa CONTAIN?
Tenancy Agreement in South Africa should contain at least the following information:
- The names and addresses of the landlord and the tenant
- The address of the property to be rented
- The start and end dates of the tenancy
- The cost of the rent
- other applicable fees such as legal fees, agent and agreement fees, security deposits, service charges where applicable, to mention but a few
- The obligations of both the landlord and the tenant
- Details of bills the Tenant is responsible for, etc
Kindly note that the list above is not exhaustive and as a matter of fact, there are more terms that are frequently included in well drafted Tenancy Agreements. Before you rent a property, it is important that a very well written Tenancy Agreement is signed by both parties as it is the most important document in the tenancy relationship.
WHERE TO GET A TENANCY AGREEMENT
Landlords or Agents of landlords interested in renting out their property in South Africa are advised to create a Tenancy Agreement before renting out the said property. The landlords can create this document by themselves but for legal purposes, it is advisable that they find a competent lawyer to draft this document to give it more credibility. If you are a future tenant and your prospective landlord has given you a Tenancy Agreement to sign, it is within your rights to consult with a lawyer who will give you a quick review of the Tenancy Agreement and advise you on how it affects you going forward.