The Act was published on 5 November 2014 and is expected to come into operation in
May 2015, DV, on a date published in the Government Gazette.

See the Act

Lease agreements for residential properties

The Rental Housing Amendment Act 35 of 2014 will change the law with regard to residential letting in a number of ways. Not only must a lease agreement for residential property be in writing, but such an agreement must comply with certain very specific prescribed statutory requirements. The rights and obligations of tenants (lessees) and landowners (lessors) have been demarcated. Some of their common-law rights and obligations have been restated to a limited extent and others have been changed.

Objectives of the Act

Five main objectives of the Act are to -

  • promote the provision of rental housing property
  • facilitate sound relations between tenants and landowners
  • protect the rights of tenants and landowners against illegal actions by the other party
  • inform both parties to the lease about their rights, duties and responsibilities arising from the lease agreement - thereby creating certainty
  • provide legal mechanisms of speedy redress at minimum cost

Serious consequences of non-compliance

Any person, not only landowners and tenants, who contravenes certain prescribed provisions of the Act “... will be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment”. Landowners and tenants are equally subject to the general punitive measures of the Act, but landowners have been singled out with regard to four specific contraventions.

Outcomes

The following topics are handled:

  • background and basic principles applicable to the Rental Housing Act - including new and old definitions
  • common law principles applicable to leases as a prelude to a discussion of the content of the Act
  • rights and obligations of tenants and landlords - seven identifiable rights and obligations demarcated for tenants and twelve main categories for landowners
  • formalities applicable to lease agreements
  • offences and penalties
  • the definition and concept of “unfair practice”
  • rental housing tribunals and courts

Comprehensive notes

The manual is a well-researched and comprehensive set of notes to be used in practice. In typical Gawie le Roux style, a practical rather than an academic approach is being followed. Legal concepts and principles are explained in simple terms which can be readily understood.