Renting? Here's what you need to know
Category Rental Advice
The Cost of Living Index compiled by Numbeo for mid-year 2019 has revealed that Pretoria is still ranked as the most expensive city in South Africa, followed by Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and then Durban. With the exorbitant prices of houses and apartments in these major areas, many individuals and families are opting to rent now and buy later. One such a top area attracting families and individuals to the rental market is Centurion. But is renting as secure as landlords make it seem? Here's what you need to know about the rental market:
Renting your first property
Whether you plan on renting your first property or the second, the rules are pretty much the same. You will need to be financially capable of paying your rent and utility bills on a monthly basis. Having a secure job is generally a must when signing a fixed-term contract. You will also be asked to pay a rental deposit which can be twice the amount of the monthly rental charge. Before you move in be sure to check out the rental property along with the agent and landlord for any faults rather than moving in and getting a surprise. Do not be afraid to ask as many questions as possible before signing the lease agreement. Ensure that you understand your rights and obligations and then sign the lease agreement.
Know your rights
The primary legislation that governs rental property is the Rental Housing Act, 50 of 1999, while the Amended Rental Housing Act, 35 of 2014 regulates the behaviour of tenants and landlords, the property and handling of deposits. Rental laws also provide for the Rental Housing Tribunal to assist tenants and landlords with disputes rather than having to go the costly legal route.
In a recent article by iAfrica, requirements for the "new legislation requires that the landlords must provide a written lease agreement as verbal agreements will no longer be binding. The landlord must ensure that the property is structurally sound, suitable for habitation, has adequate space, and provides basic services such as water and electricity. All these items should be addressed in the lease agreement."
Breaking it down
Business Tech highlights the main concerns that both landlords and tenants should prepare for:
- Lease agreements between the landlord and the tenant will have to be in writing and legally enforceable.
- Before the document/contract is signed all sections of the lease and any explanations and definitions it contains will need to be explained to tenants and understood.
- It will be the landlord's responsibility to ensure that the rental property is in a habitable state, which is in line with the existing Rental Housing Act;
- Maintaining the rental property and ensuring tenants have access to basic services will be the responsibility of the landlord.
- Only the local authority will be permitted to cut off services to non-paying tenants.
- No tenant may be prevented from entering the rental property or denied access to the rental property without a court order.
- A joint inspection by the landlord and tenant has to be done on the commencement of the lease period, and if the landlord does not participate in this inspection, no part of the tenant's deposit for repairs or damages may be withheld when the tenant leaves.
- A defect list will have to form part of the lease agreement as an annexure.
- Interest earned on rental deposit must also be paid to the tenant within seven days of the expiration of the lease, subject to any deductions for damages.
While the Amendment Act will only be finalised in due time, it is worth knowing what changes are on the cards for both landlords and tenants. Ideally, the aim is to have a system that allows for fair and workable practices to take place.