UNDERSTANDING THE LEASE AGREEMENT
The lease agreement is a formal contract and we cannot emphasise enough
the need for tenants to read the agreement properly before signature.
Put questions to your agent and satisfy yourself before putting pen to
The following information is based on the Property Network lease
agreement which is comprehensive and fully up to date with latest
legislation. Do note that these lease agreements vary from agency to
THE PARTIES NAMES
lease will include a full description of the landlord and tenant.
Estate agents are bound under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act to
verify the identity of clients and you will therefore be asked to
supply ID's, proof of address and marriage certificate etc.
Unless these FICA requirements are met the lease cannot proceed
THE PROPERTY DESCRIPTION
This is pretty straight forward but with a sectional title property,
make sure that you are getting the use of garages, parking slots etc as
you were told when viewing
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS
The home is let with all fixtures and fittings as well as any
appliances etc. Very importantly, you must make sure that whatever
fixtures were in place when you viewed are still there when you move in.
Normally, the lease will state that the tenant is responsible for the
upkeep of fixtures and fittings as well as other appliances and
furnishings that were part of the lease agreement. The basic principle
is that whatever the client uses, he must maintain, repair and/or replace e,g. the stove etc.
Your agent will check everything is in order when doing the initial
inspection with you and it is your responsibility to make sure the
information is correct
RENTAL AMOUNT AND INCREASES
rent increase will not even be applicable on a one year lease if for
instance the rent is R6500 per month with an annual increase of 10%.
Property Network lease the wording states that the increase will be
applicable if renewal of continuation takes place but with the proviso
"or by such other amount agreed to by the landlord". This latter part
is important because the increase is therefore not set in stone but is
essentially re-negotiated on renewal of the lease.
privately, the interest on the deposit automatically becomes due to the
tenant. If through an agency, not so and you must make sure that this
is specified in the lease agreement. Also, this deposit must be held in a seperate trust account.
You MAY NOT withold the last months rental beacuse of the deposit held.
The lease will specify any lease admin fees, inspection fees and the like that are payable by the tenant.
of additional costs will normally relate to penalties and costs
associated with default, arrears and legal action that may be taken.
This is quite normal but check through and make sure that these are
It will also normally specifiy penalties on municipal account and other service payments as well.
SERVICES AND OTHER PROPERTY COSTS
applied is that all services consumed are for the tenants account
including electricty, water and sewerage. Normally rates and levies are
payable by the landlord but there are exceptions. Make sure the lease
is specific in this regard.
It is also the norm that the tenant maintains the garden, pool etc.
There are occassions however where the landlord, in order to ensure the
property upkeep of his property will insist that existing service
providers are kept on and that the tenant pays these costs. Alternatively that the rental will include these services
Your lease will then specifiy these service providers as well as your
or the landlords responsibility to continue payment. The alarm service might well be
included in this as well.
THE LEASE PERIOD
will either be for a fixed period or indefinitley with one or two
months notice. It will also include clauses stating whether it may
continue on a month to month basis after the period or if you have the
option to renew.
This section will also cater for notice periods applicable on periodic
leases or for renewals. This ir normally one or two months.
Consumer Protection Act, either party may give 20 working days notice
to terminate the agreement early. There are penalties that may be
imposed however so be very careful about randomly excerciding this
OCCUPATION AND RISK
The tenant is
entitled to undisturbed occupacy and the landlord has the right to
reasonable access while you are there. This access must also be with
the tenants permission and would include access for inspections or
maintenance work that needs to be undertaken.
Generally tenants are not allowed to sublet unless with permission and
also may not have more people in the home than was agreed upon. Most
landlords are very reasonable but just make sure before allowing your
mother to move in with you, as you might find yourself in breach of the
Insurance for the property itself is the owners responsibility and the
tenant is responsible for insuring their own vehicles furniture etc.
In this section you will also find issues relating to the keeping of pets etc.
MAINTENANCE AND ALTERATIONS
This often a confusing issue and many disputes arise around who must
pay what. Check your lease as to exactly what it says and what issues
are mentioned specifically. Property Network leases for instance
specifically note that the pool pump is the tenants responsibility
except for that portion that will be covered by the landlords insurance.
Generally, the tenant will be responsible for maintaining the
entire property in good condition, fair wear and tear accepted. The
landlords responsibility revolves around ensuring the property remains
in a state suitable for tenancy so if a portion of the roof blows off
it would be the landlords responsibility to fix.
This section will also cover circumstances around major damages as
well as time frames given to conduct repairs, by both parties.
Very important to note is that no alterations or additions may be made
to the property unless you have prior permission. This would include
installing a satellite dish. Also, be aware that all additions become
part of the property and must remain after the termination of the lease
unless otherwise agreed.
GENERAL TENANT RESPONSIBILITIES
this section is common sense but tenants need to be specifically aware
of issues sich as conducting activities that add risk to the property.
If you hobby for instance is flame throwing you have to notify the
You will also acknowledge in this section your responsibility to adhere
to any house rules that apply to sectional title or homeowner
Also, it is important to take note of your responsibility to notify the
landlord in the event of a burglary, change in your financial
TERMINATION OF LEASE
To put it
very briefly, you agree to vacate the premises on the day you should,
remove all your goods as well as rubbish, hand over the keys and have
the property in an acceptable condition.
Penalties will normally be specified for lost keys, and your agent will
conduct an inspection with you to ascertain any damages. Make the
effort to attend the inspection as you will have no recourse later if
you fail do to so.
DEFAULT AND CANCELLATION
This is the part of the lease you never want to see enforced.
Defaults will incur laid out penalties and interest, loss of
commissions to the agency as well as legal fees. Simple as that. Read
this section carefully so that you clealy understand the full
consequences of defaulting.
We cannot stress enough the importance of early communication in the
event of financial crisis or problems. Many times these can be resolved
amicably as opposed to an enforced route which ends up on your record.
LEGAL AND GENERAL
large, these clauses will be common sense and genrally accepted. Do
take the time to read through them though in case there is something
there that is unacceptable to you.
In our lease, it covers issues such as joint responsibility if signing jointly, a declaration by Aliens etc
VERY IMPORTANT - The lease agreement is deemed to be the full and final
agreement between the parties. If anything is agreed to that is not in
the lease, then get it in writing. Anything and everything that is
important or has a monetary value attached - get it in writing.
BE A GOSSIP!
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