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Under South African law, the landlords is free to negotiate any price for the property and there are no limits or restrictions. If a tenant however feels the rent is to high considering factors such as major damage or liveability of the property, they may take the matter to the housing tribunal.

The tribunal may rule that a lower rental be charged, but this mostly going to be applied to slumlord type dwellings or informal shacks,etc where the state of the property is in question.

On normal properties, if a tenant accepted the rental at the start, they are bound by it unless of course the property deteriorates considerably.

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In terms of the Rental Act, it is the landlords responsibility to maintain the property in a good condition, suitable for the purposes for which it is rented out. This obviously does not include minor marks on the wall but would include for instance a leaking roof.

The Act does not distinguish between the interior and exterior of the building or clearly address the issue of appliances, fittings, pool pumps etc.and the onus for ALL repairs therefore falls upon the landlord.

Important to note however is that this reponsibility or parts thereof may be transferred to the tenant by means of clauses within the lease agreement. Most common of course is that the interior must be maintaiend by the tenant themselves while the exterior is maintained by the landlords.

Landlords and tenants alike must be very sure that they know what is defined within the lease as what is whose responsibility, particularly with regard to geysers, pool equipment etc.

Property Network leases as standard procedure would use the latter example, that the tenant, fair wear and tear accepted is responsible for the interior of the property, as well as the repair and/or replacement of appliances. Additionally, it is specified that pool equipment, except the pump is also the tenants responsibility.

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Is is a clear right within the Act that the Landlord has the right to receive rentals on time and has legal recourse in the event of the tenant failing to comply with this.

Very importantly, is for the lease to include a clause that any leniency by the landlords does not restrict the landlords rights in this regard.

Do note, that the tenant has to pay the last months rent and cannot set this off against the deposit. Landlords are cautioned against giving permission for this to happen.

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The landlord has the right to access the property to undertake inspections, repairs etc.

This however is balanced with the tenants right to privacy and to receive reasonable notice of the landlord wanting access. Landlords may not access the property without the tenants permission.

Also, Landlords may not block acces to the proeprty because of arrears or other problems unless by court order.

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Currently, the law states that the lease does not have to be in writing but the landlords must comply if the tenant requests it.

With the new Property Rental Bill that is about to become law (Mid 2015), ALL leases will have to be reduced to writing.

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A landlord may not discriminate in any way against tenants. .

Landlords and tenants are adviced to read the article on discrimination in our Legal Advice Centre

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