Ensure the lease covers all aspects
GET IT COVERED Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you should have a written lease, and make sure it contains certain essential clauses. That’s the advice of RentalsDotCom, the rental property management division of Harcourts Africa, which says that although a verbal lease is legal, it is preferable to have a written agreement to avoid any disputes.
CEO Martin Schultheiss says the lease should contain certain clauses, including:
Identifying and describing the property that is being let, and stating how many people may live there; Identifying the landlord and the tenant; Stating the period of the lease and if and when it can be renewed;
Stating the amount of rent payable and how and when it should be paid;
Detailing any other charges payable, such as municipal charges for water and power;
Outlining the responsibilities of the landlord, such as maintaining the property;
Outlining the responsibilities of the tenant, such as doing no damage and using it only for its proper purpose; and
Stating what the process and consequences will be if either party breaches the agreement, for example late payment by the tenant or non-upkeep by the landlord.
“And probably most importantly, there must be a clause stating what deposit is payable by the tenant, where it will be kept and in what circumstances it will be or won’t be paid back,” says Schultheiss. He also cautions that no-one should ever sign a lease without understanding its contents.