youre a landlord or a tenant, you should have a written lease, and
make sure it contains certain essential clauses.
Thats 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 misunderstandings
or disputes in future.
CEO Martin Schultheiss also says both landlord and tenants should check
to see that the lease contains certain clauses. These include:
- A clause clearly identifying and describing the property that is
being let, and stating how many people may live there;
- A clause formally identifying the landlord and the tenant;
- A clause stating the period of the lease and if and when it can be
- A clause stating the amount of rent payable and how and when it should
be paid, for example into a certain bank account on the first of every
- A clause detailing any other charges payable, such as municipal charges
for water and electricity consumption, or perhaps a percentage of the
levy if it is a sectional title property;
- A clause outlining the responsibilities of the landlord, such as
maintaining the property and making sure that any essential repairs
are made quickly;
- A clause outlining the responsibilities of the tenant, such as doing
no damage to the property and using it only for its proper purpose
for example, not running a business from a residential property;
- A clause or two stating what the process and consequences will be
if either party breaches the agreement, for example what will happen
if the tenant does not pay what due is on time, or what the tenant can
do if the landlord lets the property go to rack and ruin.
And probably most importantly, says Schultheiss, since
this issue causes more disputes between tenants and landlords than any
other, 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 wont
be paid back.
He also cautions that no-one should ever sign a lease unless they are
sure that they fully understand the contents, and should seek expert advice
if theres any aspect thats unclear.