How will this impact those of us who have signed lease agreements?
The Rental market has shown very little growth in recent studies, however, 2019 is turning out to be a relatively positive year when it comes to renting a property. Now that they are making amendments to the rental laws, we might see some more changes in the figures this year.
Main provisions that landowners and tenants need to be aware of include:
1. The amendments include reference to “landowner” as a gender-neutral term, which will replace the commonly known “landlord”.
2. It will be compulsory for the lease agreement to be in writing and legally enforceable.
3. In line with the Rental Housing Act, it is the landowner’s responsibility to make sure the property is in a habitable state before tenants can move in.
4. It is highly frowned upon and in no way legal to at any stage cut off services to non-paying tenants without local authority.
5. When a deposit is paid back to the tenant, the interest earned (if any), must be paid to the tenant within seven days of the lease expiring, subject to deductions for damages and repairs with proof thereof.
6. A joint inspection by landowner and tenant must be done before occupation is taken; if for some reason this inspection is not completed and documented, no part of the tenant’s deposit can be withheld for any repairs or damage to the property.
7. The landowner needs to ensure that the property has access to basic services such as water and electricity; this is not negotiable.
Landowners who fail to comply with these and other requirements within six months of the new legislation can pay a hefty fine or even face jail time for non-compliance. These new laws will make it more important for landowners to appoint reliable, knowledgeable, qualified and legally registered rental management agents to assist them and make sure they remain compliant.
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