Rental Tribunal Case: Warning to Landlords
Category Rental Articles
The landlord tried to evict an elderly widow and her family from a home which she lived in for 51 years.
The tenant was informed that maintenance was needed on the property hence the one month notice to vacate and if she refused that she would be evicted at her costs. It was later discovered that the reason for the notice was the intention of selling the property.
The same landlord then tried to evict another one of these tenants by escalating the rental exorbitantly. The tenant refused to pay the exorbitant rental increase of 25% and the landlord gave them notice to vacate. The tribunal also found that the property was in a state of disrepair and lack of maintenance. As a landlord, it is vital that the property is maintained and fit for human habitation.
There seems to still be a miscommunication in the market as far as what is involved when evicting a tenant from your property. Evictions need to be done legally and fairly. It is vital to remember that tenants, as well as landlords, have rights and the Rental Tribunal will not rule in favour of an unlawful landlord.
A lease can only be cancelled by the landlord by issuing 20 days' notice of a breach of the lease, if the tenant fails to rectify the breach only at this point can the lease be cancelled. Should the tenant not vacate upon receiving this notice, only at this point can the eviction process start. This can be a very lengthy and expensive exercise.
The other issue with this is that there was no lease agreement signed.
It is vital that a lease agreement is signed and in place in accordance with the rental housing, act to avoid any issues arising or misunderstandings. It is important to ensure that your lease agreement is legally correct and protects all parties equally and is easy to understand. This is in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act.
Both families took the landlord to the tribunal and the tenants won the case due to an unfair practice. According to the NGO, many are being pushed out to make way for shopping centres and developments and the rentals have escalated in Woodstock and Salt River.
It is important for landlords to understand that a tenant cannot simply be given the notice to vacate and definitely not threaten with eviction without a valid court order. Landlords nor their agents can resort to illegal methods to drive tenants out.
At Seeff, we pride ourselves on keeping informed and up to date with all changes in the market and any amendments to the law which affects residential rentals. You can be certain that we have covered all parties in our contracts and ensure that we follow the correct steps when dealing with tenants and landlord who breach any of the laws which govern us.
Author: Seeff Blouberg