As renting property is often a relatively long-term arrangement, establishing and maintaining a healthy landlord-tenant relationship is key.
It’s important that landlords are aware of and live up to their obligations to their tenants and it’s equally important for tenants to be aware of and fulfill their responsibilities in renting property. If each party abides by their respective set of guidelines, it’s likely that the relationship will remain a positive one.
Marlon Shevelew, Director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates Inc. – a firm specialising in Landlord and Tenant Law, Contractual and Consumer Law – is witness to the difficulties that ensue when these responsibilities are not fulfilled.
He says: “Whether you are a landlord or tenant, it is vital that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations.”
As a tenant, you have a right to enjoy your property privately, undisturbed by others. At the same time, you have the responsibility to pay the rent on time, keep the property reasonably clean and tidy, let the landlord know as soon as you discover damage or the need for repairs, and to be a good neighbour and not disturb those around you.
When your lease comes to an end, you are obliged to leave the property in a reasonably tidy condition, remove all your personal belongings and leave behind all the furniture and fittings that belong to the landlord.
As a landlord, you have the right to enter the premises in an emergency if you have the tenant’s permission (usually obtained within a required 48 hour notice period).
You have the right to receive rent when it is due, set an amount for the deposit, inspect the premises when the tenant leaves and retain a reasonable percentage of the deposit if the tenant has caused damage during their occupancy or if there is any rent outstanding.
Conversely, the landlord is obliged to provide a written and signed lease agreement, provide the property in a reasonably clean state, and keep the premises in a reasonable state of repair. If the property is due to be sold, you are required to give the tenant written notice. If repairs or maintenance are required, you are obliged to give the tenant at least 24 hours notice.
While these lists are not exhaustive, it is important that both parties are aware of their responsibilities and rights and that they operate according to a mutual understanding. – iafrica.com
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