A reader who is renting out his townhouse to a new tenant wants to know how to handle a number of breaches committed by the tenant.
He says the tenant took occupation without paying the required deposit and that the second month’s rental was paid four days late.
In addition, the tenant is only permitted to have one dog on the property but has brought three, which is unacceptable to the body corporate and contrary to the rules of the scheme.
See the reader’s question here.
An initial polite discussion may clear up any misunderstandings in respect of the number of pets permitted at the townhouse and compliance with the lodging of the deposit.
The reader can look at two sources to determine his rights.
The lease should address the matter of the deposit and when it should be paid.
Failure to adhere to this could permit the reader to take steps in terms of the provisions relating to breach in the lease, allowing him to place his tenant on terms and requiring compliance within a specified period.
The act specifically provides that a landlord may require a tenant to pay a deposit before moving into the dwelling and the lease would probably state the same.
Although circumstances arise where a deposit is paid late or the parties agree to allow for this, the lack of payment can be a hint as to the future performance of the tenant.
It could also place the landlord at risk should the premises be damaged by the tenant.
It is advisable that a landlord always be vigilant and insists that the deposit is paid before permitting occupation.
The late rental payment, while inconvenient, is probably not actionable at this stage, besides the fact that the breach has been remedied.
Relying on the breach provisions in the lease, the reader would have placed his tenant on terms on the first day following the breach, requiring payment within the specified period.
As the rent was paid there is no legal issue to be resolved.
If the reader feels strongly enough, he can remind his tenant that the time periods of the lease are to be strictly adhered to.
He can also ensure that he takes timeous steps to enforce his rights upon any instance of breach.
The agreement of lease should address the tenant’s obligations in respect of the rules applicable within the sectional title scheme.
If the breach is not remedied, the reader would be able to exercise his rights under the lease.
This usually means he can cancel the lease with or without the option of claiming damages or claim specific performance, which means complying with the terms of the lease.
If the breach arises from the tenant’s failure to pay his rental, the act provides the reader with options.
He can recover unpaid rental or any other amount that is due after obtaining a ruling by the tribunal or an order of a court of law.
Approaching the tribunal for assistance may be preferable should the reader wish to avoid the typical litigation process.
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