A landlord, whose tenant vacated the premises without giving the agreed month’s notice, is querying her rights.
She says she rented out a single roomed dwelling to the tenant and they had a verbal agreement to give one month’s notice upon termination of the lease.
The property is intended for a single person and is leased on that basis, but the reader tells us that the tenant’s girlfriend also moved in.
It seems a disagreement arose relating to the use and cost of electricity and, having stayed for a mere three weeks, the girlfriend advised the landlord that they would be leaving in two days’ time.
Although the tenant paid a deposit, the couple ignored the fact that he had agreed to giving one months’ notice and the reader now wants to know what she could do.
See the reader’s question here.
If there is, the contract itself would be a good starting point as it is important to determine the agreed process in the event of the tenant breaching the terms.
According to sections five and six of the Rental Housing Act, there are certain formalities that must be complied with when concluding a lease.
Firstly, the landlord should reduce the lease entered into between himself/herself and the tenant to writing.
It should include the lease period, or, if none is determined, the notice period for its termination.
The parties will often agree that any default should typically be remedied within five to 15 days following notice thereof by the landlord to the tenant.
This requires the reader to place the tenant on terms and advise that further legal steps could follow should he fail to comply with the agreed provisions.
In this instance, the landlord would seek to either enforce the agreement or claim damages as a result of the breach.
There are other important aspects to consider relating to the act.
It provides that the landlord’s rights against tenants include his/her right to recover unpaid rental, or any other amount that is due, after obtaining a ruling by either the tribunal or a court of law.
Accordingly, the landlord can choose the mechanism to employ in the process of recovery of the amount in question.
The act permits the deposit held by the landlord to be applied in different ways.
On expiration of the lease the landlord must, where no amounts are due and owing in terms of it, refund the deposit with the accrued interest without any deduction within seven days.
He, however, may apply the deposit and interest towards the payment of all amounts for which the tenant is liable under the lease.
This includes the reasonable cost of repairing damage to the dwelling and the cost of replacing lost keys.
The balance of the deposit and interest, if any, must then be refunded to the tenant not later than 14 days of restoration of the dwelling.
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