Do You Know Your Rights as a Tenant / Landlord

Don’t be taken advantage of – be aware of your rights as a landlord or a tenant before you sign on the dotted line.

Property owners have a lot to take into consideration when leasing out apartments. The rules and regulations that are set in place to protect them should be carefully considered so as to not violate the rights of tenants. As in every business, the importance of taking care of your clients remains essential, especially today where word of mouth can make or break a business’ reputation. If good news travels fast imagine how much quicker bad news makes its rounds.

It is advised that landlords or property owners know their rights so they can practice them without violating the rights of their tenants. If you are a property owner/landlord, then the rights listed below should assist you identifying any offenses carried out by your tenants. The rights of a landlord include and are not limited to those listed below.

Landlord Rights:

  • Right to collection of Deposit
  • Collection of Rent on due date
  • Access to rental unit
  • Increase of rent
  • Eviction of Tenants

All of the stipulated rights of the landlord are justified within the identified rights as stated by the law. Should a tenant fall in breach of the contract that they signed and are by law obliged to obey, legal action can be taken by the landlord to hold the tenant accountable and for the landlord to get what is due to him/her.

For most of us, looking for a place to stay can be a beautiful journey when we have all the time in the world to find a place that suits us. When time is not on our side however, it turns into a journey filled with frustration and impatience – which in most cases result in us making hasty decisions like signing lease agreements without fully knowing or acknowledging our rights as tenants. A few tenant rights are listed below.

Tenants Rights:

  • Right to a safe living space
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to reasonable comfort and quiet
  • Right to repairs
  • Right to review a lease agreement

Just like tenants are held accountable for breaching the contract, so can legal action be taken against landlords who violate the rights of their tenants.

The rights listed above are only a few and are explained in-depth in the following PDF available for download: http://www.legal-aid.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Tenant-Landlord-in-Siuth-Africa-2nd-Edition.pdf.

It is extremely crucial for both parties to be aware of their own rights, but also to have some knowledge of each other’s rights. These rights, and those listed on the link above will help both parties understand what is entitled to them and how they should treat one another. Violation from either one of the parties could lead to the call for legal action to take place.

Inspections, Explained

Urban and Living explain Property Inspection, the process is done before tenants occupy the unit and after the occupant departs from the unit.

Property inspection is the frequent monitoring of the state of the units that are made available for occupation. This process is done before tenants occupy the unit and after the occupant departs from the unit. Knowledge of the condition of the property is important because the property owner needs to know exactly what they are renting out when advertising the rental space.
Inspection is done at the beginning and at the end of a lease period. This is done to make sure the tenant occupying the space at the time maintained it in the way the owner expected them to, and did not cause any damages that would cost the property owners financially. Rules and regulations are set in place for tenants to follow, regarding what can and cannot be done to the property. Different rules apply according to properties, but examples of a few rules extend to the prohibiting of hammering walls or even painting the unit walls a different colour. These are some of the things looked at during the entry and exit inspection. Landlords often use checklists and camera’s to capture the current state of the available unit. The entry and exit inspection perform different functions and both are necessary to avoid future conflict or disputes about the condition of the unit.

Entry Inspection:

  • The landlord presents the unit as it is to the tenant.
  • All pre-existing defects (if there are any) are recorded so as to not hold the incoming tenant accountable for damages not caused by them.
  • These recorded defects are important to identify because the landlord holds the responsibility of attending to damages that affect the living conditions of the incoming occupant.

Exit Inspection

  • Both tenant and landlord are present at the exit inspection, but if the tenant is not present, then the landlord may proceed with the inspection in their absence.
  • The landlord inspects the property to ensure that it is in the same state it was when handed over for rental to the tenant.
    New damages caused by the tenant are recorded (for repair as part of maintenance).
  • The tenant is billed for the damages caused during their stay in the unit. Any recorded damage from this part of the inspection that does not appear in the entry inspection is taken from the tenant’s deposit.
  • Inspection is necessary for both the landlord and the occupying tenant. When the client advertises their property, the person who is interested in occupying this space needs to see it for what it is. Inspection is a vital because this is where all the information about the unit is collected and put together for the next time the same unit is available for rent.