Recently the Institute of Estate Agents Western Cape held a successful seminar in Strand which was well attended. The keynote speaker, Marlon Shevelew, who specialises in rental litigation, was well received by the attendees and Dianne Brock, general manager of the Institute said that she found his presentation on the “Duties of Landlords and tenants – Case law and the Consumer Protection Act”, well presented and containing essential information for agents involved in this field.
“It is vitally important to understand where the CPA, the Rental Housing Act, the Estate Agency Affairs Act, the lease agreement wording itself and common law apply,” said Brock, “and to remember that one Act does not supersede or override the others but need to be looked at as a whole.
In his presentation, Shevelew explained that the contractual obligations of the landlord and the rights of tenants come from various sources, as Brock mentioned above but common law is the highest form of law, as these are actual cases that have set precedents in our courts.
He briefly went through some of the rights and duties of landlords and tenants as determined by common law.
“Landlords should make sure the premises they rent out correspond with what was agreed to in the lease, i.e. a furnished house must have all the necessary equipment for day to day living. The property must be in the proper condition and fit for the purpose for which it is let. If there is anyone else on the property that isn’t part of the lease agreement, it is the landlord’s duty to evict them. Keys must be given to tenants and the landlord cannot exclude the tenant from any section of the premises unless this is previously arranged at the time of signing the agreement. Inspections and repairs are the only reasons that the landlord should be entering the premises and appointments must be made for these. It is also the landlord’s duty to maintain the premises,” said Shevelew.
“Tenants have duties too;, contractually they must pay the agreed rental sum, on time and in the right manner. They must take care of the premises as if they were his own and return it to the landlord in the condition in which it was when he moved in, with consideration given by the landlord to normal wear and tear.”
This session once again highlights the importance of estate agents attending these seminars and training sessions in order to ensure that they are fully versed with regards to the duties they are called on to perform, said Brock.