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    Consumer Protection Act & Rental Agreements Explained

    What is the Consumer Protection Act

    Consumer Protection Act and Rental Agreements are governed not only by the Rental Housing Act, but also by the more recent Consumer Protection Act.

    Consumer Protection Act

    Landlords and tenants – Consumers and suppliers

    Tenants and landlords, why does the relationship turn acrimonious? Usually it’s because each party thinks the other is abusing the tenancy agreement. “My landlord never gets round to doing repairs.” “My tenant never pays the rent on time.” And so on. Both tenant and landlord have rights protected by law; and they both have a duty to act responsibly in upholding the lease.

    These rights and responsibilities are set out in the Rental Housing Act (1999). But did you know that the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) also applies to lease agreements? The landlord is considered the supplier and the tenant is deemed to be the consumer.

    Implications for landlords

    So what does this mean for landlords? Section 14(2)(b) of the Act says that ‘despite any provision of the consumer agreement to the contrary – the supplier may cancel the agreement 20 business days after giving written notice to the consumer of a material failure by the consumer to comply with the agreement, unless the consumer has rectified the failure within that time.’

    In effect, regardless of the terms of the lease surrounding notice period, if a tenant is in breach of the rental agreement, the landlord has the right to cancel the contract. In other words, if the rent is not paid, or if other terms of the lease are contravened … for example the property is sublet without permission … the landlord can give the tenant 20 business days’ notice to quit.

    Tenants are protected by the Act … up to a point

    So far so good, but like all legislation it’s not quite that simple. Consumers, in this case tenants, also have the right to fair treatment under the law and this means that they are granted an opportunity to rectify the breach within the 20 business days they have been given. So as long as the tenant pays the outstanding rent or ceases to sublet the property (or whatever the infringement was) within the 20 days, the law considers the breach to have been rectified and the tenant’s right to occupy the property legally restored.

    Persistent breaches

    Both of these provisions are pretty straightforward. So let’s consider a situation that is not quite so clear. What happens if a tenant is regularly and consistently in breach of the lease agreement but repeatedly rectifies the breach on, say, the 19th day of the 20-day period?

    Perhaps the rent is always paid just in time to avoid eviction, or the lease is infringed in myriad different ways each month but always put right at the last minute? What are the landlord’s rights in these circumstances? On this point the CPA is not specific, and has not yet been tested in case law.

    But at Simon Dippenaar & Associates we believe that a cycle of persistent and repeat violations which are then rectified does not constitute rectification at all. It is provocative behaviour, either deliberate or otherwise, and evidence of an unwillingness to comply in a reasonable manner with the lease agreement. In this situation landlords may be within their rights to give refractory tenants their marching orders.

    Unsure where you stand?

    Every situation is different and it is impossible to give a hard and fast rule of thumb for cases like these. Housing legislation is complex. If you are unsure of how the Consumer Protection Act applies to you, either as tenant or landlord, contact Simon to discuss your specific circumstances.

    For tailored advice on how best to handle your eviction process, we are here to assist you in every possible way.

    We are available to take your call 24/7 – +27 (0) 87 550 2740

    Contact us

    We can advise you on the best approach for you to hold your tenant to account. It is best for the Landlord to take the correct legal procedure as early as possible to avoid delays and complications.

    Contact us now about the Eviction process. Learn more about Eviction Lawyer Simon Dippenaar.

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    Opposed Eviction

    Opposed Eviction Explained

    Opposed eviction and eviction has become an increasingly topical issue in South Africa.

    Evictions affect landlords as well as occupants, and there are many far reaching consequences for both. It is a sensitive topic that has to be navigated circumspectly.

    Landlords seeking to have illegal occupiers evicted need to deal with all the necessary requirements imposed by statute, and case law.  On the other hand, occupants that are at risk of being evicted need to know their rights.

    Opposed Eviction Explained South Africa

    Opposed Eviction versus Unopposed

    The term ‘opposed eviction’ simply refers to where an occupier resists the eviction by instituting counter legal measures. ‘Unopposed eviction’ by contrast is where the occupier does not resist the eviction process, but merely allows it to take its course.

    The Applicable Law

    In post-apartheid South Africa, constitutional and statutory obligations were introduced to create a balance between what is just and equitable for land owners as well as for unlawful occupiers, and this legislation has been further developed in case law.

    The Constitution

    In a nutshell, Section 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa entrenches the right to adequate housing, and stipulates that no one may be evicted arbitrarily.

    This is a move away from forced evictions of the apartheid era and the skewing of power towards landlords that was the norm.

    The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998

    This piece of legislation – commonly referred to as PIE – deals with illegal evictions, and requires certain criteria to be met before an eviction order can be granted. This Act is designed to prevent arbitrary evictions, and actually works in tandem with Section 26.

    PIE is not only applicable to the state, but also applies to private owners. Essentially, it was intended to apply to illegal squatters, but case law has extended the rights afforded to illegal squatters to illegal occupiers on private property.

    The case law developed over the years has made inroads into private evictions by extending the application of law pertinent to squatter evictions. The two aspects have become enmeshed, making the process of private evictions more onerous and complex.

    Key Points

    The take-home message, for both landlords and occupants, is that while there are a number of rights attached to landlords and occupiers, there are also a number of requirements that have to be met. Failure to comply with these requirements can have a severe impact, and accordingly set one’s case back severely.

    Some of the requirements are:

    Notice must be given within fourteen days of the hearing, and must include:

    • Notice that proceedings have been instituted;
    • The date of the hearing;
    • Grounds for the proceedings; and
    • Advising of the right of appearance.


    Courts consider the length of occupation in the case of a private owner.

    If the illegal occupation has been for less than six months, an eviction order would only be granted if it is “just and equitable” and, “after considering all the relevant circumstances, including the rights and needs of the elderly, children, disabled persons and households headed by women.”

    If illegal occupation has been ongoing for more than six months, besides being “just and equitable”, there is an additional aspect of “whether land (or alternative accommodation) has been or can reasonably be made available … for the relocation of the unlawful occupier.”

    An exception is “where the land is sold in a sale of execution pursuant to a mortgage.”

    Urgent Applications

    An urgent application may be instituted where there is imminent harm “to any person or property if the unlawful occupier is not forthwith evicted from the land,” or where “the likely hardship to the owner or any other affected person exceeds the likely hardship to the unlawful occupier,” or where no other effective remedy is available.

    It is important to know what would be regarded as imminent harm, and even these can vary from case to case, depending on particular circumstances.


    There are numerous pitfalls in any eviction procedure.

    For property owners, the trick is that all the necessary steps have to be followed; otherwise the eviction process fails for non-compliance, and may then be held to be illegal.

    This not only means that the eviction fails, but the landlord will lose legal fees, and incur any of the occupier’s legal costs. It also opens the landlord to the possibility of damages, and of course there would be no resolution to the problem.

    For occupiers, a clear knowledge of their rights is essential to obviate illegal evictions.

    It must be stressed that a landlord is legally prohibited from taking the law into his own hands. He cannot:

    • Disconnect the electricity or water
    • Enter the premises without permission
    • Change the locks
    • Remove the occupier’s possessions
    • Prevent the occupier from entering the premises,

    In short, he cannot take any action to evict the occupier without the backing of the courts.

    Need more help with opposed eviction?

    For tailored advice on how best to handle your opposed eviction process, we are here to assist you in every possible way. We can immediately initiate effective legal procedures to evict your illegal occupier and have your dispute resolved as conveniently as possible.

    We are available to take your call 24/7 – +27 (0) 87 550 2740

    Contact us

    We can advise you on the best approach for you to hold your tenant to account. It is best for the Landlord to take the correct legal procedure as early as possible to avoid delays and complications.Contact Us

    Contact us about evicting your illegal occupier or learn more about Eviction Attorney Simon Dippenaar.

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    Valid Lease Agreements

    Valid lease agreements – What makes them legal?

    Renting out your property or renting a property from a landlord should not be a difficult process, but it can become stressful when a tenant or landlord does not keep to their commitments in terms of the lease agreement.

    Valid lease agreements South Africa

    One of the most important ways to ensure that your lease agreement is valid and that the terms and conditions are clearly agreed upon is to ensure that the correct information is contained therein.

    What information should be included in a lease?

    We’ve put together a few pointers on making valid lease agreements:

    • The full names, contact details and, if possible, identity numbers, of both the tenant and landlord should be included,
    • The full address and a description of the property to be leased,
    • The amount of rent payable, when it will be due to be paid each month and the percentage or amount by which it may increase during the lease period,
    • The deposit amount payable before the tenant takes occupation of the property,
    • Information related to the care and maintenance of the property,
    • The differing duties and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant,
    • Information on how the utilities bills, such as lights and water, will be paid,
    • Notes on how the lease can be terminated by the landlord or tenant and,
    • The lease period and required notice period for terminating the lease.

    Need help creating a valid lease agreement?

    For tailored advice on how best to handle your lease agreement, our team are here to assist you in every possible way.

    We are available to take your call 24/7 – +27 (0) 87 550 2740

    Contact us

    We can advise you on the best approach for you to hold your tenant to account. It is best for the Landlord to take the correct legal procedure as early as possible to avoid delays and complications – Contact us.

    Learn more about Eviction Lawyer Simon Dippenaar

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    Verbal Lease Agreements

    Verbal lease agreements – Are they even valid?

    Many people incorrectly believe that verbal lease agreements are not binding contracts. Verbal lease agreements are actually valid legal contracts but it is always recommended that all lease agreements become signed contracts between a landlord and tenant.

    Verbal lease agreements are legally binding contacts

    This is a sensible solution, as it removes any possible future confusion that could relate to rental payments, maintenance of the leased property and/or landlord and tenant’s respective duties.

    What often happens though, is that a verbal lease agreement is entered into but only later on is a written agreement created. There are some important points to note in this regard.

    Firstly, a written lease agreement cannot table terms and conditions that are different to those created in the verbal agreement. If this occurs, the tenant has the right to refuse to sign the written lease agreement and the terms and conditions will have to be negotiated between tenant and landlord. Also, should a tenant request a written lease agreement from a landlord, the landlord is legally compelled to provide one.

    It’s always better for both tenants and landlords to create and sign a written lease agreement before a property is rented out.

    Can we help you to create a lease agreement?

    Contact us for assistance or learn more about Simon Dippenaar Eviction Lawyer.

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    Rental Housing Tribunal Explained

    Rental Housing Tribunal – The Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999 came into effect during 2000 and is the guiding legislation for the relationship that exists between tenants and landlords.

    Rental Housing Tribunal creates an important body for landlords and tenants

    The Rental Housing Tribunal manages complaints from both landlords and tenants and will intervene, mediate and seek resolution on any issues submitted to them. It only deals with matters relating to residential properties, however, and not commercial rentals.

    The primary reason for lodging a complaint must be contesting unfair practice that has been undertaken by a landlord or tenant. The Tribunal focuses on quickly resolving disputes and must resolve a complaint within 90 days.

    Rental Housing Tribunal

    Finding a solution

    When the Rental Housing Tribunal reaches a final resolution on a matter, it is considered a court order and must be adhered to. As with all court orders, their rulings can be appealed through the High Court.

    Their has offices in each province, which oversee cases within each of its geographical areas. Most importantly, their services are free to use.

    Get in Conact

    Can we help you lodge a complaint with the Rental Housing Tribunal? Call us on 021 439 520 or Contact Us.

    Learn more about Simon Dippenaar Eviction Lawyer.

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