Good dayI am renting an apartment in ode...

Asked by Khomotso on 06-02-2022 18:36:03
Question posted in the Consumer Protection Law category relating to Free State

Good day

I am renting an apartment in odendaalsrus, February is my first month in the apartment but I moved in month week of January. I'm have a verbal lease agreement still waiting for the paperwork; the lease is 12 months and I would like to terminate but my landlord/agent says I can't terminate until they find a replacement and if I leave without someone in my place I'm liable for remainder of lease period. What are my rights there; what should I do. I want to leave because I just found out that to get to and back from work I need to get into 4 taxis and I was under the impression of only 2. Please  advise 


Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 06-02-2022 20:39:14

Hi there and thank you for your question, 

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow-up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread. 

What was the agreement that you had with the landlord when you moved into the apartment in January, early? 

Was it that your lease would be 12 months and 2 (or so) weeks and you're just waiting on the lease agreement to sign?

Att. Patrick 

Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow-up questions please use the REPLY button and ask. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted to be answered. I hope you found my answer helpful, and you have finished asking your questions, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button in order to mark the question as closed.

Message from the client

The lease was 12 months and yes I'm waiting on lease agreement to sign.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 07-02-2022 19:22:39

What was the agreement that you had with the landlord when you moved into the apartment in January, early? 

Message from the client

That I will stay 12 months.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 08-02-2022 20:39:06

In my opinion, there is an oral lease agreement which exists between you and the landlord. It appears that the terms of the oral agreement would be the same as the terms of the written agreement that you would have entered into. 

The most important term is that it is a 12 month lease. 

What you are entitled to do, in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, is to terminate any fixed term contract by giving the supplier (the landlord in your situation) 20 business days' notice of termination. So, you must write the landlord a letter saying that you  hereby giving the landlord 20 business days' notice that you are cancelling the lease agreement.

Then, in terms of law, the lease agreement is terminated at the end of that 20 business days' period.

HOWEVER, the landlord is entitled to charge you a "reasonable cancellation penalty", which, in most instances, is the same as 1 months' rental. 

So, if you give notice now, then the lease should end in the first week of March. You could move out then, and pay the March rental pro rata for the number of days that you stayed there. 

Then, you should also pay the landlord damages equal to a full months' rental. OR, you could tell the landlord to sue you for the money and see what happens. 

Message from the client

The landlord does not want me to pay a cancellation fee at all, they want me to pay until they can find the next tenant.
In other words even if I pay a 30day rent, if they don't find a tenant she expects me to pay the following month.
And according to our conversion, is not accepting the notice; they say and I quote "With another person to takeover your year contract only then can you give notice on a calendar month ( 1st)"
And if they decide to sue....what is the likely outcome, a most likely?

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 09-02-2022 21:00:53

It does not matter, in law, what the landlord wants. What matters is what the landlord is entitled to. All the landlord is entitled to, in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, is a "reasonable cancellation penalty", which is 1 months' rental.

If you find a replacement tenant for your landlord, then the "reasonable cancellation penalty" is probably NIL. So it is in your interest to find a replacement tenant, but if you don't, all you'll pay (at most) is 1 months' rental.

If they sue, they will get the "reasonable cancellation penalty". That's all.

Message from the client

Is there case where CPA doesn't apply;

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 06-03-2022 21:13:24

If the lease agreement was entered into with a company as a tenant, then the CPA won't apply.

Message from the client

Let's say I gave the 20 day notice; and paid rent in full covering up to that time; can i still move out before the 20 days. Because I gave the notice and I payed.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 11-03-2022 15:30:11

Yes, you can move out earlier. Nothing stops that!

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