Good dayI have a rental agreement till e...

Asked by Rienie on 13-03-2024 14:11:37
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng

Good day

I have a rental agreement till end of September.  My mother was a lessee aswell.  She became very ill and is currently in ICU.  We gave notice as there is many steps and she will be in a wheelchair in future.  The landlord wants me to find someone to take over the lease but i am struggling and she does not want to work through an angency.  They also added and scraped things out on contract with only landlord's initail.  What are my rights and can she hold me liable for costs

Further information relating to Question:

I need to move out asap and into a home where my mother is mobile

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 13-03-2024 17:16:15

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.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

Is your lease agreement a fixed-period lease, like 6 months or 12 months?  Or is it a month-to-month lease?

Message from the client

It is 12 months

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 15-03-2024 18:47:29

In terms of the section 14 of the consumer protection Act you are entitled to cancel the least agreement by giving the landlord 20 business days notice of your election to cancel. Essentially this works out to approximately a month but it is not a calendar month it is rather 20 business days or 4 weeks.

Once the lease has been canceled the landlord is not allowed charging you any further rental and the landlord is required to return your deposit to you, in full, unless the landlord can prove that you damaged some of the property in which case the landlord will be entitled to hold back a portion of the deposit to fix the damages.

The only other thing is that in terms of section 14 of the consumer protection Act the landlord is unfortunately able to charge a reasonable cancellation penalty for the early termination of the lease agreement.

The cancellation penalty normally works out to one month rental, or there about.

So the reality of the situation is that the landlord will simply keep your deposit in lieu of the cancellation penalty and walk away.

The landlord appears to be giving you a way out by saying that if you can find a another tenant to take over the lease from you then he will release you from the lease agreement without charging you any cancellation penalty.

Your first prize is therefore to find a third party to take over the lease agreement, and your worst case scenario is that you can leave the property after terminating the lease but you will forfeit your deposit.

Message from the client

Thank you. I just want to know about the things she added and changed and only she initialed there. The contract also stated that there is a alarm which there is not. Does that make the contract valid

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 22-03-2024 14:48:59

If there are any changes made to the contract, both parties are required to initial the changes. If only one party initials a change, that change can't be enforced. Only if both parties initial it. 

If there is no alarm but the contract says that there is, that would not make the contract invalid. At best, it would be a misrepresentation of the facts, which could either lead to a reduction in rental, or a claim to force the landlord to install an alarm.

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